Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

Our Newest Members 2017

Each spring, our members identify professional women in the New York City area who meet our membership qualifications and are interested in becoming Dames. Each prospective member is nominated by two members of the New York Chapter who are in good standing. The Membership Committee then interviews each candidate and presents its recommendations for new members to the Board for its approval. The number of accepted candidates varies from year to year.

Meet Our 2017 Inductees

Our 2017 New Members with Les Dames d'Escoffier Founder, Carol Brock


Tara Bench As owner and editor of Tara Teaspoon, Inc., Tara produces content for TaraTeaspoon.com blog, as well as for major food brands and marketing companies. She also creates recipes and styles food for advertorials, cookbooks and magazines. Previously, Tara was Food and Entertaining Director for Ladies' Home Journal and Senior Editor of Food/Entertaining for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. As a member, Tara looks forward to reaching out to those just starting out in the food world. Sponsors: Rachel Litner, Regina Ragone.

Melanie Dunea, a professional photographer has traveled the world with her camera— photographing some of the most powerful people. Her passion? Food and art, spotlighting her as a distinguished figure in the culinary world. In 2007 she photographed 50 renowned chefs for her 2007 book, My Last Supper--successfully allowing each to tell his or her own story! Nothing makes her happier than "supporting women." Sponsors: Susan Westmoreland, AdeenaSussman.

Kathryn Gordon, a Chef Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, specializes in pastry and has worked in major restaurants in NYC and Washington DC. Particularly interested in the Green Tables and Mentoring Committees, Kathryn describes herself as "someone who says yes and then figures it out." Sponsors: Joan Coukos, Joyce Appelman.

Louise Kramer is the Communications Director for the Specialty Food Association. Among her duties are engaging with the media across all platforms, creating sponsorships, staying on top of trends, and interacting with culinary experts-all skills that she is eager to share with LDNY. Sponsors: Joyce Appelman, Joan Coukos.

Kay Lindsay is Vice President for Business Development at Bullfrog + Baum, which specializes in the hospitality, food, and beverage industries. Previously, she has worked for Restaurant Associates and M. Young Communications. Kay is on board to help LDNY with fundraising. Sponsors: Jennifer Baum, Melanie Young.

Maria Loi is the Executive Chef of LoiEstiatorio in NYC and Kouzina Maria in Greece. The Chef's Club of Greece recognizes her as an Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy. Among Maria's passions are philanthropy, culinary education, children, and supporting women in the hospitality industry. Sponsors: Melanie Young, Bonnie Tandy Leblang.

Mary Rodgers is Director of Marketing Communications for Cuisinart, where she has worked for 20 years. Recently she completed her MBA with top honors. Mary will share her expertise in developing brand awareness with LDNY and relishes the opportunity to "assist other culinary professionals in leveling the playing field." Sponsors: Jan Hazard, Elizabeth Karmel.

Audrey Saunders is owner of the Pegu Club, dubbed “The Harvard of Mixology" by The New York Times. A trailblazer in the craft cocktail and bar tending world, Audrey says: "I love to teach. I love to share. More importantly, I love to make a difference." Sponsors: Francine Cohen, Linda Pelaccio.

Ivy Stark is Corporate Chef for BR Guest Hospitality. She oversees and mentors the staff (and promotes women!) in all the restaurants of the group in Manhattan as well as one in Atlantic City. Already active in City Harvest, Ivy is generous with her time and interested in continuing to support hunger relief. Sponsors: Barbara Sibley, Francine Cohen.

Claire Stewart is an Assistant Professor at NYC College of Technology where she is particularly proud of mentoring young people who are just beginning their culinary careers and continuing to give them advice even after they've entered the workplace. As a sideline, Claire is writing a book on the history of wedding food in the US. Sponsors: Elizabeth Schaible, Rozanne Gold.

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