Food & Beverage

You Are What You Eat — and Where You Meet

In an e-mail exchange earlier today, my boss, talented and glamorous Editor in Chief, Michelle Russell, ended up asking, "Chris, is it always about you and your stomach?" And I told her the truth: Yes. It is always about me and my stomach.

Which perhaps is why my chief takeaway from Wednesday night’s elegant Destination & Travel Foundation Dinner & Dream Auction at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center was a cameo appearance by Ben’s Chili Bowl, a D.C. institution and temple of gastronomy. The D&T Foundation honored the Travel Channel with its Spirit of Hospitality Award, and part of the show was a clip from an episode of Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” show in which host Adam Richman visited Ben’s — with Washington and Sports Authority President and CEO Greg O’Dell and Destination DC President and CEO Elliott Ferguson spliced in so that it seemed they were sitting at the counter, knoshing on chili dogs, during Richman’s segment. It was a smart gag, allowing two of the evening’s hosts to pay tribute to both the honoree and their own city.

I’m joking about always thinking with my stomach, but only to a point. Because I do think that for many people — and lots of meeting attendees — destination is culture, and culture is food. And when you’re visiting Washington, D.C., in addition to world-class restaurants, that means a transcendental chili half-smoke.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso is executive editor of Convene.