Washington gets a taste of ‘lumpia diplomacy’

/ 12:57 AM October 30, 2018

Tessa Mork (left), nutrition education program manager, YMCA Anthony Bowen; Chef Cho Ortega; and Asha Kuziwa, kitchen coordinator, YMCA Anthony Bowen. CONTRIBUTED

WASHINGTON, D.C.Through Sentro Rizal, the Philippines was the second featured embassy at the YMCA Anthony Bowen’s newest cooking program called “A Taste of Diplomacy.”

The Healthy Eating Department of the YMCA tries to bring communities together and bridge cultures by discovering the cuisines of various countries. Ten (10) YMCA members and DC residents participated in the evening cooking program that featured Filipino dishes on Oct. 24.


Chef Cho Ortega, owner of family-owned restaurant Lumpia, Pansit, Atbplent her cooking skills, partnering with the Embassy for the event.  She presented a wrapped food theme and demonstrated how to make Filipino favorites lumpiang shanghai and turon (fried banana egg roll).

Chef Cho Ortega explains the ingredients of Lumpiang Shanghai to the participants of the Taste of Diplomacy Program of YMCA Anthony Bowen. CONTRIBUTED

Ortega took up architecture in the Philippines, but her love of cooking pushed her to study at the Academie de CuisineGaithersburg when she emigrated to the United States. She is the owner of Lumpia, Pansit, Atbp restaurant in Wheaton, Maryland, established in 2000 as a Filipino-Asian festival food stall that eventually grew into a full restaurant. Ortega also started a catering service, previously known as Cho Catering Service, serving Filipino-Asian cuisine.


YMCA Anthony Bowen has been innovating for 160 years, and evolving continuously to cater to the needs of the community.  It is one of the full-service facilities that YMCA of Metropolitan Washington operates throughout the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area.

Participants in the Taste of Diplomacy Program try to make turon. CONTRIBUTED  

“Food is basic and the love for food is universal. It is a natural gateway to culture and understanding. We are grateful to the YMCA Anthony Bowen and Chef Cho for working with us under ‘A Taste of Diplomacy’ program, said Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez in a statement.

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TAGS: A Taste of Diplomacy, cultural exchange, Filipino cuisine, Filipino food, public diplomacy, YMCA Anthony Bowen
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