2017 Legacy Awards: Call for Entries

The 2017 Legacy Awards and Hosts have been announced! The awards, presented to six outstanding professional women in the food, fine beverage and hospitality industries, will be decided in May 2017, with all experiences being completed by October 1, 2017. Please visit the website to learn more about this year's lineup of amazing experiences.

For more information on nominating or entering, contact Dame Shara Bohach (Cleveland Chapter) shara@unitydesign.biz or Dame Becky Paris Turner (British Columbia Chapter) bparist@gmail.com.

2017-2018 LDEI Board Nominations due March 31

LDEI is seeking volunteers who are interested in serving on the international Board of Directors for the 2017-2018 term. The LDEI Nominating Committee will collect nominations and produce a single slate that will be ratified by the seated delegates.

The following positions are available for the LDEI Board of Directors for the 2017-2018 term. Each position is a one-year term, with the exception of First Vice President. The First VP moves into the president's position, then the immediate-past president position, making it a three-year commitment. Positions available are:

  • First Vice President
  • Second Vice President
  • Third Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Chapter Board Liaison (3)


  • March 31: Deadline for LDEI officer nominations to be sent to LDEI office
  • May 1: Executive Director sends slate of candidates/ballots to chapter delegates to ratify
  • May 31: Completed ballots returned to LDEI office

For more information, view the full nomination form here.

Dame Jennifer Booker on the TODAY Show

In anticipation for the Super Bowl LI, the Today Show put on a culinary segment to celebrate regional game day snacks. Our very own Dame Jennifer Booker was not only featured on the segment, but she took home the trophy. Check out the video of the segment. You can find the recipes to her winning dishes at the bottom of the link. Keep up with Chef Booker, and learn more about her experiences here.

Message from 2017 Chapter President - Dame Holly Chute


Dear Dames, 

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe January is half over.  It's going to be an exciting year for the Atlanta Chapter. Our chapter is one the most envied chapters in LDEI.  It is because of the incredible leadership we have had over the past 20 years.  The only way we can continue to be successful is for our members to be involved and participate.

The Culinary Futures event last Thursday was amazing and reinforced the reason we do what we do.  Listening to the 3 young women whose lives we have impacted was inspiring. I think the decision to move "Afternoon In The Country"  to Foxhall was a great decision and we look forward to an even better event this year.

The lives we touch as a result of our fundraising efforts continues to amaze me.  We need our members to step up early with sponsorships and silent auction items to ensure the maximum impact we can make.

Thank you for trusting me with the presidency.

Dame Holly Chute
LDEI Atlanta Chapter President

Attention Dames! Announcing our second Annual Call for applications for Hambidge Residency

Beginning in 2015, the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier established a Fellowship Grant to be awarded annually to a member of our chapter.

Dame Angie Mosier, the first recipient of our LDEI Hambidge Grant had this to say, “I just returned from my two week residency at the Hambidge Center and I was able to work on a project that is unfolding to be not only visually beautiful but socially intriguing and potentially important. We all work hard and our schedules are packed. It's sometimes difficult to imagine being able to take two weeks away but now that I've done it, I can't imagine not experiencing the beauty, serenity and focused energy that I was able to partake of there. The LDEI scholarship to Hambidge is a rare opportunity for our members to become part of the Hambidge fellowship. The Hambidge Center accepts artists of all disciplines from all over the world and they are eager to receive more culinary artists into their fold. I encourage you to think about those projects that you may have put on the back burner or consider an idea that you have had brewing for a while and apply for the LDEI Hambidge Scholarship. I'm truly grateful to the Atlanta Dames for the opportunity to energize and exercise my passion for creating compelling work that brings about conversation and consideration of the way we eat.”

Please click here for all of the information, requirements and application. Should you have questions please e-mail Dame Nancy Lutz at nancy.fox@affairs.com.

Scholarship Corner: September 19

Dame Nancy Lutz & Dame Vanessa Parker McIntyre, Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs

Below is a note we received from one of our repeat scholarship recipients, Nicolette Kirkpatrick: 

"Good Afternoon,

I wanted to say thank you to you and the rest of the Dames for your continued support these last 4 years. My brother Tyler and I enjoyed the dinner and had a lot of fun getting to know the other recipients and new Dames I had not meet yet. I met a recipient that will be a freshmen at JWU this year and I can't wait to show her around.

I have made so many great connections and hope to continue to meet more Dames. I was told there is a new chapter in NC and I hope to get in contact with some of them for a new job and internship opportunity.

Thank you again,

Nicolette Kirkpatrick"

LDEI Atlanta Chapter Founding Members Interviews: Kay Goldstein

What did you think when you were approached 20 years ago to be a founding member of the Atlanta Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI) chapter? 
I have been a longtime friend of Nathalie Dupree’s, and I remember her saying “I really think we ought to do a chapter here.” I was already very involved with the International Association of Culinary Professional, so I initially thought “Do we really need another organization?” The focus was a little different, of course, and there was also this element of wanting to do community service and that sort of thing. I had heard of LDEI, but before Nathalie approached me I was just way too busy to think about it. Most of us in the culinary world work long hours!

Did you see a need for the organization? 
Well, I did after we started gathering and talking about it, and I learned that the focus was a little different. With LDEI, the focus was more about professionals who gather together in a community. We often selected a project to help other women in the culinary industry. This was my concept and why I was interested – to help other women really begin roads in the culinary field. I felt like I had something to offer to encourage other women to be a part of the culinary world. And I think at the time, twenty years ago, that was a much harder thing to do. Much harder than it is now. 

What has been your favorite part about the chapter? 
I loved getting to know the women. We had a lot of younger women who were interested in joining and they were very enthusiastic about doing some of the fundraising that we did. Meeting new people, feeling like I could be helpful to them – that was fun. I was kind of winding out of the culinary profession at that point, but I felt like I still had something to offer and that was particularly nice for me.

Can you speak to the impact you’ve seen of the organization? 
When I first got involved in the food world in Atlanta, it was 1976. So it was very rare that there were any women chefs. The only women that I knew who were in the culinary world were primarily cooking teachers and nutritionists. The one exception was Nathalie, who was a television personality. A lot of people gathered around her because she was well-known, she's very social and she’s very good at connecting people. Restaurants and culinary schools were not a welcoming place for women. 

One of the things that changed, and I saw this change in my own company, was hiring women to be in as many top positions as possible. And it wasn't because I was consciously trying to do that, I was just open to the fact that you know, women had a lot to offer. Lots of times women would come to me largely because I was a woman running a company and we were doing well. We had a lot of opportunity to bring on some great women staff members. But I think it’s still hard. For people who take primary care of their family, whether it's the male or the female of the family, it's still very difficult to get the kind of support necessary that’s need for the person to be able to stay in their job and also tend to their family -- sick leave, flexible hours. 

I think that there were people – like Anne Quatrano – who really kind of set the tone for making her work environment friendly. Not just to women, but to everybody. I think that's one of the ways that she accomplished so much – she had a different view on how you put together a restaurant, how you ran it, how people were involved, how they were trained, and how they were supported and educated. 

We have to keep pushing. By recognizing this and talking about it, I think we have another opportunity to push forward. 

Do you frequently or have your previously worked with other Dames? 
I knew Nathalie because I was doing some catering and so I ended up taking one of her courses at Rich’s Cooking School. Barbara Petit worked for me at Proof in the Pudding. She did a lot of work with the Taste of the NFL, she traveled all over the world for Coca-Cola doing events, and she was a prime mover and shaker in the Georgia Organics movement. Also, Carolyn O’Neil and Anne Quatrano.

What do you wish more people knew about our organization? 
Women who are looking for some mentoring can look to LDEI. There are women in every aspect of food in the organization, so if you're thinking about going into a food business I think LDEI would be a great resource for that.

What does being a Dames mean to you?
At the time, I felt very honored and proud to be a member because there weren’t really other ways to be recognized in the food world. There was something that made me really proud about being a woman in the food world and it made me recognize, not only for myself but for others, that it's no small feat to have some success. It took a lot of courage, and certainly a lot of ignorance because if you knew, you might not have done it.

I loved the comradery I felt with the other members, because there's a basic understanding about what we love and what we're passionate about and what we had to face – all to do what we wanted to do.

Meeting Recap: Dames Who Play in the Kitchen - BYOB (Bring Your Own Blender) Edition!

Recap Provided by Dame Gena Berry

We had a great night at Dames Who Play in the Kitchen on Monday, July 18, at the lovely home of Dame Elizabeth Greene. Click here for some pictures from the evening

The theme was BYOB (Bring Your Own Blender). We started with blender hummus - yum! Then we had a delicious FRoze' - a frozen blended rose wine drink. 

Dinner was a fantastic mixed veggie salad with a blended red wine vinaigrette, a smoked salmon potato salad and Roast chicken with a blended tomato dipping sauce. We finished up with a fabulous ice cream buffet and birthday cake to celebrate Dame Lenada MerrickDame Elizabeth Greene and Dame Doris Koplin's July birthdays. 

Ice cream selection included avocado, roasted cherry vanilla, strawberry grand mariner granita and soft serve vanilla. Dame Gloria Smiley made a luscious hazelnut daquoise for the "29 again" birthday cake. As always, it was a fun, relaxing evening among Dames.

Dame Elizabeth Greene, Dame Doris Koplin, Dame Gloria Smiley and Dame Lenada Merrick at Dames Who Play in the Kitchen: BYOB Edition!

Dame Elizabeth Greene, Dame Doris Koplin, Dame Gloria Smiley and Dame Lenada Merrick at Dames Who Play in the Kitchen: BYOB Edition!

June Chapter Meeting Recap: This Little Pig Went to Market... This Little Pig Went to Savannah's Kitchen

By Dame Lenada C.Merrick, CFCS

Dame Savannah Haseler demonstrates the art of butchery on the Ossabaw (pictured left) and Berkshire (pictured right) Pigs

Dame Savannah Haseler demonstrates the art of butchery
on the Ossabaw (pictured left) and Berkshire (pictured right) Pigs

This first larger Berkshire Pig (from Charlotte Swancy's Riverview Farms) is going to market. The smaller Ossabaw Pig is in Savannah's kitchen (aka butcher shop). The early Spanish explorers left the Ossabaw Pigs on Sapelo Island off the coast of Georgia. 

While waiting for all to arrive, we sat in a soft, cool June breeze on the deck enjoying cool beverages and Pre-butchery Appetizers- Pine Street Market Charcuterie Board & Hot Miniature Cuban Sandwiches. When all sixteen had gathered, we went into the "butcher shop". Watching Savannah's skillful use of knives and a hack saw, one was aware she knew her stuff. The first cut to be taken from the half pig was a tenderloin. Soon followed ribs, butt, pork belly and shoulder were separated from the carcase. Sausage is made from the shoulder with no more than 20% fat. Cracklings (aka pork rinds) were discussed and how to prepare. 

Following the demonstration Dames enjoyed a family-style outdoor meal featuring: Clams with Smoked Chorizo and Tomato Broth, Lima Beans & Kale with Herbed Sausage, Wild Rice Salad with Pickled Beet Greens (a yummy touch), Hot Biscuits and our centerpiece on each table... Lemon Butter Chess Pie. 

A wonderful gathering...Gayle, Nancy, Gaye, Kelly, Liz, Elizabeth, Lenada, Jenn, Kristy, Robin, Holly, Debi, Alison, Laurie, Judith and our oh, so gracious hostess, Savannah. A light sprinkling of rain eased us into our cars with very happy tummies. 

Thanks, Savannah for an educational and relaxing evening. Gosh we even decided on BYOB (BLENDER) for the next Dames Who Play in the Kitchen.

LDEI Annual Conference Update

The Washington, D.C. Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is looking forward to hosting you in our beautiful city for this year’s annual conferenceOctober 27-30th. Located in the fashionable West End and adjacent to Historic Georgetown, the Fairmont Hotel will serve as the perfect location for your stay. You will find our theme, Global Appetite, Local Impact, woven throughout the activities planned. We invite you to "Come Early and Stay Late” as there is a full agenda planned for you with activities running through Sunday Brunch.

Begin your stay on Wednesday afternoon with a private tour of Hillwood Mansion, the estate of Marjorie Merryweather Post, which contains an amazing collection of Russian art and twenty-five acres of landscaped gardens. Afterwards, saunter down the street a couple of blocks for an open house hosted by Grande Dame Joan Nathan to meet up with your girlfriends and enjoy a nibble and a drink.

Thursday, our pre-conference tours will offer you an opportunity to enjoy a variety of unique experiences tailored especially for you. Tour historicMount Vernon; enjoy the day at Aerlie, where Earth day was born; or visit the Turkish Embassy. These are just a few of the many offerings from which you can choose. The LDEI CBL’s have a valuable leadership session planned for you in the area of fundraising. This afternoon session promises to give you tools to bring back to your chapter, enhancing your ability to raise dollars for your various causes.  The evening offers a variety of Dine Arounds featuring many of our award winning Dames Restaurants for a real culinary treat.

We are thrilled that Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, will be the key note speaker on Friday followed by a message from Joan Nathan. Our education committee has been working hard to put together a fantastic line-up of sessions on a variety of cutting edge topics pertinent to our members to enhance your conferenceexperience. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy the fabulous partner lunch and do some shopping at our market place.

Newly renovated Union Station, Capital Hill’s iconic Beaux Arts centerpiece, will serve as the Friday night venue celebrating the 30th birthday of LDEI and the 35th birthday of our chapter. You will enjoy an array of international foods prepared from our talented D.C. Dames recipes.

Saturday morning features a session on Culinary Diplomacy created by the GCI committee followed by more opportunities to learn from a host of interesting panel discussions. Meet the legacy award winners at the luncheon as we hear about their once in a lifetime experiences. Spend Saturday afternoon at the Council of Delegates meeting, or do some sightseeing in this fascinating city. Saturday night you will meet this year’s M.F.K. Fisher award winner at the beautiful ballroom of theFairmont Hotel and enjoy a sumptuous meal.

Plan a late Sunday afternoon departure and join us for an elegant champagne brunch and our chapter fundraiser, Chapeau, Auguste Escoffier! to be held at La Maison Francaise. In celebration of the 170th birthday of our namesake, this soiree at the French Embassy is the perfect way to end your stay with us while bidding au revoir to your sister Dames.

I look forward to seeing you in October. If you need anything at all or have questions, please contact me personally at annstratte@gmail.com.


Ann Stratte

Washington, D.C. Chapter President

Scholarship Corner - May 17, 2016

Dame Nancy Lutz & Dame Vanessa Parker McIntyre, Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs

Below are a few words from Dame Kathleen Perry about why she serves as part of the Scholarship Committee:

"I love serving on the Scholarship Committee because it is the one place to experience first-hand the full impact of our chapter’s mission to provide financial support for women who are pursuing a culinary career.

Each Scholarship Committee Dame takes her service commitment very seriously and is willing to devote many hours in careful consideration of each scholarship/grant applicant. It’s rewarding to meet the grateful awardees and share in their joy, knowing that we have contributed in a substantial way toward making their personal dreams a reality."

Scholarship Corner - May 10, 2016

Dame Nancy Lutz & Dame Vanessa Parker McIntyre, Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs

The Scholarship Committee is getting geared up for our Scholarship deadline of May 15. We have already received 3 applications and have been working on outreach to Georgia schools to spread the word about the opportunity we provide through our scholarship program. We just wrapped up our 2nd quarter grant applications and below is a report from one of the 1st quarter recipients, Hilary King: 

"I really enjoyed and benefited from the Georgia Organics Conference this year. I am currently working on creating evaluation plans and vendor professional development plans. The sessions, particularly with Tenisio and the one on race and gender, were incredibly useful for this planning. In addition, we are working on more appropriate ways to tell the stories of our vendors, and I found the Scott Peacock session on food memories and me travel to be an excellent reminder of how talking about food can be a powerful way to bring history to life. 

Lastly, on a personal level, on Friday evening I was able to connect with activists from Augusta. We sat down together to discuss issues of addressing racial injustice over food that these three women chose to share with me. This conversation and evening were an amazing reminder of the power that food has to bring people together to discuss important, vulnerable and powerful ideas and to share experiences. I am grateful to LDEI for making my attendance possible, as it has fueled me in both ideas and spirit to continue with the challenging and rewarding work of building the Atlanta food movement."