Mike Riley and his team at Le Cordon Bleu culinary college hosted our Les Dames Scholarship reception Tuesday September 15. They provided an enticing assortment of charcuterie, assorted vegetables and sauces, augmented by several member’s donations of exquisite cheese, seafood, and fabulous pastries. All of this was complemented by a thirst quenching Prosecco cocktail, made with raspberry cardamom syrup. Thanks go out to Patty Erd, Sofia Solomon, Anne Kauffmann, Melissa Yen and Veronica Hastings.
Many Dames turned out to congratulate the scholarship recipients, all of whom attended except one whose kitchen duty had not yet ended. Many of the newly assigned mentors were also present and it was a festive evening. Patty Erd made nice certificates which she handed out as she introduced this year’s recipients and they each spoke for a few minutes about what they hoped would happen in their future in the culinary world. This year’s group is comprised of many interesting international components. One lady is about to embark on a 6- month stage in France; another is a Russian national who plans on settling in Chicago to establish a career in hospitality. Another is American raised in China and is inspired to fuse both cultures into her love of cooking, and yet another lady originally from Mexico is tempted to do further studies for baking in Italy before opening her own store in Chicago. Compared to past years the applications, this year’s were not many, 30 in all. Eleven applicants stood out and after the interviews seven scholars were chosen. All of the Scholarship committee members were inspired to choose a recipient as a mentor, which was a great natural progression in the whole process.
One of our ladies, Jessica Pamonicutt, had just given birth to a baby, premature by five weeks, and has been in the hospital with her baby every day. She was determined she was going to make it in spite of that. During the reception we received a call that she could not make it. Imagine our surprise, when right as Patty was introducing the ladies, she walked in with her husband. They had been living at the hospital for the last week, and told us how happy they were to eat some good food, because the hospital food was just awful. We asked the chef to pack up a big goodie bag for them, and when Anne saw Patty adding a few pastries to the bag; she went back to the kitchen and got them a whole tray of beautiful macaroons to take along. Jessica’s husband, Antonio, works third shift at a hospital near where their baby is, and was so excited to take those to work and share them.
Our favorite moment of the party was when Anne handed him the tray and he said “I knew I was gonna love these ladies!” Jessica wrote this to Patty: “It was a well needed break for both of us… walking into an applause was a priceless moment for me. It really made me feel good after a really hard day at the hospital. You ladies are amazing. And I am so honored to have been selected and to be part of your group.” Jessica Pamonicutt really caught the committee’s attention through her passion to pass on healthy and tasty food habits to her Native American Reservation, as if having a pre-mature baby was not enough she is already developing this program for her Reservation.
Veronica Hastings will head the Scholarship Committee next year, if you are interested in working on this rewarding committee, or would like more information please call or email her: 773-366-9463 or Veronica@H2vino.com.