Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

Meet Our Board of Directors

The programs, funds, activities and initiatives of the New York Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier are managed by our Board of Directors. It is comprised of chapter leaders who are elected by the membership each fall.


Linda Lawry - President

 Job Title: Director, International Wine Center

Professional Skills: Educator
Member Since: 2005
Current Board Position: LDNY President
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Director at Large Programs Committee Chair, Nominating Committee Chair, Conference Delegate, Scholarship Committee Member, Scholarship Committee Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Have been teaching professional wine classes for 25 years and still love it
Favorite Place to Visit: So many, it’s hard to pick only one—but Paris
Favorite Food: Smoked salmon and caviar—with champagne, of course!
Fun Fact: With a few minor exceptions, I’ve visited every wine and spirits producing country/region in the world.

Nancy Jessup - Vice President

 Job Title: Executive Chef - Blake & Todd

Professional Skills: Chef and author
Member Since: 2004
Current Board Position: Vice President
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Treasurer
Proudest Accomplishment: Opening Mangia 57th Street
Favorite Place to Visit: Union Square Farmers' Market
Favorite Food: Chocolate
Fun Fact: I love movies about sports.

Michele Scicolone - Secretary

 Job Title: Cookbook Author, Food Writer, Cooking Teacher, Culinary Tour Guide

Professional Skills: Writing, editing, and teaching
Member Since: 1991
Current Board Position: Secretary
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Membership Committee Chair, Scholarship Committee Chair, Director at Large on numerous LDNY Boards
Proudest Accomplishment: I am the author of 20 books, including the bestsellers The Italian Slow Cooker and The Italian Vegetable Cookbook
Favorite Place to Visit: Italy and France
Favorite Food: Pasta
Fun Fact: I am the author of The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

Cathy Fazzolari - Treasurer

 Job Title: Co-owner, D. Coluccio and Sons, Inc

Professional Skills: Executive company decisions, buyer, coordinator of all imported products and private labeled goods. Liaison with all Italian vendors and customers. Controller of accounts receivables and payables. Control and supervise all employees. Fluent in Italian.
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Treasurer
Proudest Accomplishment: Being a mother of three children and working full time
Favorite Place to Visit: Italy
Favorite Food: Pasta with fish sauce
Fun Fact:I am an amazing home cook, who has taught various home cooking classes

Alison Awerbuch - Director at Large

 Job Title: Partner, Executive Vice President at Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships

Professional Skills: Accomplished in all aspects of high volume, upscale catering and special events in the corporate, social and fundraising market segments. Specialize in detailed planning, creative F and B and event design, and working miracles in challenging locations
Member Since: 1993
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Copresident LDNY for one term, Director at Large for several terms, LDEI Legacy Committee Cochair, Mentoring Committee Cochair, Scholarship Committee Cochair, Ad Hoc Make a Difference Scholarship Committee Cochair, "A Festival of Sweets" fundraiser Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Being selected as one of three event companies to caterer the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden–coordinating over 500 events in four days, working out of 12 makeshift kitchens in the Garden, and executing wonderful menus for over 10,000 people
Favorite Place to Visit: Visiting my immediate family in the midwest and southwest. After that, the Far-East-Vietnam, Thailand, China and Singapore–the culture, the food, the people. When there, I'm immersed in the exotic and unknown
Favorite Food: After foie gras and caviar (just kidding), I'll let you in on my secret which I rarely admit: pizza and ice cream are my favs... maybe because I rarely eat them
Fun Fact: I love listening to music, dancing to music, and singing karaoke to music!

Joan Bloom - Director at Large

 Job Title: Public Relations Professional, retired

Professional Skills: Public relations/marketing (wine/spirits, food, hospitality/tourism), media relations, and event planning
Member Since: 2007
Current Board Position: Director at Large, Communications Committee Liaison
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Director at Large, Programs Committee Cochair, Communications Committee Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Host of "Leisure Time and Food Reports" on Long Island radio for ten years
Favorite Place to Visit: The French provinces, where the food is authentic and delicious, and the local wine plentiful.
Favorite Food: Everything that's made with butter and cream
Fun Fact: Taught Chinese cooking on the QE2

Sharon Franke - Director at Large

 Job Title: Director, Kitchen Appliances and Technology of Good Housekeeping Institute

Professional Skills: Magazine writing, editing, testing kitchen equipment, recipe development, food styling, public speaking
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Director at Large, Programs Committee Cochair, Communications Committee Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Raising an accomplished daughter
Favorite Place to Visit: Westport, CT... that's where my grandkids live
Favorite Food: Scrambled Eggs
Fun Fact: "I cook on a 67-year old Magic Chef range with an oven that has to be lit with a match!"

Deborah Mintcheff - Director at Large/Parliamentarian

 Job Title: President, Food Style, Inc. and Founder, LiveForwardCoaching

Professional Skills: Cookbook Editor and Certified Life Coach
Member Since: 2000
Current Board Position: LDEI Chapter Board Liaison, LDNY Director at Large and Parliamentarian
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: President, Copresident, Treasurer, Director at Large, Membership Committee Cochair, Public Relations Committee Cochair, Induction Cochair, Scholarship Committee Treasurer, Nominating Committee Chair, Website Cochair, Fales Library Initiative Cochair, Parliamentarian
Proudest Accomplishment: Being the best daughter possible
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris, where I can enjoy all the Brie and baguette I want and not gain an ounce!
Favorite Food: Dover Sole Meuniére (on the bone)
Fun Fact: I founded Biscuits 'n' Bones, a dog-biscuit company specializing in treats for dogs with food allergies

Marsha Palanci - Director at Large

 Job Title: Founder/CEO Cornerstone Communications, Ltd.

Professional Skills: Wine marketing and public relations
Member Since: 1985
Current Board Position: Delegate at Large, "The Next Big Bite" Fundraiser, Cochair
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Vice President, Membership Committee Chair, Fundraising Auction Cochair, LDEI Legacy Awards Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Designing a leadership forum called WWLS for top women in the wine industry
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris, where I can hit all the best food markets and cook my favorite French dishes
Favorite Food: Caviar, what else? Preferably served with Russian Standard Vodka
Fun Fact: During summer break from college, I worked briefly in a screw factory. Exhausting work

Aileen Robbins - Director at Large

 Job Title: President, The Dunn Robbins Group

Professional Skills: Marketing, strategic planning, events, public relations, education and social media for wine, spirits, food, hospitality industries
Member Since: 2012
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Member of the Board since 2013, "The Next Big Bite" Fundraiser, Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Helping to produce "Toast of the Town" in 5 key US cities, which included approximately 30 restaurants offering their signature dish and 70 different wine and spirit producers, pouring a representative sample of their beverages in each city
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris
Favorite Food: So many; very hard to pick just one. Among top 5: corn blini with créme fraîche, red caviar and smoked salmon (OK, it's a dish, not a food per se.)
Fun Fact: I was a professional opera singer for 10 years

Lori Tieszen - Director at Large

 Job Title: CMO / SVP Marketing for Stoli Group USA

Professional Skills: Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning
Member Since: 2012
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Proudest Accomplishment: Setting up and opening the first US office for Wines of Chile in 2009
Favorite Place to Visit: Barcelona, where you can eat at any time of day. More jamon!!
Favorite Food: Jamon Iberico, preferably pata negra
Fun Fact: Just became a new bride and grandmother of 3 at 56!

Jeanne Voltz - Director at Large

 Job Title: Food Stylist

Professional Skills: Preparing and arranging food for television, photography, and special presentations
Member Since: 2006
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Programs Committee Cochair (past and current)
Proudest Accomplishment: Working with many renowned chef's and cookbook authors for more than 30 years
Favorite Place to Visit: Cuba–the people, the place, the water, and the food. Or someplace I've never been
Favorite Food: How could there be a favorite?
Fun Fact: My mother, Jeanne A. Voltz, was a founding member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and the first president of LDEI

Margaret Happel Perry - Immediate Past President

 Job Title: Food and Nutrition Editor, Redbook Magazine; Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York University, retired

Professional Skills: Corporate administrative, organizational, and marketing skills; author, editor; university teacher
Member Since: 1993
Current Board Position: Immediate Past President LDNY
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: President, Vice President, Secretary, Scholarship Committee Chair, Nominating Committee Chair
Proudest Accomplishment: Achieving executive positions in two Fortune 500 food corporations when women rarely broke the "glass ceiling"
Favorite Place to Visit: The English Lake District
Favorite Food: Foie gras with a glass of sauterne
Fun Fact: I surf the ocean as well as the Internet!
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