Dames d’Escoffier Chicago offers a variety of events during the year, many of them open to the public.
Dames Who Read –
Book: What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women & the Food That Tells Their Stories, by Laura Shapiro
Date: Tuesday, February 1, 6:00 Via Zoom
(A Zoom link will be sent to your email 48 hours before the meeting date.)
You may already know that Eleanor Roosevelt was responsible for some of the worst food ever served in the White House, but did you know that she was using bad food as a way to get back at FDR for his infidelities? Or that Helen Gurley Brown, the original “Cosmo Girl,” while declaring publicly that “Eating is sexy” and that she personally ate a lot of pasta (“I like it with a light cream sauce with mushrooms, peas and ham”), privately lived with a morbid fear of calories and said off the record, “I think you may have to have a tiny touch of anorexia nervosa to maintain an ideal weight…not a heavy case, just a little one!”
In our February selection: What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women & the Food That Tells Their Stories, author Laura Shapiro offers mini-portraits of these and other women and the ways their attitudes toward food shaped and reflected meaning in their lives. The other women include Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun, William Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy, and author Babara Pym.
Good news: If you don’t have time to read the entire book, just read the stories that interest you. In our discussion, led by Dame Nina Barrett, we’ll be invited to
1. Talk about which of the stories spoke most deeply to us and why, and
2. Consider how we might tell our own mini-life stories if they focused on our relationship with food, i.e. Have certain eating patterns defined your life? Have your patterns changed at different points? Were there particular life events that shifted your relationship to food? Is your public relationship to food different from your private one?
Note: This meeting / book discussion will be via Zoom only – no charge but you must register here: before Friday January 28 You will receive an email with the link to join the meeting 48 hours in advance.
Dames Who Read –
BOOK: THE SECRET HISTORY OF FOOD by Matt Siegel
Do you need some dinner-time conversation starters? Here’s you chance to surprise your dining companions with strange-but-true stories about the origins of foods, both common and rare.
We may well question the claim of the subtitle – “Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat”- I’m not sure that EVERYTHING can be covered in only 200 easy to read pages, especially since this is a group of people who truly do eat everything. But as Wylie Dufresne says in a blurb : “The book is packed with super fun facts about the stuff we eat every day, and when you’re done with it, you’ll be thoroughly stocked with great stories for your next dinner party.”
So prepare for holiday entertaining by collecting trivia a plenty. And, speaking of trivia, expect a little play-along action during our Zoom call.
Proprietor Talk and Private After Hours Shopping Evening with Dame Nina Barrett, Owner of Bookends and Beginnings.
Thursday, November 11, 6:00 – 9:00
Bookends and Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, Il. 60201
Join us for a special evening with Dame Nina Barrett, owner of the magical Bookends and Beginnings. Nina will give us a presentation about the ups and downs of being a small business owner in turbulent times. She is happy to answer your questions and advise you on culinary books and cookbooks that would make amazing holiday gifts. At this special after-hours event, we’ll have the store to ourselves! Dame Julie Chernoff is generously creating and donating some nibbles while Dame Patty Erd and Dame Veronica Hastings will provide wine while you have time to browse, connect and shop. As an extra bonus, we can additionally shop at her newest venture, a gift and stationery boutique, also on Sherman Avenue, being keep open after hours just for our group. Please bring any friends who would enjoy this wonderful evening.
Event is free, but we require you to register so we can prepare an appropriate amount of nibbles!
Basque Region of Spain Zoom with the owner of Global Gourmands, Dame Claudia Royston.
Who are the Basque? Where do they live? What language do they speak? Where does their love of food come from? Dame Claudia Royston will tell us about her company and excite us about the Basque region of Spain by answering these questions, showcasing their culinary traditions, and talking about some of the food experiences that are possible in that Atlantic part of Spain that is unmistakably Basque.
Fall Fête, featuring one of Chicago’s premier party planners, Jennifer Anderson.
Join Les Dames Jennifer Anderson at her home for an evening of fall magic.
Jennifer’s company, Jennifer Anderson Events, is a boutique event planning company that specializes in one of a kind events. They focus on weddings, social events and unforgettable parties. If you want to see some photos of the amazing events they put on, browse this gallery.
This evening, Jennifer will discuss how to throw a fall party from Invitations to specialty cocktails and sumptuous food. We will enjoy some specially curated nibbles and beverages. This event is limited to 12 guests, so please get your reservation in now!
This event is SOLD OUT!!
Brunch at Ambrosia Euro American Patisserie
Please join Dame Deborah Lesley-Rivera as she hosts a lovely casual brunch at her Patisserie. She will tell us about the trials and tribulations her business has gone through in these turbulent Covid times. We will enjoy a delicious savory pastry, sweet role, dessert and beverage. Be sure and plan to purchase some other wonderful goodies you can share later with your family, colleagues or neighbors.
Dames Who Read – Crying in H-Mart, by Michelle Zauner,
New Hybrid Format
Michelle Zauner’s new book is a memoir about the mother-daughter bond and covers all of the emotions of love, friction, loyalty, tenderness and grief. It includes the issues of immigrant identity and assimilation no matter what country the roots are planted. Food memories, descriptions and hunger for the familiar and the strange will all present themselves – you’ll laugh and you will, well, cry- tho it may not be in H Mart but in your reading chair! And it will make you hungry and curious about Korean food.
This will be our first experiment with a new hybrid format for Dames Who Read. After months of all-online events, this meeting will have two We will gather on Zoom for an hour of book discussion as we have been doing during the pandemic. The following week we hope members will be ready – and anxious – to gather again, so we have arranged a guided tour of the H Mart in Niles (addr
ess below) with samples of some of the typical Korean dishes mentioned in the book. Bring your shopping list as we will be traveling the aisles of the store and learning about the myriad of offerings, familiar and not, before enjoying samplings of several dishes. And at the end we will leave time for you to shop on your own.
September Toasting and Tasting to Benefit the LDEI Relief Fund,
Featuring our Own Chicago Dame Veronica Hastings.
September 23, 7:00 Zoom
Join host Julie Hartigan (New York Dame), engineer-turned-chef and healthy cooking expert with sommelier, Veronica Hastings (Chicago Dame) for an evening of wine and cheese presented by LDEI, Wine Insiders, and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.
How the Olive Estates of South Africa Connected two Dames Across the Globe.
Dame Karen Rose will share the story of City Olive, the art of olive oil tasting, and some intriguing insight on some extraordinary olive oils from unexpected regions of the world from her carefully curated selection. The session will include an olive oil tasting to introduce our dames to a must-visit dame-owned business. There will be nibbles and wine as well.
Dame Sharon Olson will share her story of being marooned in South Africa during the Covid lockdown and her search for a sense of near-normal. One of the only ways to get
Casual Discussion of the Upcoming October LEDI Conference in San Antonio.
Have you never been to conference and are on the fence as to whether you will enjoy it or not? Are you a conference believer and just want to see what your fellow Dames are booking for their tours or dinner meeting spots? Looking for a roommate? Wondering what to wear to the evening events? Concerned about what safety protocols are in place to ensure a healthy conference?
Join us as we hear feedback from some members who have been to multiple conferences. What did they enjoy? What could be improved upon? LDEI third vice president, Liz Barrett, will give us an update on the latest safety protocols, and, if we are lucky, some inside scoops on things only the board knows!
West Shore Dames Dinner Gathering August 5, 2021
When is the last time you spent some time out in the country? Do you know you only have to drive to the lovely nature filled Western suburb of Geneva to feel like you are worlds away from Chicago? Our Dame members there would love to have you join them for a casual dinner meet-up. The restaurant is Preservation. From their website, “Preservation is a destination for creative dishes, artisan cheese/meats, eclectic cocktails and a first-class wine list – all enjoyed in a laid back scene featuring outdoor dining and a hip mix of diners and sippers.” They also feature nightly live music. We will each pay for our own dinners. Limit 10.
Date – Thursday, August 5
Time – 6:00
Place – Preservation Restaurant, 513 3rd Street, Geneva, Il.
Dames Who Read choose Dirt, by Bill Buford
You may know Bill Buford’s writing from his previous book Heat, or from his years as editor of the New Yorker. Now go along for the ride as he recounts his adventures and misadventures when he, spontaneously packs up his knives and his family and moves to France to spend time in culinary school and restaurant kitchens!
The subtitle tells it all: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking.”
Those adventures may make you long for a nice long vacation in France, one of the things we’ve had to forego this year. But the foods and markets will certainly have your taste buds longing for a nice truly French meal. No recipes here, but good descriptions that can lead you along in your own kitchen. Besides being delicious, it’s a good read!
So settle in for a long winter’s spell and enjoy the trip, even if it must be from your favorite chair!
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: When you are buying this book, be sure you get “DIRT” by Bill Buford, and not another book by a similar title, two of which were recently released!
Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: Zoom from your favorite location
As we seek ways to keep our fundraising coffers healthy, we are turning first to our members. While some members are facing challenges, ranging from lay-offs to furloughs to salary reductions, other members have been fortunate to weather less impact.
Virtual Fundraiser – Requesting Realtime Donations, Please
We are asking you – if you are able – to make a donation to our chapter. In the absence of a fund-raising gala, an annual dinner and other events, we ask you to consider a donation in an amount equivalent to what you would have spent had we been able to get together. Would you have bought a new dress, shoes, a hat, a new piece of jewelry? Would you have bid on an auction item, contributed to the wonderful cake walk for your table, or taken a chance on the wine pull? We hope you will give this some thought and donate a like amount.
If each of us donates $100 we will reach our $10,000 goal. For those of you in a position to make larger contributions, your dollars will be used to fund our chapter’s coveted grants and scholarships – needed now more than ever.
Donations may be sent to:
The Ladies of Escoffier, Ltd, 516 North Ogden Avenue, #240 Chicago IL 60642-6421
or by logging into our chapter website and clicking the blue “Donate” button at the bottom of the Scholarships page here.
If each of us donates $100 we will reach our $10,000 goal. For those of you in a position to make larger contributions, your dollars will be used to fund our chapter’s coveted grants and scholarships – needed now more than ever.
In the face of so many challenges, our philanthropic mission and vision have not changed. When the Covid-19 pandemic forced shut-downs across so many sectors of the food, beverage and hospitality industries, we assisted our local restaurant community with a one-time $5000 grant to The Lee Initiative, which served free meals to struggling restaurant workers.
On top of this, we found ways to connect, inspire and educate through Zoom events, video cooking lessons for Boys & Girls Clubs members on our new YouTube channel and recipe sharing via Green City Market newsletters. Many of our Zoom events have been free while some have come with a ticket price, usually in exchange for goods (wine, beer, dinner kits).
As a private non-profit organization, we rely on our members to help us support women in our industries. The scholarships and grants we award are entirely dependent on our fundraising initiatives – which have been largely curtailed this year.
We are excited about our future and so grateful for the ongoing involvement and support of our members. We are brimming with ideas to celebrate and support the women who are the future of our industry, and we raise a glass to you and toast to better days to come
Dames Sip and Sparkle – December 17
• There will be a trio of sparkling wines for purchase and pickup from House of Glunz! (To keep the cost friendly, we’ll be offering half-bottles of three sparklers from three renowned regions).
• Barbara Glunz and Liz Barrett will team up to take you through the tasting and share a little insider expertise with you.
• There will be a pastry demo by Jessica Ellington, of two delectable savory snacks that positively sing with sparkling wines, including cacio e pepe crackers and prosciutto palmiers. Of course, Jessica will use Ready-to-Roll dough by our own Stephanie Lock and you’ll be able to add a package of Ready-to-Roll dough to your wine order if you choose!
• Wear your sparkliest outfit and accessories! Have a tiara? Wear it! Crazy costume jewelry? Pile it on! More is better when it comes to sequins and rhinestones, because there will be prizes for the sparkliest stars of our Sip & Sparkle!
This will be a fun and casual event to celebrate the season.
Dames Who Read Dive into “The School of Essential Ingredients”
Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 6-8 p.m. on Zoom – no charge!
Dames Who Read will hold a bonus book club meeting to discuss
This charming novel introduces us to Lillian, who teaches cooking classes in her restaurant on Mondays when it is closed. You’ll meet all of her students and their various personal stories. And you’ll “learn” along with them, but not just about cooking and ingredients. With Lillian’s guidance, you may even head to your own kitchen to whip up something delicious.
Let’s face it: there has been plenty of turbulence and drama in our lives over the past year- so as we read and prepare for this month’s discussion, let’s focus on what is truly essential and hopeful! This event is limited to 20 attendees and open to non-members.
Sign up here – you will receive the Zoom link after you RSVP. This event is limited to 20 attendees and open to non-members.
Let’s Welcome the Class of 2020!
Monday, November 2, 6:30 Zoom Meeting
Please join us in welcoming the Class of 2020 at a special virtual induction and reception! We will be meeting each of our wonderful and
resilient new Dames, hearing their stories, and toasting them. Though we are unable to gather in person, we know we can give them a really warm welcome; let’s show them exactly how Chicago Dames support each other!
How to Taste Beer Like a Certified Beer Judge! Exploring Beer Through Four Main Ingredients
October 28, 5:30 – 6:30 Zoom Meeting
Join us for an educational (and fun!) tasting of six unique beers, each a great representation of beer’s four main ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast. Our instructor, Chris Kolodziej, is the Training Manager for Lakeshore Beverage and a certified Cicerone (beer sommelier!). We will learn how to taste and analyze beer, and also explore some of the bigger current trends – hazy IPAs and sour beers. To complete the tasting experience, Dame Wei Fraser, (also a Cicerone) has curated a selection of different cheeses to pair with the beer!
Open to Dames and non-members too!
- Trumer Pils (water)
- Founders Porter (Malt)
- Bell’s Two Hearted (Hops)
- Boulevard Tank 7 (Yeast)
- Goose Island Lost Palate Hazy IPA
- Ommegang Rosetta
Dames Who Read Choose . . .
THE PRESIDENT’S KITCHEN CABINET
James Beard award–winning author Adrian Miller will be joining us!
Scheduled earlier this year, but cancelled due to Covid, we are happy to reschedule this as our fall 2020 book!
We will meet via Zoom and though we cannot gather around the same table, we have an added bonus – we will be joined by the author, Adrian Miller. The theme is still timely during this turbulent election season – but all of the politics discussed will center on the kitchen!
THE PRESIDENT’S KITCHEN CABINET: The Story of the African Americans Who have Fed our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas.
James Beard award–winning author Adrian Miller vividly tells the stories of the African Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. Miller brings together the names and words of more than 150 black men and women who played remarkable roles in unforgettable events in the nation’s history.
A treasury of information about historical cooking techniques and equipment, the book surveys the labor of enslaved people during the antebellum period and the gradual opening of employment after Emancipation. Miller highlights how food-related work slowly became professionalized and the important part African Americans played in that process. His chronicle of the daily table in the White House proclaims a fascinating new American story.
All proceeds from the registration will go to the author to cover a modest honorarium for him – we are so grateful that he will be joining us and we know his presence will add so much to our discussion.
Get Your Groove on with Garnacha!
Thursday, Sept. 24 6:30 -7:30 p.m.
- You Are Invited to an Online Wine Tasting with
“Dame Somms” Liz Barrett and Veronica Hastings!
- Garnacha is one of Spain’s greatest gifts to wine drinkers. During this delicious educational tasting, you’ll sample three Spanish Garnachas – a light, breezy white, an appealing, floral rosé and a robust red – and learn about the Catalan region of Spain where these wines grow, east of Madrid. And in case you’re wondering, yes, Garnacha is the same grape as France’s Grenache.
- The Wines:
- Celler Xavier Clua Illusio White Terra Alta 2018
- Acustic Rosat, Monsant 2018
- Celler Xavier Clua Illusio Red Terra Alta 2016
- Garnacha is one of the most versatile wines for food, so we invite you to sip and snack during the tasting! Consider these classic Spanish bites and you can also visit La Tienda for more inspiration (no Dames affiliation, but a great resource for Spanish foods and recipes).
- Jamon Iberico
- Manchego Cheese
- Pan con Tomate (grated fresh tomato on toasted bread that has been rubbed with a cut garlic clove)
- Sautéed shrimp in garlic-kissed olive oil
- Spanish olives
Dame Somms Present: Les Dames Wine School – Spring 2020
Join us for a series of four in-depth beginner-level wine classes taught by our Chicago “Dame Somms”!
Each class will offer eight expertly chosen wines for your education and enjoyment, focused on a specific category: white, red, sparkling, and rosé. You will taste the regional and stylistic differences of the wines as your guides explain how to taste and how to identify aromas and flavors and offer tips and recommendations on pairing food and wine. All your wine wonders and questions will be answered!
Whether you are new to wine, or already a wine enthusiast, these classes are designed to expand your knowledge and appreciation of wine.
Classes are limited to 12 participants and will be held at Birch Road Cellar, located at 1113 W. Armitage Ave. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A light selection of cheese accompany each tasting.
Tuesday, March 3: Popular White Wines Explore eight styles of four popular white wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris/Grigio, and Riesling. Presented by Dames Kimberly Keslin and Gina Voci. $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Purchase tickets here Registration closes on March 2, at 12:00 noon.
Wednesday, March 18: Popular Red Wines Explore eight styles of four popular red wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Sangiovese. Presented by Dames Veronica Hastings and Kimberly Keslin. $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Purchase tickets here Registration closes on March 17, at 12:00 noon.
Wednesday, April 8, Sparkling Wines of the World Get to know eight styles of sparkling wine including Prosecco Superiore, Franciacorta and Lambrusco from Italy, Cava from Spain, California Sparkling, French Crémant and of course, Champagne! Presented by Dames Liz Barrett, Veronica Hastings, and Rebekah Graham. $45 for members, $55 for non-members. Purchase tickets here Registration closes on April 7, at 12:00 noon.
Wednesday, May 6, Rosé All Day!: Dry rosé has shot to the top of the hit list in the last 10 years and this class will let you explore styles of rosé from all over the world: Provence (where it all began), Spain, Italy, the U.S. Discover why great rosé is one of the most food-friendly and versatile wines in the world (you can sip it from happy hour all the way through dinner and on to dessert!) Presented by Dames Veronica Hastings and Liz Barrett. $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Purchase tickets here Registration closes on May 5, at 12:00 noon.
Our first class – Wine 101 – sold out quickly, so hit that ticket link while you still can!
- Tuesday, Feb. 25 Dames Who Read: “Women on Food” by Charlotte Druckman
Winter in Chicago is the perfect time to snuggle up with a great book. Join Dame Judith Hines in a discussion of Women on Food, a collection of the shared experiences of 115 women in the culinary world offering insight and perceptions of what it means to be female in the food arena in 2020. This “original collection of voices, stories, impressions, opinions and hot takes on the questions we would ask, or answer, about the role food plays in our careers and our lives” is a big book, but filled with short essays and quotes, so it’s easy to read parts or all of it. There will be plenty of food for thought when we meet to discuss and compare our own experiences over a great meal.
Date & Time: Tue. Feb. 25, from 6-8 p.m.
Location: ERIS Brewery & Cider House, 4240 W. Irving Park Road
LDE Members: $40; guests: $45
- Sunday, Feb. 23 From Spark to Stores: Bringing a Singular Idea to Market!
Have you ever had a tightly focused niche idea that just might be worth pursuing? Nearly everyone has had that one idea that feels like it fills a hole in the marketplace. But how do you take it from idea to reality? That entrepreneurial spirit runs in the Lock Family. New Dame, Stephanie Lock, is the founder of Ready to Roll Dough, a super-premium pastry crust business with her sweet and savory versions of an all-butter crust available in Whole Foods Market. She comes by her drive right; her mom, Joyce Lock, is the creator of the trivia game, “Foodie Fight.” We will hear both of their stories in this conversation about what it means to have an idea for a single focused product and what it takes to get that idea into a marketable reality. After the discussion, participants will snack on some sweet and savory pies and play a few friendly rounds of Foodie Fight! Just in time for the holidays, every ticket includes one disk of Ready to Roll Dough and your own Foodie Fight game!
Date: Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020
Time: 3:00 to 5:30 PM
Location: Home of Dame Stacey Ballis, 2819 W Logan Blvd, Chicago
Limited to 16 AttendeesLDEI Member ticket price – $40; non-member ticket price: $50
- Sunday, Feb. 16, Dames Who Tell Stories
Back by popular demand, Dame Elizabeth Donovan will host an afternoon of story-telling, laughter and friendship. This years’s theme: Was It a Pothole or a Speed Bump?As we travel on our own unique journeys through life, we all encounter challenges. Share a story about a challenge you faced, professionally or personally, and how you overcame it. When you hit that bump in the road, was it a pothole, that ultimately led you to choose another route? Or was it a speed bump, that kept you on the same highway but required a course correction? What did you learn from facing this challenge?
This is a great event for getting to know other Dames. Be prepared to laugh, cry and be inspired!When: Sunday, Feb. 16, from 3-6 p.m.Where: The home of Dame Elizabeth Donovan, 159 W Burton Place, 3rd floor (walk up), Chicago.
- Wed., Feb. 12: Dames Wine School
Do you like wine, but don’t know your chard from your chenin? Do terms like tannin, body and balance confuse you? Do you find yourself overwhelmed in a wine store, gazing at thousands of labels, not knowing where to begin?Industry professionals Dame Gina Voci and Dame Rebekah Graham will reveal all, through a tasting of eight wines, focusing on four key components — tannin, acid, alcohol and sugar .This is about learning about wine through tasting. You’ll learn how to identify aromas and flavors, understand what balance means, and how to describe wine. You’ll figure out your own palate as we learn about popular wine styles and grape varietals. We’ll even touch on deciphering a wine list and how to talk to a sommelier.When: Wed., Feb. 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at
Where: Birch Road Cellar, 1113 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago
Member tickets: $35; non-member tickets: $45
- Sun., Dec. 8: “BonBons and Bubbles” at Cocoa + Co. Usher in the holidays as we sip sparkling wines and enjoy savory tidbits and hand-crafted chocolates and cookies! Dame Kim Hack, owner of Cocoa + Co. and Dame Veronica Hastings of H2Vino will present special pairings of sparkling wines (including a non-alcoholic option) and bonbons. From 5-6:30 p.m. at 1651 N. Wells Street. LDEI members: $35; non-members: $45.
- Mon., Nov. 4: Town Hall Meeting at The Glunz Tavern. Light bites, drinks and the meeting, from 6-8 p.m. No cost. Open to members only.
- Wed., Nov. 6: “Dames Somms” Cider Smackdown Dinner at Eris Brewery. Guests will enjoy a multi-course fall harvest menu paired with a variety of ERIS ciders and beers. Dame Rebekah Graham, a certified sommelier and cicerone, will guide guests through each pairing. $65 for Dames; $75 for non-members; $45 for non-alcohol pairing.
Upcoming Board Meetings
- Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago Board Meetings – open to members only. Members who would like to sit in on a board meeting can email Portia Belloc Lowndes at email@example.com
- June 29, 2020
- July 13, 2020
- August 10, 2020
- September 14, 2020
- October 12, 2020
- November 9, 2020
- December 14, 2020
- January 11, 2021
- February 8, 2021
- March 8, 2021
- April 12, 2021
- May 10, 2021
- June 14, 2021 – Annual Business Meeting