Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is a global philanthropic society of women leaders and trailblazers in the culinary, beverage and hospitality professions. The non-profit organization coordinates educational, community service and charitable programs and events to foster excellence and promote achievements of women in the culinary arts.
The Chicago chapter was founded and incorporated in 1983. More than 130 members from all facets of the culinary and beverage industries work together to promote and advance the profound impact of women on Chicago’s vibrant culinary scene.
Today’s members include restaurateurs, chefs, nutritionists, food and beverage retailers, food, wine, spirits and beer importers and marketers, educators, communications professionals and journalists and others. Each year, the Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier awards upwards of $25,000 in scholarships to deserving candidates. Every other year, Les Dames d’Escoffiers Chicago hosts one of the parties of the year, Culinarium, to support philanthropic efforts across Chicago.
Les Dames d’Escoffier is named after Auguste Escoffier, the most innovative chef in history whose philosophy and accomplishments still inspire culinary professionals today. As a legendary French chef, cookbook author and culinary innovator, he is credited for establishing modern-day restaurant operations and elevating the art and practice of cooking. Three of his cookbooks from the early 20th century are still regarded as indispensable references. His achievements are a constant inspiration to Les Dames d’Escoffier in Chicago and around the world.
Les Dames d’Escoffier is a leadership culinary organization composed of women who have not only achieved success in their profession, but who contribute significantly to their communities. Since its incorporation, Les Dames d’Escoffier has followed its mission to elevate the profession through mentoring members and helping worthy students succeed in their culinary careers. I am very proud to be a member.
– Julia Child (1912-2004)