Ask the Chef at Green City Market

Have you ever been so excited at the farmer’s market that you bought more than you knew how to cook? You’re not alone! Learn from Chicago’s best chefs and cooks at the Green City Market’s Ask the Chef booth.

This summer Chicago Dames Polly Peters, Mary Kay Gill and Jessica Ellington delighted Lincoln Park Green City Market shoppers with cooking tips, recipes, demos and samples. Market goers left feeling inspired and ready to cook or bake with their latest market haul!

Be on the look out for more opportunities to Ask the Chef thru October!


Green Tables Committee Cooks Up Video Lessons for Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

Programming at the Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club (PMBGC) of Chicago is one of our Chapter’s legacy affiliations. It is the only Club within the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) to offer after-school and summer cooking classes, and Chicago’s Dames have been instructors for more than 15 years.

Earlier this year, Dame Mary Abbott Hess, through her trust, created a restricted fund to ensure ongoing support of this important life-skills programming at the PMBG. The Green Tables Committee helped recruit and hire two part-time instructors to teach basic cooking skills in hands-on 90-minute classes focusing on nutritious foods to groups of 15 club members, ages 8 to 11.

The grant also provides funding for an organic garden and garden education for club members of all ages, and the Chicago Chapter also approved a grant of $3,700 to purchase garden tools and equipment for the Club and sponsor two family garden nights and gardening-related field trips for club members.

And then the Covid 19 pandemic hit. The Clubs had to temporarily close and chapter funding was put on hold. Nevertheless, we persisted!

Pivoting to Meet the Need
We asked the PMBGC if we could provide video cooking lessons, as Club programming moved online. The plan was to expand our program to members of all 20+ clubs in Chicago.Our goal was to teach basic cooking skills with a focus on nutritious, economical foods in a way that would appeal to girls and boys from diverse cultures while requiring minimal kitchen equipment. Dame Raeanne Sarazen offered to present the lessons in her home kitchen with a videographer colleague of Mary’s, Joe Azar who volunteered to shoot and edit the lessons. It all came together perfectly! Check out the first two lessons on our YouTube Channel here!

Our first two videos were presented to Dr. Vicki Lee, Chief Academic Officer of BGGC in August, who said the videos and related material would be shared on BGGC’s Facebook and Instagram pages and included in their virtual education programming. For those without computer access, print materials will be distributed in the next Club Home Kit delivery.

“I am truly grateful to the team at LDE for committing such time and talent to create these instructional cooking videos for our boys and girls,” wrote Mimi LeClair, BGCC President and CEO. “They will reach a wide group, helping over 1,600 Club members who participate in our Virtual Clubs to build the basic cooking skills they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

Added Holly Allen, BGCC’s VP of External Affairs, “Thank you so much for the videos! What a great instructional tool for our kids! It’s clear how much time, effort and thoughtfulness went into creating these tutorials. Thank you again for always going above and beyond for our young people!”

While this project was developed for Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, the Green Tables Committee is excited the possibility of sharing the videos with other Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation and with other Les Dames chapters!




Green Tables Recipient Farm on Ogden Chosen as Competition Finalist

Windy City Harvest’s proposed Farm on Ogden Development, which is one of LDE Chicago’s Green Tables recipients, was selected as one of five finalists out of a pool of 24 applicants in a chance to win $500,000 from the Food to Market Challenge competition funded by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. Continue reading “Green Tables Recipient Farm on Ogden Chosen as Competition Finalist”

Happy Holidays from The Roberti Community House

Roberti.2015Dear Mary, Julie, Ann and Les Dames,

The Roberti Community House extends warm holiday greetings to members of Les Dames d’Escoffier! Your generous support of our Garden to Table programming enabled the RCH to have an extremely successful 2015. We were able to involve a greater number of neighbors in the process of planting and growing healthy farm fresh produce. Once the crops were harvested, neighbors gathered in the kitchen and learned how to utilize these fruits and vegetables in the preparation of delicious, nutritious family meals.

We expanded our adult summer cooking classes to two days a week with “tastings” in the garden everymovie clip art Tuesday. Not only did children in the Junior Green Youth Farm learn how to prepare the foods they grew but also our new series of Junior Chef cooking classes received rave reviews!

With your assistance, we are making a genuine difference in the community. More people now have access to fresh produce during the growing season. Children who spend time in the garden are excited about watching plants grow and consequently they are more inclined to try a wide variety of vegetables. We believe that teaching families how to prepare and enjoy tasty, nutritional foods will make a lasting difference in their diet and will improve their health!

Attached are photos from our cooking classes as well as a brief snippet from a cooking video. {Click on the movie camera to watch the cooking video.} Women cooking in the kitchen are often so pleased with what they are doing that they spontaneously burst into song.

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2016!!

Maribeth Roberti
Executive Director

LDE Chicago Making a Difference for Roberti House

By Sharon Olson

Roberti_posterMembers of the Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier were enthusiastically welcomed at the Roberti House in Waukegan. Maribeth Roberti, President of the Roberti Foundation presented board member, Mary Reidy McMahon, with a certificate of appreciation for the chapter’s support of their program during their recent Open House.

Alderman Tom Koncan of Waukegan was on hand to express the Waukegan community’s appreciation as well.

roberti_tomatoesChicago chapter members, Sharon Olson and Veronica Hastings, had an opportunity to visit with some of the children responsible for the bounty of the garden and their parents who also benefit from the programs at Roberti House. Alderman Koncan expressed his gratitude to our chapter for our generosity and recognition of the hard working residents of the Waukegan community. They are eager to learn and programs like those offered at Roberti House enrich their lives in many ways.

Roberti House clearly demonstrated its vision to provide a safe and welcoming space where neighbors of all ages can support and learn from one another.

Dames Mary McMahon & Veronica Hastings with girls from Roberti House
Dames Mary McMahon & Veronica Hastings with girls from Roberti House