Chef Ilona Daniel will have a weeklong trip to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where she will be serving food to 800 guests at the Canadian Embassy.

By Maureen Coulter (The Guardian) |

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – When chef Ilona Daniel opened her email one morning last month, she thought it was a scam message.

Daniel had received an email from the Canadian ambassador to Ethiopia, Philip Baker, inviting her to travel to Ethiopia for a week to take part in the Canada 150 celebrations.

She read the email again and clicked on the link provided and learned that this was, in fact, the real deal.

“It was the first thing in the morning, I was kind of like in shock. How is this possible? What a small world, you know? I was just ‘wow’ beside myself.”

Daniel was quick to accept the invitation. She reached out to the sponsors to co-ordinate her weeklong trip to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where she will be serving food to 800 guests at the embassy.

Daniel said the guest list will include friends to the embassy, as well as dignitaries and ambassadors from all over the world.

“I was really excited,” said Daniel in an interview with The Guardian. “It’s an amazing, amazing opportunity and a real honour.”

Chef Ilona Daniel is preparing a menu featuring Canadian ingredients, showcasing the flavours of home as part of a cultural exchange.

Some of the planned items include lobster rolls, oysters and a Caesar bar.

Daniel is also partnering with an Ethiopian chef in creating a fusion dish with beef curry and wild rice pancakes.

“I hope to really serve my country and represent Canada with the pride I have with being a Canadian.”

However, this trip includes more than Daniel showcasing her culinary talents. The other part of this trip is a diplomatic mission to help improve the status of women and children.

Continue reading this story on The Guardian
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