Read more about our recent scholarship reception

Download PDF: LDNY 2024 Scholarships Announcement Press Release

Guest Speaker Ikimi Dubose-Woodson, Co-Founder/CEO The Roots Fund at the 2023 Les Dames New York Scholarship Reception

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Join Dame Chef Jessie Riley as she teaches a course at NYU Technical College Continuing Education Division on Cooking with Cannabis!

14th ANNUAL TASTE AWARDS

CONGRATULATIONS TO LES DAMES NY WINNERS!

  • Congrats to Dame Shari Bayer on receiving the Best Host Taste Award. Shari’s program explores behind-the-scenes talent within the hospitality industry. Experienced restaurant and hospitality professionals reveal their stories and expertise through a lively and reflective conversation about the industry. 
  • Brava to Grande Dame Lidia Bastianich who will receive the Andrew Zimmern Discovery Awards which honors the mission to discover new cultures, new flavors, or new talent. Lidia receives this year’s award, based on years of contributions to culinary, television, and entrepreneurial talent as chef, TV host and producer, author, and founder of Eataly.
  • Kudos to Dame Linda Pelaccio and A Taste of the Past program featured on Heritage Radio Network. A weekly journey through the history of food, A Taste of the Past is one of three programs to receive the Special Achievement Honoree Spotlight Award.

Find the full awards list HERE.

Dame Alison Awerbuch will be an honoree at this year’s An Evening in Good Taste, Feeding Westchester. Westchester’s top chefs and drink purveyors will come together on April 20, to show their support for this essential local non-profit, with an evening of exquisite cuisine, fine wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails, and have an opportunity to network with fellow Feeding Westchester supporters. All event proceeds remain in the community, helping to bring healthy, nutritious food to neighbors in need. Learn more HERE

Delighted for new member, Dame Courtney Schiessl Magrini, on her appointment as Editor-in-Chief of SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media! Courtney shared, “We have a truly amazing team at these publications, and we’re working every day to bring new, timely, engaging beverage industry content to you online and in print.”

When you get your hands on a copy of Dame Shari Bayer’s first book–CHEFWISE, Life Lessons from Leading Chefs Around the World(@phaidonpress, Spring 2023)–it will no doubt inspire those in pursuit of culinary success, featuring salient advice from 117 outstanding chefs from around the world. Available for pre-order at Phaidon.comAmazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. Congratulations, Shari!

Did you catch winemakers, Dame Robin Epperson McCarthy and Alie Shaper on News 12 Long Island?  Reporter Doug Geed stopped by their tasting room and wine shop, Chronicle Wines, to meet and talk about their winemaking philosophy, commitment to local sustainability and the community. It’s part of his East End series. Watch the interview HERE.

Congratulations to Dame Karen Tenenbaum, who has been named to the Long Island Business News’ Book of Long Island in Business Influencers list as one of the most powerful women on Long Island. This is a well-deserved recognition!

Brava for the following NY Dames, making the James Beard Awards semi finals: Joann Makovitzky’s Community Table in Washington, CT (For Best Chef – Christian Hunter). Victoria James (Cote, Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program) and Melissa Rodriguez (Al Coro, Best New Restaurant). A great showing for LDNY members! Details HERE.

SevenFifty Daily explores the changing landscape of wine education and its expanding resources with two of the industry’s finest, Dames Mary Gorman-McAdams and Deniece Bourne. Read the article in its entirety HERE.

Dame June Hersh’s new book, Iconic New York Jewish Food, a History and Guide with Recipes will be released on February 6, 2023, by The History Press/American Palate imprint. The book has been reviewed by a number of professionals, including three of our own: Dames Ellie Krieger, Silvia Baldini, and Rozanne Gold. Grab a nosh and your copy at www.Junehersh.com

In February 2019, NOLA Dame, Liz Williams, founder of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (soFAB) and the National Food & Beverage Foundation presented the idea to the LDEI Board to create The John and Bonnie Boyd Hospitality & Culinary Library, a repository for all the works and archival materials of Dames past and present, and located at the Nunez Community College in Chalmette, Louisiana, outside New Orleans. NY Dame, Bonnie Tandy Leblang – an LDEI board member at the time – was inspired to donate her vast, personal collection – literally a truckload of papers, books and artifacts – which are now part of that library. Liz recently interviewed Bonnie on Tip of the Tongue podcast, about her ever-evolving career in food, and her contribution to the new repository. Listen to the podcast, as well as many others, HERE

Hispanics In Wine–founded by Dame Lydia Richards and Maria Calvert–amplifies the strong voices and stories of the Hispanic/Latinx communities in wine🍷. In this Thrillist article, they share how the community is working to improve, strengthen and revolutionize Latinx representation in wine. Read it HERE.


There are so many reasons you’ll want to read the Dec/Jan issue of The Somm Journal cover to cover, including this wonderful column written by Dame Wanda Mann which features Dame Melissa Rodriguez (page 18). Read it HERE.


Lovely thoughtful piece in the current issue of Flamingo Magazine, highlighting Dame Victoria James’ amazing journey from waiting tables at 13, to becoming the youngest person to receive sommelier certification, to partner of the award-winning Cote Korean Steakhouse (NYC and Miami). Find it HERE.


Dame Sharon Franke shares her practices on how to arrange kitchen equipment, utilizes the mise en place theory for her appliances, plus tips and tricks on managing kitchen equipment on this episode of On The House: Household Management Insights Podcast, with host Gabriella Joustra. Sharon also manages to get in a mention of LDNY’s Living the Dream podcast, too! Listen HERE.


Dame Adrienne Cooper is internationally published! This is Adrienne’s first non-local byline highlighting many of the wonderful tours happening in NYC. Friends and family in the UK and Ireland can pick up the latest National Geographic Traveller Food from newsstands now, and for us, Adrienne shares a copy of the story HERE.



We thought everyone would enjoy access to this very cool tool, authored by Dame Rita Jammet and created by NYC & Company, for the LDEI lesdamesnyc22 conference. Download it HERE.


Scholarships Create a More Inclusive Industry

By Kristen Hartke

Kristen Hartke is a veteran food journalist with more than 25 years experience covering the culture of food, restaurants, and cooking.

“My scholarship from Les Dames d’Escoffier allowed me to take risks, pursue my dreams, and embrace curiosity early in my career. This set a foundation that I can now see guided my professional life.”– Amanda Hesser

From tackling food insecurity to sustainability to providing more professional opportunities for BIPOC women, the recipients of the Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY) scholarships, both past and present, are actively shaping a hospitality industry where women are more than employees: they are leaders.

“This is an opportunity for women to lift each other up,” says Karen Goodlad, a member (also known as a Dame) of LDNY who is also an associate professor specializing in food and beverage management at City Tech, CUNY’s New York City College of Technology. “College or certificate students are the future; if we can help them start with a  little less debt, then it might help them reach higher goals faster and make a bigger impact in the industry more quickly.”

Since 1977, LDNY has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to over 1000 women, allowing those students to not only pursue careers in the food and beverage industry but also pave the way for more women to follow in their footsteps. This year’s goal is to raise $45,000 by December 31st in honor of the fund’s 45th anniversary. But while the money is key to helping these scholarship recipients lower their personal financial debt, it’s also mentoring from the Dames themselves that provides necessary support and guidance while they build their careers.

Indeed, for Peggy Zhang, who was awarded an LDNY scholarship in 2014, the money was essential to completing her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management at City Tech. The connection with Dames in New York was equally essential.

“I was introduced to Dame Rosa Ross and we met in SoHo’s Harney & Sons tea house for the first time,” says Zhang. “It was lovely and she made me very comfortable when I told her that, honestly, I still wasn’t sure what path I truly wanted to enter in the Hospitality Management world.” Learning from Ross about the twists and turns of her own storied career, which included catering, teaching culinary classes, writing cookbooks, and running a successful restaurant, helped Zhang recognize that a successful career does not always follow a straight path.

“I had worked since I was 14 years old, always in customer service atmospheres,” Zhang says, “so I knew working with people was my passion.” The Brooklyn native, now 29, is currently the Conference Services Manager at The Pierre, a Taj Hotel, where she has worked in a variety of roles since 2016.

At LDNY, the drive to keep making those connections for women pursuing hospitality-focused careers has become even stronger after nearly half a century, and particularly as the industry has struggled to hire and retain employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With the cost of college often cited as the most significant reason students drop out,” says LDNY president Jennifer O’Flanagan, “we’re recommitted in this 45th milestone year to building a more robust scholarship program that ensures access to education for women pursuing degrees in the food, beverage, and hospitality fields.”

Women in particular have been impacted by employment insecurity during the global pandemic, making it even more critical to provide opportunities for them to not just have a job, but to build lasting careers. “Whether these scholarship recipients are getting college degrees or seeking a certification that takes them to the next level at work,” says Goodlad, “the combination of financial assistance with mentoring is something that can actually lift many of them out of poverty.”

A 2022 study by the National Restaurant Association shows that while women hold 55% of all restaurant industry jobs, the vast majority of them are entry- or mid-level workers — and just 38% hold executive positions. The same study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance also identified a clear lack of diversity in the industry, another issue that the LDNY scholarship committee has actively focused on in its work, by supporting candidates who bring important and wide-ranging perspectives to the table.

Certified sommelier Lia Jones, recipient of the 2020 LDNY Founder’s Scholarship, is on a mission to promote diverse viewpoints within the food and beverage industry, completing her certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University while also studying to become a master sommelier in a field where there are few women of color working at that level. “Hospitality has always been my life,” says Jones. “As I grow and time passes, I realize there are certain paradigms that need to be addressed. My goal is to create a more inclusive community for those that advocate for equity and equality in the hospitality industry.”

Les Dames d’Escoffier was founded in New York City in 1976, by a group of 50 female food professionals led by the late food writer Carol Brock, with the purpose of providing gender equity in an industry dominated by men in leadership. The volunteer organization now boasts 2400 members among 38 individual chapters in the United States and 5 international chapters in British Columbia, France, London, Mexico, and Ontario. The LDNY scholarship program was established just a year after the organization was founded.

Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52, was an early LDNY scholarship recipient, saying now, “My scholarship from Les Dames d’Escoffier allowed me to take risks, pursue my dreams, and embrace curiosity early in my career. This set a foundation that I can now see guided my professional life.”

“These scholarships are about women helping women,” says Goodlad, “and creating a legacy for the organization that has a substantial impact on the future of women in our industry. It’s actually life-changing.” 



LDEI Past President Beth Allen Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we share New York Dame Beth Allen passed away after a fall. Beth was very special: a gentle lady, southern through and through, ever so polite, always ready for a good time, and generous to a fault. Her full name was Elizabeth Alva Allen and she often referred to herself as Mrs. Allen.

Beth was the president and owner of Beth Allen Associates, Inc. A cookbook producer with over 40 years of experience, she produced over 22 books for major publishing houses. Beth was highly respected for her attention to detail. Her books were top-quality illustrated books that were well researched, professionally developed, always a great read, and renowned for the reliability of the recipes.

Beth coauthored Junior’s Home Cooking and several Junior’s cookbooks, including Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook. She also produced The Quick Cook cookbook series and wrote the Good Housekeeping Great American Classics Cookbook. Other books included Readers’ Digest Perfect PiesA Cozy Book of Tea Time Treats, and Down Home CookingThe New Healthier Way. She also contributed to The New York TimesWoman’s Day, Self, and Chef Magazine, just to name a few.

Beth was a president of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and the New York Chapter. She was also president of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance and a member of its board of directors for nine years. Beth was a member of the American Book Producers Association and an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She had a master’s degree in advertising from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in food science/home economics and consumer food business from Iowa State University. She studied culinary science at Ecolé de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France and at the Antoinette Pope School in Chicago, Illinois.

Beth was one-of-a-kind. She never forgot a birthday, was always dressed to the nines, was bubbly and enthusiastic, and a devoted friend to many. She was a regular at Carnegie Hall, saw every Broadway show, and was an avid concert goer—the best seats in the house were a must. She was also a superb Southern cook and baker. Beth didn’t know what it meant to cook up a meal for just a few. Cooking for her meant a whole delectably juicy ham basted with cherry brandy, a mound of melt-in-your-mouth biscuits served on one of her mother’s silver trays, piles of crispy fried chicken, and featherlight lemon-glazed angel food cake. She and her husband, John, tooled around in a baby blue 1986 Cadillac named Blue Bonnet, a gentle nod to her Texas roots. She will be greatly missed.



LDNY recently hosted a successful induction event at Al Coro restaurant for new LDNY members.


fortify at 45

45th Annual Scholarship Drive Supports Emerging Female Leaders in Food, Beverage, and Hospitality 

To Date More Than 1,000 Recipients Have Received Over $2 Million in Funds

NEW YORK, NY (JULY 2022) – Les Dames New York (LDNY) is proud to announce its Fortify at 45 campaign – a new fundraising initiative designed to celebrate 45 years of scholarship awards and increase the number and types of scholarships it presents to women pursuing careers in the thriving fine food, beverage, and hospitality industry.  The goal for Fortify at 45 is to raise a minimum of $45,000 by year-end. 

The LDNY Scholarship Program was instituted one year after the group’s launch as the founding chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.  With founding principles of philanthropy, advocacy, and education, LDNY’s aim is to raise the image and presence of women in food, wine, and hospitality, as well as build professional relationships for career success.  As such, scholarships have played a key role in the organization’s mission, with funds raised each year through event ticket sales and generous individual and corporate sponsor support that benefits the next generation of women leaders.  

“Since 1977, LDNY has bestowed over $2 million in funds to over 1,000 women, and more work must be done.  With the cost of college often cited as the most significant reason students drop out, particularly during the pandemic, we’re recommitted in this milestone year to building a more robust scholarship program that ensures access to education for women pursuing an education in the food, beverage, and hospitality fields,” reflected LDNY President Jennifer O’Flanagan. 

In 2022, while career opportunities expand and evolve in these growing industries, women continue to face many of the same hurdles that existed when LDNY was founded. Creating supportive spaces and alliances remains a constant goal for LDNY, to be a key partner to women pioneering new paths, attaining equal rights, and achieving leadership roles in these fields. 

Karen Goodlad, Chairperson, Department of Hospitality Management, New York City College of Technology, has seen this positive impact firsthand and said, “The Les Dames d’Escoffier New York scholarship program is intentionally designed to help students with the cost of education but also provides access to women business leaders. It is the formal mentoring component of the program which makes the financial award exponentially more effective. Our students quickly learn that having a supportive network includes peers, mentors, and advocates. This organization provides access to women they would need to work for years to meet. City Tech students are fortunate to be recipients of Les Dames scholarships.”  

Over 1,000 students, from City Tech and other schools, have benefitted from the program, Amanda Hesser, Co-Founder of Food52, being one of them.  She said, “My scholarship from Les Dames d’Escoffier allowed me to take risks, pursue my dreams, and embrace curiosity early in my career. This set a foundation that I can now see guided my professional life.” 

Recent recipient Lia Jones, Founder and Executive Director of Diversity in Food & Beverage, noted, “having received my scholarship during such unprecedented times, while life was seemingly harder to navigate, I found support through the mentorship that accompanied this opportunity. Les Dames hadn’t just given me an opportunity but rather a gift that, in turn, made the weight of the world less cumbersome, and I am forever grateful.” 

Help Les Dames d’Escoffier New York award its largest pool of scholarships during this milestone anniversary and at a crucial time.  This money funds freedom: freedom to pursue an education, and freedom to pursue professional dreams.  The Fortify at 45 campaign embraces all donors, offering robust engagement with today’s Dames and tomorrow’s future leaders; a connection that strengthens the entire hospitality industry.  Supporting Fortify at 45 is easy, just click here to give generously.

Participating Schools and Programs: Careers Through Culinary Arts Programs (C-CAP), Cornell University School of Hotel Administration; Culinary Institute of America; Institute of Culinary Education; International Wine Center; Kingsborough Community College; Montclair State University; NYC College of Technology, New York University.

About Les Dames D’Escoffier New York (LDNY): 

LDNY is the founding and largest chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), an experienced 501c3 non-profit organization. LDNY’s mission is to advance and support aspiring professional women in food and beverage, as well as to champion critical industry issues. Our vision is guided by three objectives: Education, Advocacy, and Philanthropy. Since 1977, LDNY has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to over 1,000 recipients. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn at @lesdamesny.

Media inquiries: comms@ldny.org

www.ldny.org/ / info@ldny.org

Follow @lesdamesny
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5 Top Takeaways from LDNY Olive Oil Deep Dive

Olive Oil 5 Top Takeaways


Total Food Service digital edition covers 2 LDNY-related news items. Read on about our 2023 Scholarships (SCOOP, page 104) and what Chef Melissa Rodriguez has to say in her Q&A.