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Orange County Visitors Association Announces 2016 Global Culinary Partnerships to Promote OC Tourism in Middle East

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In cooperation with the Embassy of the United States, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Orange County Visitors Association, Executive Chef from Newport Beach Marriott flies from Orange County to Qatar for Discover America Week

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (February 15, 2016)—The Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) is launching their 2016 culinary exchange program with the Middle East, featuring executive chefs from the Newport Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and The Duke Hotel Newport Beach.

“Our ongoing plans for 2016 include three exchanges: Newport Beach Marriott, right now for Discover America Week, Feb 15-22; Etihad and Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel partnership is coming soon, dates to be announced; and The Duke Hotel Newport Beach most likely in the fall,” says Ed Fuller, President and CEO of the OCVA.

The first chef exchange to kick off the year is in conjunction with Discover America Week, an annual series of culture and culinary events celebrating the US-Qatar partnership. This year, Discover America Week takes place at Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel. Executive Chef Andy Arndt is representing the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa and specializing in American steakhouse cuisine. He will be there for one week, promoting trips to The OC and hotel stays at Marriott Newport Beach. His culinary itinerary will include a press lunch, daily California-themed steakhouse specials, a four-course steak dinner paired with California wines and an exclusive cooking class. Chef Andy attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and has cooked alongside some of the most famous chefs on the East and West Coasts, including Chef Rocco DiSpirito, Chef Thomas Keller and Chef Tom Colicchio of Bravo’s Top Chef.

“Newport Beach, California is home to many Top Chefs, unique concept kitchens, al fresco dining and a multitude of restaurants ideal for all occasions. Taking some of Southern California's food trends to Doha is an invaluable opportunity to share our vibrant culinary scene with their community,” says Gary Sherwin, CEO, Visit Newport Beach.

Chef Andy’s flight is courtesy of Qatar Air, which began service to Los Angeles in January of this year. Qatar Air is the newest Middle East carrier to start service to Southern California.

Last year, the OCVA sponsored Brian Sundeen, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, who flew to Abu Dhabi to create a five-course menu that provided a culinary salute to Southern California’s multi-cultural heritage and modern lifestyle.

Ed Fuller says, “We’re very proud to promote these culinary exchanges that we’re doing with the Middle East. The US Ambassadors have personally been involved in our culinary presentations from hosting the events to accompanying our chefs, so there’s been a lot of positive engagement and hands-on interaction. We hope that these exciting events encourage UAE residents to visit and indulge all the delicious experiences that The OC has to offer.”

*Pictured - Left, Chef Brian Sundeen, Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Abu Dhabi 2015 | Right, Chef Andy Arndt, Newport Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

About Orange County Visitors Association
The Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) represents more than 700 members of Orange County, California’s tourism community and is the leading resource for visitor information about the county’s 34 cities. OCVA serves as steward of The OC brand, recognized worldwide as the home of world-famous theme parks, unparalleled shopping, 42 miles of pristine coastline, renowned beachfront resorts, and innumerable activities ranging from watersports to world-class performing arts. OCVA promotes the destination both domestically and internationally, with tourism offices in four international cities. Orange County is located in the heart of Southern California and provides easy access to all the attractions the region offers. For more information, go to or call the California Welcome Center at (714) 523-3441. Follow OCVA on Facebook (VisitTheOC) and Twitter (@VisitTheOC).


McCue Marketing Communications
Sienna Spencer-Markles
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