LDEI History and Tradition


Les Dames d’Escoffier was granted a charter in 1973 by Les Amis d’Escoffier (an all-male organization), when culinary writer Carol Brock received a charter to form a new, autonomous "ladies chapter" for professional women only. The first chapter was established in New York City with a membership of 50 professional women. Today, LDEI has more than 2,000 members in 36 chapters worldwide.


It continues to be the only organization for highly accomplished professional women in food, wine and hospitality.

The membership of LDEI, alone among industry groups, cuts across diverse segments, including farmers, fisherwomen, chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, culinary school proprietors, educators, culinary historians, food editors and writers, book authors, hoteliers and hotel executives, vintners and wine merchants, chocolatiers, bakers, food scientists, dietitians, TV and film producers, communications and marketing specialists, policy makers, lawyers and food merchants, food activists, manufacturers and purveyors.












  • LDEI is an international professional organization of accomplished women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries


  • LDEI provides a global network to support the professional needs of its invitation-only membership of leading women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries


  • LDEI communications programs and education events work at the grass roots through the organization’s chapter system to foster excellence in food, beverage and hospitality, mentor up and coming women in those fields and enhance the careers of its members 




The International organization has three award programs:


M.F.K. Fisher Award -- Named for America’s leading culinary writer, this monetary grant awarded every year, recognizes and supports women who are doing groundbreaking work in the areas of food, fine beverage, nutrition and health.


Grande Dame Award – Honors women of exceptional achievement and exemplary professional lives. It is given every two years to women who have made outstanding contributions to the state of culinary affairs worldwide.


Legacy Award:  Les Dames d’Escoffier International Legacy Awards, supported by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, offer hands-on experiences and professional expertise to women working in food, beverages and hospitality.



“Les Dames d’Escoffier is a leadership culinary organization composed of women who have not only achieved success in their professions, but who contribute significantly to their communities.

I am proud to be a member.” Julia Child


Julia Child was the first recipient of the LDEI  Grande Dame Award , given in recognition of extraordinary and unusual contributions to the fields of food, wine, other fine beverages, nutrition, and the arts of the table.