The Postal Service is cooking up a feast of 20 million Limited Edition Celebrity Chefs Forever stamps today. The sugar-free, fat-free, zero-calorie stamps will be on the menu of the nation's Post Offices beginning today. The five chefs honored on the stamps — James Beard, Julia Child, Joyce Chen, Edna Lewis and Edward(Felipe) Rojas-Lombardi — revolutionized the nation's understanding of food. By integrating international ingredients and recipes with American cooking techniques and influence, these chefs introduced new foods and flavors to the American culture. "These chefs invited us to feast on regional and international flavors and were early — and ardent — champions of trends that many foodies now take for granted," said U.S. Postal Service Entry Mail and Payment Technology Vice President Pritha Mehra, prior to dedicating the stamps.
Mehra is the owner of the Mystic Kitchen cooking school where she teaches the art of Indian cooking to students throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. "As they shared their know-how, they encouraged us to undertake our own culinary adventures, and American kitchens have never been the same since. That is why today, we are celebrating not only five celebrity chefs, but also the unique flavors and dishes that — thanks to them — have become American staples," she added. Joining Mehra in the dedication are "Chewing the Fat " podcast hosts Monica Eng and Louisa Chu; winner of Top Chef and Founder/Owner of Girl & the Goat and Little Goat restaurants Stephanie Izard; Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO Sam Toia; and U.S. Postal Service Chicago Acting District Manager Greg Johnson.
"This line up of culinary greats has been recognized over the years within our community for having such an impact on the industry as a whole," said Izard. "To now see this group being celebrated by the U.S. Postal Service through a special line of stamps is very exciting because it showcases the culinary world to everyone. Knowing that people outside of the industry are becoming more interested in not just great food, but in the influencers that have helped shape the world of food, restaurants and cooking that we have today, is truly remarkable."Special guests include James Beard Foundation Sponsorship Director Yvon Ros; Joyce Chen's son Stephen Chen; Edna Lewis' sister Ruth Lewis Smith; and Edna Lewis' son Dr. Afeworki Paulos.
The dedication ceremony is taking place at the Park Grill in Chicago aptly leading into Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet, a weekend-long food and wine celebration. The ceremony will pay tribute to the five chefs by showcasing their most iconic dishes while revealing the new additions to the Forever stamps series. The stamps feature digital illustrations by Jason Seiler of Chicago, depicting the chefs in a style intended to resemble oil paintings. Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamps. Available in a pane of 20, the stamps may be purchasednow at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and on eBay at ebay.com/stamps for delivery shortly after Sept. 26. The five chefs are being recognized for inspiring the American public to expand its collective palates.