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Nominate W.Va. Chef Ambassador

When we travel, we know what kind of cuisine we are going to get in some states — or parts of states, anyway. We know we’re going to get good barbecue in Kansas City, fantastic gumbo and po-boys in Louisiana, good clam chowder in Boston … but travelers to West Virginia may have a mystery on their hands.

Of course we know we have incredible traditional dishes — and rock star chefs who are blazing new trails. We know we’ve got the best pepperoni roll makers, well, anywhere. But our food scene is something of a secret to those outside our borders. Kudos to the West Virginia Department of Tourism for working to change that with the newly created West Virginia Chef Ambassador Program.

“Each year, travelers spend more than $1.1 billion within our foodservice industry. Whether visitors are staying for a week or just passing through, our local flavors are often one of the first and most memorable experiences visitors have while traveling our country roads,” said West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby.

Chef ambassadors will serve a one-year term during which they help tell the story of West Virginia through food. They will help grow our state’s food service industry, host educational seminars and work with travel writers to promote different regions and culinary destinations.

But first, they must be nominated.

“This is such an incredible opportunity for us to tell our stories and showcase the talent found in the mountains of West Virginia. I encourage all West Virginians to take a moment and nominate their favorite chef today,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “I know those selected will help us tell our story and shine a light on West Virginia, and I can’t wait to meet them.”

Certainly Northern Panhandle residents can think of a chef or two who would serve our state well in this role. You’ve got until Aug. 3 to nominate someone, on the Department of Tourism’s website. Give your favorites a chance at this delicious opportunity not just for them, but for the whole Mountain State.

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