Women on the LINE

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Les Dames d’Escoffier International provides networking and scholarships to women in foodservice.

What’s better than learning from the best? The 2018 Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) Legacy Awards offer six awards — or experiences, really — this spring that provide a wide range of culinary experiences to women working in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, with applications due April 1st.

“A kitchen is a tough place to be, with menial drudge work, long hours, low pay, scalding hot stock pots, sharp knives, hauling 50 pounds of flour, or 50 pound carcasses,” says Kathy Gold, third vice president of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and founder and executive chef of In the Kitchen Cooking School. “With few hours left outside of the work place, it’s important for a woman to have a network. Les Dames d’Escoffier International, with 2,300 members in 40 chapters across the U.S., B.C., Mexico and England, provides that support.”

The Legacy Award Program is supported by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, and is one of the LDEI’s philanthropic initiatives. Here are the opportunities women can experience:

  • A week in New York City at the historic James Beard House, viewing the planning and logistics behind these famous dinners and assisting guest chefs.
  • A week at America’s oldest continuously operated family-owned winery, Wente Family Estates east of San Francisco, discovering the secrets of its award-winning hospitality and wine-making.
  • A tour through the New England Food System overnighting on a fishing vessel, exploring food hubs, cheesemaking, oyster farming and more, tied together by the seasoned experts of the New England Dames.
  • A week of creativity in New Orleans at Coquette, alongside Dame Kristen Essig, cooking, sourcing, planning a new restaurant and enjoying the Southern Food and Beverage Museum from the inside.
  • A week in Honolulu alongside Dame Abigail Langlas at Cake Works, where wedding cakes, wholesale baked goods and custom cakes have won her both the Best of Hawaii and the People’s Choice Awards.
  • Four days at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State’s oldest winery, experiencing the winery and wine tourism from vineyard to bottle to vineyard concerts and exploration of Seattle, Wash., with that chapter’s Dames.

The Legacy Awards were established to provide highly-defined mentored opportunities for women in food, beverage and hospitality, who are not current LDEI members.

“With the restaurant kitchen being a notorious hot bed for sometimes less than perfect behavior, women, especially women new to the rigors and perils, need to develop a strong voice and follow their instincts,” says Gold. “Through dedication and perserverance, and strong leadership, more women are finding their place not just on the line, but at the helm.”

The Legacy Awards Program provides an invaluable mentorship experience for women to learn from Dames, says LDEI President Hayley Matson-Mathes.

“The program enables Dames at the pinnacle of their professions to make a significant impact on the next generation through sharing passion, expertise and wisdom,” she says. “LDEI is honored to partner with The Julia Child Foundation to continue our legacy of supporting the future of our profession.” For an application and more details, visit ldei.org and click on Legacy Awards. “It’s a time of great optimism — recent events have caused a seismic shift in the restaurant kitchen culture, and new pathways are being forged, ushering in a more egalitarian era, with more opportunity for all,” notes Gold.

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