The Chicago chapter’s member base includes leading women in the culinary, foodservice and beverage industries. Our membership consists of top chefs, restaurant and food retail owners, bakers and pastry artists, food artisans, wine professionals, brewmasters, food writers, recipe developers, cookbook authors, publicists, marketers, advocates, food and beverage educators and more.

Membership Criteria – All women proposed for membership:

  • Are individuals of professional stature in the food, beverage and hospitality industries and have been actively employed in those industries for at least five years.
  • Have made contributions through volunteer activities in the community.
  • Are dedicated to furthering the role of women in the culinary professions.
  • Exhibit ethical practices in their work and will not use the organization for personal profit or gain.
  • Have attended one or more Chicago Chapter-sponsored events prior to nomination for membership, within the last year.
  • Will fulfill the expectations of membership, make a positive contribution to Les Dames d’Escoffier, agree to devote energy and time to the programs, work harmoniously with others, and actively support Les Dames d’Escoffier fundraising activities.

Members in good standing for a minimum of two full years may sponsor two (2) candidates, one as the primary sponsor and one as secondary sponsor. Each candidate for membership should attend at least one (or more) Chicago Chapter sponsored events during the 2019-2020 calendar year and up until April 15, 2020 prior to nomination for membership, and meet the membership criteria.

Please read this important letter from the Membership Chair first. Click here for the letter.

Click here for the new member nomination form for candidates LDE Chicago New Members app 2019 

Click here for the membership sponsor form for sponsors Les Dames New Member Sponsorship form

For more information, email

2019-2020 Officers and Board of Directors: 

President: Portia Belloc-Lowndes

President-Elect: Stacey Ballis

Treasurer: Unah Choi

Secretary: Jill Haas

Past President: Elizabeth Donovan

Board of Directors:

Liz Barrett – Communications Chair

Joan Driggs – Scholarship Chair

Wei Fraser

Mary Kay Gill – Green Tables Committee

Kim Hack

Mary Abbott Hess – Parliamentarian

Diane Sokolofski – Green Tables Chair

Gina Voci – Programming & Events Chair

Susan Weller

Past Presidents:

1982: Elaine Sherman
1985: Carol Haddix
1987: Nancy Harris
1991: Nancy Brussat
1993: Abby Mandel
1995: Toria Emas
1997: Jeanne McInerney
1999: Suzanne Florek
2001: Rita Gutekanst
2003: Rose Kallas
2005: Barbara Glunz
2008: Nancy Brussat
2010: Sharon Olson
2012: Jen Lamplough
2014: Julie Chernoff
2016: Mary Reidy McMahon
2017: Veronica Hastings
2018: Elizabeth Donovan
Dame of Distinctions:
2001: Elaine Sherman
2002: Marian Tripp
2007: Alma Lach
2012: Joan Reardon
2016: Nancy Brussat
2017: Toria Emas
2018: Ina Pinkney
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