The appetizers were plentiful at the Fred & Stilla restaurant located in The Ven at Embassy Row during an event which premiered the restaurant’s “Global Table” theme menu featuring dishes representing various countries. (Anthony Tilghman/ The Washington Informer)
The appetizers were plentiful at the Fred & Stilla restaurant located in The Ven at Embassy Row during an event which premiered the restaurant’s “Global Table” theme menu featuring dishes representing various countries. (Anthony Tilghman/ The Washington Informer)

Fred & Stilla’s restaurant serves as the kind of neighbor any community would welcome.

Located inside The Ven at Embassy Row, it takes a queue from the immediate area by creating a menu with dishes from neighboring embassies. And recently, a monthly concept featuring menu items created by its chef, made headlines during a festive reception at the restaurant.

And as October rolls on, a creation of fried snapper with spicy bell peppers accompanied with peas and rice now counts as the delicacies included on the Fred & Stilla menu.

Chef Willie from the Embassy of the Bahamas shows his Fred & Stilla menu items. Beginning in October, his fried snapper with spicy bell peppers, peas and rice and conch fritters will
be served for the “Global Table” theme at the restaurant located in The Ven at Embassy Row. (Anthony Tilghman/ The Washington Informer)

The savory dish, conceived by the Embassy of the Bahamas’ award-winning Chef Wildron “Willie” Knowles, brought smiles to the faces of restaurant guests.

Celebrating Bahamian Cuisine

The Ambassador of the Bahamas H.E. Sidney Collie spoke enthusiastically about the significance of The Ven, the Fred & Stilla restaurant concept and the Embassy Row location. Collie also heaped praise on Chef Willie, winner of the most recent DC Chef Embassy Challenge — an annual event.

The local competition, produced by Events DC, invites embassy chefs to vie for top honors for their best dishes.

“Because there are so many chefs in the Bahamas, I don’t think Chef Willie’s notoriety is known back home,” said the ambassador speaking of his chef at the embassy. “Chef Willie is an ambassador for the Bahamas representing us in the culinary arts not just with conch and seafood but with a host of other dishes. He’s a national treasure.”

In addition to the snapper entrée, Chef Willie prepared conch fritters clearly enjoyed by the evening’s guests. The crunchy and soft on the inside conch fritters also featured a sauce reminiscent of remoulade making patrons eager for more. Conch serves as a staple of Caribbean cuisine but it’s an especially favorite ingredient for the chef which he prepares in a variety of ways.

Conch is Chef Willie’s favorite seafood to prepare. In addition to conch fritters, he uses it to make stew, salads and even sloppy joes. Chef Willie,
the lead chef at the Embassy of the Bahamas, will include the dish on the “Global Table” theme menu at Fred
& Stilla in The Ven at Embassy Row. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

“That’s my love,” he said. “Whenever I can get it, I eat it. When friends come up from the Bahamas, they have to bring conch. We steam it, boil it, grill it, barbecue it or put in a salad. We even make it into sloppy joes.”

A Global View

Engaging ambassadors, chefs and country-specific cuisine remains a vision of Jennifer Goodman, general manager of The Ven. Goodman worked through ideas on how to blend the hotel’s location and intimate dining space to develop the “Global Table” theme. The concept had a “soft” launch in July in a collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic. The recent event featuring Chef Willie represented the first official “Global Table.”

“We have the world outside our doors. The idea behind our menu is that each dish is inspired by an embassy. Our goal is that menu items will be contributed by an embassy chef. No one else has this,” Goodman said.

A Marriott property, the global concept for The Ven and the Fred & Stilla menu continues with more ideas embracing the Embassy Row neighborhood. Learn more at www.thevenembassyrow.com.

The Ven at Embassy Row

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheVenEmbassyRow

*Instagram: @thevenembassyrow

Embassy of the Bahamas

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/embahdc

*Twitter: @BahamasInDC

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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