PARIS, France (CBS) -- Top chefs from the kitchens of the world's heads of state, masters of the art of sweetening international relations with a sumptuous meal, gather in Paris this week to swap recipes and tips on dinner-party diplomacy.
These are the handful of people who know that German Chancellor Angela Merkel loves popping over to Paris because of her penchant for French cuisine, while to oil the wheels of diplomacy it's best to avoid serving French President Francois Hollande an artichoke dinner.
Indeed, if Winston Churchill was right when he said a century ago that "the stomach governs the world", then this club of 27 culinary maestros have an unseen influence on world leaders' moods as they seal decisions on everything from the crisis in Syria to the euro zone's debt woes.
New Yorker Daryl Schembeck, the head chef at kitchens the United Nations, personally prepares meals for the Secretary General and recently cooked for a party of 200 world leaders.
"I think what I cook can make a difference in how the discussions happen, I don't think it can affect policy. But if it's easy to eat and people are enjoying it, it's something that they can talk about that can start another conversation, I think I have an ability to impact that," he said to Reuters TV.
The club was founded 35 years ago and brings together the men and women who prepare meals for Kings, Queens, Presidents and Popes, among them the official chefs for the White House in Washington D.C., the Elysee Palace in Paris and the British Royal Family.
In a wink at the cooks' importance, the club's name -- "Le Club des Chefs des Chefs" -- plays on the fact the French word for chef and leader is the same. It could translate as "The Club of Chefs of the Chiefs" or "The Club of Chiefs of the Chiefs".
The chefs started this year's annual conference in Berlin but moved on to the French culinary capital with members trading tips about what to cook for their distinguished employers as well as each individual's personal likes and dislikes.
When preparing an important state banquet, chefs can pick up the phone to their colleagues around the world to give them ideas about what should and shouldn't feature on the menu. Each meal has to take into account the dietary requirements, religious practices and cultural traditions of the guests from around the world which means meticulous planning and research, as well as a few sleepless nights.
On top of vast banquets, many of the chefs are required to prepare daily meals and food for private family occasions.
Swiss chef Anton Mosimann was the man responsible for the food served at British Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011.
"We had about a two hour and a half meeting with table settings, flowers, plates, cutlery, tablecloths, the color scheme, it was a fantastic occasion. And I was very honored to be chosen to cook for the wedding, for the big day. And then Kate came back a week later and she just had a little adjustment to make, they were very, very happy," he said.
The adjustment in question being the colour of one of the sauces -- a little too green for the soon-to-be princess.
Heads of state are also keen to support local businesses and buy local produce, and Mosimann said that the food served at the British Prime Minister's residence Number 10 Downing Street normally used ingredients from around the British Isles.
But some politicians take things one step further. Food served at American state dinners has often been grown in the White House's own vegetable garden, dug in 2009, which is going from strength to strength according to Chef Cristeta Comerford who has worked for the past three U.S. presidents.
"Her (Michelle Obama's) garden has been around since they came in so the spring of, I think it was 2009 that we started the garden. And it has pretty much grown into a much bigger square footage and we use it definitely for their daily meals and of course for official and state dinners as well," she said.
Some historical dinners have taken on a strong symbolic importance, underscoring the value of a well-chosen meal.
Keen to smooth tensions over the euro zone crisis when Hollande and Merkel met this month to mark 50 years of Franco-German reconciliation, French chefs chose to reproduce the famous meal of filet of beef and raspberry macaroons prepared in 1962 for post-war leaders Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer when they signed their friendship treaty.
As for Angela Merkel, who may not always agree with French policy, she is a fan of la cuisine francaise, said Bernard Vaussion, chef to the French president.
"She loves coming to Paris because she's going to eat well. Not that she won't eat well in other countries, obviously, but she has a particular feeling about France," he said.