Les Dames d’Escoffier International Names 2015 Legacy Award Winners

Supported by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, six professional women chosen as this year’s Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDE) Legacy Award recipients have each earned a mentoring opportunity delivered by distinguished members of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), an organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education and philanthropy for the good of the global community.

This year’s winners, Van Doren Chan, Vancouver, BC; Christine Burns Rudalevige, Brunswick, ME; Katie Groffman, San Francisco, CA; Ashley Hawkins, Austin, TX; Kelly Patkus, Charlotte, NC; Jennifer Moniz, Atlanta, GA, will participate in a high-energy, labor-intensive, and career-expanding week customized by host Dames.

Established in 2009 and supported by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, LDEI’s Legacy Awards competition is open to women from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom who have a minimum of four year’s industry experience.

This year’s experiences include the chance to work side-by-side with a top restaurant owner in Washington, D.C., help with the grape harvest for the oldest continuously operating, family-owned winery in California, and experience farm-to-table initiatives on a farm in Hawaii. Six awards will be offered in four categories: culinary; food/wine journalism; wine; and farm-to-table.

The professional experience programs and winners include: Dame Nora Pouillon of Washington D.C.’s Restaurant Nora, America’s first certified organic restaurant, will host Van Doren Chan of Vancouver, B.C. in the Culinary Category. Chan Is the Maitre d’/General Manager of Vancouver’s Le Crocodile Restaurant and owner of a food truck promoting sustainable living.

Good Housekeeping Magazine’s Dames Susan Westmoreland, Food Director, and Sharon Franke, Director of Kitchen Appliances and Technology Department of the Good Housekeeping Institute, are hosting the Food and Wine Journalism Category winner Christine Burns Rudalevige, a food writer, recipe developer/tester, and food stylist from Brunwick, ME.

Two wineries offered LDEI Legacy awards in the Wine Category. Wente Vineyards, Livermore, CA will host Katie Groffman, a San Francisco chef and sommelier, for the 2015 wine harvest working with Dame Amy Hoopes, EVP Global Sales/Chief Marketing Officer, and Dame Carolyn Wente, CEO of the America’s oldest continuously-operated family-owned winery.

At Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, WA, Dame Kari Leitch, Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs, will welcome Ashley Hawkins, Whole Foods Global Brand and Retail Marketing Program Lead, Austin, TX, to the oldest winery in Washington state.

Kelly Patkus, a Johnson and Wales University Chef Instructor from Charlotte, NC, will fly to Hawaii’s Big Island to spend a week with Dame Lesley Hill, CEO of Wailea Agriculture Group, the largest grower in America of fresh Hawaiian Hearts of Palm along with a myriad of tropical and subtropical fruits.

Dame Nancy Eisman will introduce Jennifer Moniz, Event Chef Bold American Events -- a prominent Atlanta catering company, to Los Angeles based Melissa’s, the largest distributor of specialty produce in the United States.