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International Culinary Tours Can Raise Reputation of Local Chefs

Chefs spend long hours in the kitchen, perfecting their craft to the delight of their patrons.  But with the rise of the celebrity chef, many are finding creative ways to get out of the kitchen while still delivering palate-pleasing experiences for their clients.

Missy Fredrick of The Washington Business Journal recently reported on the international culinary tours that three local restaurateurs hosted in the past few years.  Local chefs, K.N. Vinod, Guillermo Pernot and Domenico Cornacchia have organized culinary tours in Italy,Cuba, and South India, respectively.  Chefs Mike Isabella and Barton Seaver have also participated in domestic tours through the well-known Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner Series.

These tours offer a unique experience for both host chefs and patrons.  Attendees obtain access to specialty farms and vineyards, which are not part of normal travel tours, and chefs gain increased exposure for their restaurants.

Interested in hosting such a tour?  Besides coordinating flights and travel schedules, organizers should also keep in mind some legal considerations:

Visa Issues –  U.S.citizens may be required to obtain visas to enter certain countries or special licenses. Russia and Brazil, for example, require U.S.citizens to obtain visas to enter their countries.   Moreover, Pernot’s trip to Cuba required the issuance of a special license as vacation travel to Cuba has been illegal for Americans since the United States imposed a total economic embargo against the island in 1962.

Liability Release & Waivers – Travel, international or not, is fraught with potential risks (food poisoning, medical emergencies, bodily injury due to accidents), therefore, it is important to craft a detailed release form for all participants.  Provisions should include release of liability, indemnification, consent to medical attention, and a release for any promotional use of photos of guests on the trip.

Insurance – Business owners should review their general liability insurance to determine if it covers international travel and if not, business owners should purchase foreign liability insurance coverage, to protect their business against costly legal actions arising from events occurring outside the United States.   Owners should also require all attendees to have medical insurance or purchase traveler’s insurance.

These are just a few legal issues to consider when planning a culinary tour.  If you are interested in hosting a culinary tour, an experienced lawyer can help determine and advise you on the various legal issues that may exist with your next culinary tour.

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