Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

2019 Scholarship Recipients


Scholarship Categories and Award Recipients



The LDNY Baking and Pastry Scholarship, $2,500

This scholarship honors an outstanding student with a special focus on baking and pastry.

• Alicia Rosa Peña, Pastry Arts student, ICE


The LDNY Founders Scholarship, $5,000

Dedicated to the founding members of the New York Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, this prestigious scholarship originated in 2012 to celebrate the chapter’s 25th anniversary. It is awarded to a woman who demonstrates innovation and a history of community service.

• Tiffany Iung, Food Studies, NYU


The LDNY Members’ Scholarships

These awards, sponsored by our Reserve Fund and annual member donations, support a range of expertise from pastry arts, food styling, wine and culinary anthropology to hospitality, marketing, sales and public relations.

• Cecilia Chong Wen, Tourism and Hospitality, Kingsborough Community College, $2,500

• Christine Gibson, Hospitality Management, NYC College of Technology, $1,500

• Paola Tavera, Hospitality Management, NYC College of Technology, $5,000

• Shavonnie Victor, Hotel Administration, SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell, $2,500


The LDNY Nutrition Scholarship, $5,000

This scholarship honors an outstanding student with a special focus on nutrition.

• Victoria Vasquez, Nutrition and Food Science, Montclair


The Carol Brock Scholarship, $5,000

This scholarship honors the founder of LDEI, our prestigious and beloved organization. It is Carol’s vision, dedication and passion in creating this organization in 1973 that we celebrate today.

• Ximena Greenhouse, Food Studies, NYU




Three culinary and wine schools have partnered with LDNY to award scholarships. We gratefully acknowledge the Culinary Institute of America, the Institute of Culinary Education and the International Wine Center.

• Lorea Amatria Senar, WSET Diploma Candidate, IWC, $2,000

• Joy Cho, Baking & Pastry Arts, ICE, $2,500

• Jazmin Johnson, Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management Scholarship, ICE $2,500

• D’stini Ward, Food Business Management, CIA $2,500


The Florence Griffin Memorial Scholarship, $1,500

In honor of Dame Mary Ellen Griffin’s beloved mother, this award, selected by the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), is also recognized at the C-CAP Awards Ceremony.

• Allyssa Hector, C-CAP Graduate, matriculated at Kingsborough Community College


The Aileen Robbins Memorial Scholarship, $2,500

In honor of Dame Robbins, who inspired us all and was a wonderful supporter of LDNY Scholarships before she passed away in 2019.

• Carie Penney, WSET Diploma, IWC


The Abigail Kirsch Scholarship, $2,500

Awarded to a student at the CIA who excels beyond her curriculum and shows notable qualities of leadership and creativity.

• D’stini Ward, Food Business Management, CIA


The Margaret and Darby Perry Scholarship, $5,000 each

Awarded to CIA students who exhibit academic excellence, leadership, management skills and a “give back” attitude.

• Grace Eichinger, CIA

• Jeyauntia Whitaker, CIA


Dame Maria Loi and Dame Dara Davenport, $4,000

Awarded to an NYU student with a clear love and passion for healthy food, and who wants to pursue a successful and meaningful career sharing that passion not only from a culinary perspective, but also from a business and

philanthropic perspectives. In essence, a dynamic woman who will follow in the respective footsteps of the scholarship donors, and who wants to create change in the world through healthful food.

• Lauren McGurrin, NYU


Scholarship Recipient's Biographies


Joy Cho, Institute of Culinary Education

“Though I’m currently balancing both a day job and a pastry externship, my goal is to move away from the corporate world and build up experience working production and service in New York City pastry kitchens. Eventually I hope to start my own business—whether it’s opening a bakery café or heading up the pastry department at a restaurant in collaboration with the savory team.”

Joy completed the classroom portion of her Pastry & Baking Arts degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in May. Currently, she’s doing her pastry externship at Oxalis, an innovative neighborhood bistro in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Joy works directly with the pastry chef on prep and plated desserts, often manning the pastry station on her own during service. Earlier this year when Joy tried her hand at savory food at ICE, she won first prize in the 2019 Cookin’ with Allagash recipe contest. However, her real passion remains all things sweet. When Joy isn’t running between her day job and externship, she loves to host dinner parties for friends and tangibly share her love of homemade pastry.


Cecilia Chong Wen, Kingsborough Community College

“I would love to inspire more women to follow their passions and see more female entrepreneurs in the spotlight, and of course my dream is to be one of them.”

Cecilia is a sophomore in Culinary Arts at Kingsborough Community College and already she’s assisted chefs at special events for the James Beard Foundation, American Culinary Federation competition and City Harvest New York. Cecilia is also Culinary Arts Student Aide because she lets no chance go by when it comes to working side by side with the chefs who inspire her at Kingsborough. Cecilia is actively involved in everything that goes on within the Culinary Arts and Tourism and Hospitality departments. She is the proud mother of two young boys.


Grace Eichinger, Culinary Institute of America

“Food describes memories, food describes cultures, food describes a person.”

Although Grace is a student at the Culinary Institute of America, she is not new to the hospitality industry. In addition to earning a Hospitality Certificate from Cornell, Grace has cooked at a fine dining restaurant in her hometown as well as at a 5-star resort in Florida. Working in restaurants showed Grace how much detail goes into creating enjoyable dining experiences and she looks forward to eventually opening her own catering company. Of the CIA, Grace says, “It’s opened my mind to so many diverse food cultures and new flavors.” For Grace, the ability to exchange ideas with students and instructors from all over the world has proven inspiring.


Ximena Greenhouse, New York University

“By merging my passions for food with my journalism background, my goal is to create spaces for women in the industry through the exploration of food and gender.”

Ximena Greenhouse is pursuing a master’s degree in Food Studies at New York University, focusing on food and media. Ximena has more than 5 years of experience in the world of film production, content creation and writing. She is passionate about helping, honoring and giving women a much-deserved space in food and contributing to bringing forth change. Through mixed media and writing, Ximena relates stories of women in food, specifically of women of color who are currently underrepresented in these spaces. Ximena also serves her community as a volunteer at the local Food Pantry of the Oranges.


Christine Gibson, New York City College of Technology

“My goal is to create an environment where employees in any area of food and beverage department can make confident decisions which will elevate the standard. My path is to become a Food and Beverage Director for one of the major hotel chains. I would like to pursue a master’s degree in Business Management which would allow me to work with and alongside any professional within the hospitality field to keep the level of service high.”

Christine Gibson is a Senior in Hospitality Management at New City College of Technology, CUNY, where she is an Ambassador for the Hospitality Department. She has been a member of CUNY Service Corp where she assisted at the Lighthouse Guild Adult Day Care for the visually impaired and blind as an activity coordinator where she educates clients about food, nutrition and cooking classes. She also assists in meal service to the clients. Christine recently completed a Paris Study Program within the college where she gained a Diploma in Discovery of French Cuisine and Gastronomy. She volunteers with Spoons Across America, God’s Love We Deliver and at the James Beard Foundation as a wine sommelier and intern chef.


Allyssa Hector, C-CAP Graduate, Matriculated at Kingsborough Community College

“My career goal is to become one of the top women chefs in a male-dominant industry.”

Growing up, Alyssa always set out to push beyond her limits. She graduated from her hometown high school in Antigua, called Antigua & Barbuda Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, placing second in Home Economics in her graduating class. She immigrated to the United States of America in 2015 to pursue her goal of becoming a chef. She earned her High School Equivalency through Pathways to Graduation, which introduced her to Co-op Tech Advanced Culinary Arts Program, which has been a massive help on her journey. She would like to thank Chef Serna from Co-op Tech who saw something in her and trained her for the C-CAP 2019 competition, where she earned scholarships, including Les Dames Scholarship, that she will use to attend Kingsborough Community College in 2019.


Tiffany Iung, New York University

“My goal is to implement innovations in the grocery industry making great food accessible for everyone. I’ve been working at New York City’s historic Essex Market for the past year, and will research other grocery store business models for my final project this fall.”

After founding her own food business and years of working in food service, Tiffany enrolled in NYU’s Food Studies MFA program to learn how she could make an impact in food policy. She serves on the Executive Board of the Wagner Food Policy Alliance and on the student board of the Graduate Association of Food Studies. In 2019 she will self-publish a cookbook that contains recipes from her sandwich delivery business, Tifamade.


Jazmin Johnson, Institute of Culinary Education

“My goal after graduating is to attend farm school for urban agriculture training and grow my culinary voice by working with organizations that promote inclusion, food advocacy and education while documenting the cultural landscape of the culinary industry as it stands.”

Jazmin is a student of the Culinary Arts at The Institute of Culinary Education and a native New Yorker. She is fascinated by the culinary history of different parts of the world and the reality of food politics in the US. Jazmin has been studying New York City’s culinary history at the New York Public Library. After graduating from ICE, she intends to continue to educate herself in New York City’s culinary voices while developing her own voice and to attend farming school. Jazmin’s ultimate goal is to ensure more New Yorkers have the food knowledge that is crucial for growing into a more healthful society.


Lauren McGurrin, Nutrition and Food Studies, Steinhardt School, New York University

“I hope to use my New York University Master’s Degree in Food Studies to marry social enterprise and food justice, using my past cooking experience to drive environmental and social change.”

After finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont in 2012 Lauren McGurrin moved to New York City to pursue her passion for cooking. Since then, she has cooked for many top restaurants in the city. Her bragging rights include three high-profile restaurant openings in the city and Michelin-starred kitchen experience. Lauren is currently enrolled in NYU’s Steinhardt School Food Studies Master’s Program. She hopes to use her degree to marry social enterprise with food justice. In her spare time, Lauren likes to work on farms internationally using the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms network.


Alicia Rosa Peña, Institute of Culinary Education

“Excellent hospitality and locally sourced food restores the soul and is a recipe for a strong community.”

Alicia is a graduate of the Pastry Arts Program at the Institute of Culinary Education. Her dream is to own a restaurant, bakery and community center. To stay on track of this goal, Alicia will begin a course on Culinary Management at ICE this fall. Alicia is a wife, mother of two children and has served in the U.S. Air Force for the past 15 years. She devotely serves her New Jersey community as a member of CityLife Church and by participating with City Meals, an organization that provides a lifeline of meals and vital companionship to home-bound elderly citizens. Alicia also is a volunteer for Wellness in the Schools, a national nonprofit organization that teaches kids healthy habits for living better. By pursuing her dream, Alicia hopes that she can bring restoration, nourishment and support to those who need it.


Carie Penney, International Wine Center

“I love how wine brings people together. I have so many fond memories of long dinners, glasses of wine being poured and long conversations.”   

Carie Penney is a District Manager for Jackson Family Wines in metro NY. More than ten years ago, she started her career at a local winery, Wolffer estates, where she completed her first harvest with winemaker Roman Roth. From there, Carie moved to the distributor side of the business and worked for Vias Imports, VOS Imports, Frederick Wildman and Southern Glazer before moving into the supplier side in her current role. Each change brought about growth, industry and wine education. In addition to earning the WSET Diploma, Carie’s goal is to share her passion, experience and knowledge of wine to consumers and trade.


Lorea Amatria Senar, International Wine Center

“I aspire to lead my field in the development of the Spanish wine market, creating a solid, respected and long lasting brand. I am on the path to becoming a highly educated wine professional and will pursue the WSET 4 Diploma.”

Lorea is a wine industry professional from Navarra, Spain where she earned her degree as an agricultural engineer. Lorea has always been interested in ideas that create value, promotion of products and commercialization, and it was with this curiosity that she earned a Master’s Degree in International Business. Once in New York, Lorea developed new business for both Spanish food and wine companies. Education is a central component of her activity, as it proves crucial to the development of a solid brand. Lorea has hosted multiple seminars, wine dinner events and has spoken as a conference panelist. Because the wine industry continues to evolve, Lorea feels it’s necessary to keep learning and growing, so she’ll continue her education at the IWC to complete the WSET 4 Diploma.


Paola Tavera, NYC College of Technology

“The mark I hope to bring to the food industry is going to be the result of a long and rigorous process; still I have no doubt that in the near future I will enable myself and others to prosper and revolutionize the pastry world.”  

For the past 3 years, Paola has been a student at the New York City College of Technology where she has been shaping her experience and knowledge of the pastry industry. She has attended and assisted at numerous academic functions such as the Anna Nurse demonstration at City Tech. Whether it’s at school or work, Paola helps her peers with daily tasks and assists students struggling with particular aspects of pastry production. Paola is currently a pastry cook at Untitled in the Whitney Museum, where she has been exposed to different levels of service, plating and recipe experimentation.


Victoria Vasquez, Montclair State University

“As a prospective dietitian, I want to assist children in discovering their bodies’ unique nutritional needs early in life and teach them that nutrition can be used for preventative health so they can live healthier and more nutritious lives well into adulthood.”

Victoria earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science from Montclair State University in May and will begin her dietetic internship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota in October. She has served on the executive board for the Montclair State Dietetics Organization for 2 years and volunteered at numerous food assistance programs including those on the Blackfeet Native American Reservation. Victoria has held several positions in clinical nutrition departments, which has inspired and motivated her to pursue a career as a pediatric clinical dietitian.


Shavonnie Victor, Hotel Administration, SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, a love for food and culture and a creative mind. My long term career goal would combine these passions into multiple businesses. I know that I definitely want a restaurant and a hotel!”

Shavonnie is a rising senior in the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. She has a passion for food and beverage, event planning and entrepreneurship. Driven by her love of food and beverage, she is a part of the Hotel Leadership Development Program in the Culinary Department at the Statler Hotel. Shavonnie plans to graduate with a concentration in entrepreneurship. She believes in supporting the advancement of minorities and doing what she can to expose people to the same opportunities that she was given. During her senior year, she will serve on the National Board of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) as the Programming Director. One of her past internships was working at the DoubleTree Suites Times Square.


D’stini Ward, Food Business Management, Culinary Institute of America

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” – Gandhi

A third-term Bachelor’s student at the Culinary Institute of America, D’stini is the recipient of the combined CIA and Abigail Kirsch scholarships. She has spoken on panels with alumni of the CIA, and volunteered in soup kitchens, hospitals and local food pantries. D’stini has mentored young girls, served as the President of Girls to Women, and also as the Vice President of the National Honor Society. D’stini hopes to blend her Caribbean heritage with heritages from around the world when she starts a foundation for at-risk youth to ensure they receive three balanced meals a day and stay off the streets.


Jeyauntia Whitaker, Culinary Institute of America

“My career goal is to find the harmony between the art of baking and pastry and culinary science. I believe when I find a way for the two worlds to co-exist, it will be magical.”

Jeyauntia Whitaker is currently a junior at The Culinary Institute of America, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Science. Jeyauntia graduated with her associate’s degree in the art of Baking and Pastry in October of 2018. As a resident assistant, she is a leader in her community. She is also involved in many different organizations around campus. She hopes to inspire others and to be a source of knowledge to curious minds.

To read about each of our 2017 recipients, click here.

To read about each of our 2018 recipients, click here.

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