Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is a worldwide non profit comprised of women dedicated to creating a culture in the community that fosters excellence and promotes the achievement of women in culinary professions through educational and charitable activities.
Of the 50 chapters, Atlanta is the third most active with 122 dames who fully volunteer their time to make this organization successful. The funds raised at various annual events are used to provide grants and scholarships to applicants that pass a rigorous vetting process. Women of all ages wishing to enter a culinary program or career change women who wish to start a non-profit farm or other culinary non profit in their community. Existing farmer Dames include:
- Jenni Harris – White Oak Pastures
- Laurie Moore – Moore Farms and Friends
- Charlotte Swancy – Riverview Farms
- Judith Winfrey – Love is Love Farm
Through various events occurring at multiple times each year and charitable donations the foundation is able to see women in the field realize dreams. Their big event is called An Afternoon in the Country at Fox Hall. Attendees enjoy chefs from Atlanta’s top restaurants, paired with the area’s best farms will be set up in a tasting format alongside fine wines and premium micro-brews--all under festive big-top tents. Other highlights include: Live music, a one-of-a-kind cake raffle featuring sweets from Atlanta's top pastry chefs and an expansive silent auction offering exclusive dining and travel packages and food and wine merchandise. It's also a great time to meet many of the Dames of LDEI.
A recent LDEI event at MODA Atlanta was an evening to celebrate and experience a peek into the future of food by design with innovations in sustainable food and agriculture. Tasty bites and drinks were graciously donated by supporters such as Proof of the Pudding, Trouble Makers Incorporated, Loliware, Thirteenth Colony Distilleries, Daufuskie Island Rum, PestoGrino, Empire Distributors, Southern Sky Brewing & Peace Love Food LLC.
Delicious local produce was the star of the night and creative custom cocktails including one that had cricket bitters! Spending a few hours with people who are passionate and supportive of local agriculture and women in the industry is such a treat.
If you'd like to attend and/or support an upcoming LDEI event here are some events open to the public:
- August - Annual Scholarship Awards Event Dames & Guests – Wednesday, August 9th 6:30-8:30 High Museum of Art
- September – Farmers Market & Big Green Egg Cooking including Hatch Chiles Dames & Guest - Sunday September 10th 1:00-4:00PM– Big Green Egg Culinary Center
- October – Green Tables Event for World Food Day Event, Monday October 16th Dames & Guests – venue TBD
The exhibit at MODA runs through the 21st of May 2017 if you want to stop in and check it out. It is not a "tour". It was developed by the museum with the help of some local farmer's in Georgia.