A Recap and Photos from the Annual LDEI Conference

By Dame Veronica Hastings

The Chicago chapter was well represented–in both enthusiasm and numbers– at the recent Les Dames d’Escoffier International annual conference in Washington D.C. Eighteen chapter members attended the educational and inspirational event, including five first-time attendees.

Keynote Speaker Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation spoke of the need for diversity in ethnicity and sex in the food world. She issued a call to action for the media and us all to develop and promote “people of color” in our culinary world.  Inspired by her call to action, Dame Phaedra Ruffalo, Mentorship Chair, immediately reached out to Ungaro after the address to enlighten her about our recent Scholarship recipients on behalf of attaining this goal to create a more diverse multicultural culinary world.

Food Historian Dame Joan Nathan spoke about the “Mash Up” trend in cuisine, as illustrated in her newest book, King Solomon’s Table, a six-year, heavily researched book documenting recipes and stories of food from a millennia ago and how they have evolved today across the U.S. and Canada. Nathan may be coming to Chicago for part of her book tour and Dame Julie Ratowitz is coordinating this visit with her so stay tuned for details!

At another session, Culinary Medicine, Timothy S. Harlan, MD, spoke of Tulane University’s groundbreaking program bringing doctors and patients together to gain a better understanding of how food can can be used as medicine. The recently established Tulane School of Medicine’s Teaching Kitchen  provides physicians and patients knowledge in how diet, lifestyle and nutrition relates to medical issues and diseases, and how they can better control their health and well being. An engaging speaker and admitted “foodie” Dr. Harlan referenced his website as well as Tulane’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicinefor tips, recipes and further information. Of interesting note, several recent studies show that low fat and low sodium diets really are not as helpful as they once were thought to be. The overall lasting and healthy diet where more results of health and weight loss has consistently been achieved is the Mediterranean diet, Harlan said.
Check out some photos from the conference below!


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