HDI’s Culinary Diplomacy Envoy and James Beard Foundation Awardee Travels to Bahrain and Oman

The Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) works around the world to inform and foster dialogue amongst critical stakeholders on key global issues. We do this through our programs with the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, engaging young people, supporting cultural diplomacy, and working on humanitarian programs. HDI is committed to supporting cultural diplomacy to promote dialogue. We collaborate with U.S. Embassies and Consulates to bring American culture to countries worldwide.  

One of HDI’s most requested cultural envoys, Mr. Adrian Miller, shared the history and tastes of African American cuisine with audiences in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman from June 26 to July 5.  Adrian’s first stop was Manama, Bahrain.   The program started on June 27 with lectures and cooking demonstrations at the Gulf Institute of Culinary Arts (GICA).  GICA is recognized as among the finest culinary arts training in the Gulf and works in cooperation with the Australian College of Trade (ACOT).  The following day, Adrian was given a tour of Manama by Bahrani alumni of U.S. Department of State programs.  The time with Adrian gave the Bahrani alumni the opportunity to discuss current events in Bahrain and to hear from Adrian about life in the United States. The main event of Adrian’s program in Bahrain took place on June 29 at the Bahrain National Museum. The Bahrain National Museum is one of the oldest museums of its kind in the Gulf and is a center of Bahrani history and arts, including culinary arts.  Adrian, who recently won his second James Beard Foundation Award for his book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, discussed the immense influence African American cuisine has had on American culture. Following the lecture, Adrian mingled with the guests. The audience was able to taste food Adrian had prepared earlier in the day with renowned Bahrani Chef Bassam Al Alawi. This was a fortuitous and appropriate collaboration. Chef Bassam had represented Bahrain at Expo 2020 in Dubai as Adrian had represented the United States.

On June 30, Adrian took the short flight to Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman where he prepared a variety of Soul Food dishes for events celebrating American Independence Day, July 4th.  On Friday, July 1st, Adrian curated a soul food meal for social, diplomatic, and business contacts of the U.S. Embassy Oman. Nearly 200 people attended the event at the Oasis Club near the Port of Salalah. The next day, Adrian experienced several cultural excursions in Muscat. The first excursion included a tour of the stunningly beautiful Royal Opera House Muscat. Next, Adrian visited the historic Mutrah Fort and the nearby public market Mutrah Souq. The largest event of the program was the U.S. Embassy’s official Reception held on July 4th.  The event was a major undertaking. Adrian prepared traditional Creole food dishes from New Orleans for his Mardi Gras-themed serving station, and his jambalaya was a huge hit.  Nearly 500 people attended the event. This year’s Reception took place at the Crown Plaza overlooking the Gulf of Oman. On Adrian’s final day in Oman, he worked with the embassy’s culinary team to do soul food and Creole food presentation for Bahrani, Americans, and third-country nationals involved in the Embassy’s public outreach.

HDI would like to thank the Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain and the U.S. Embassy in Oman for their superb programming.