The Auction is LIVE!!

Our inaugural “Best Dame Auction Ever” online auction starts *NOW*, Sunday, November 12th and runs through the 19th ✨

The proceeds from this auction benefit our Micro Grant and Scholarship programs in the St. Louis area. This program is brought to you by the St. Louis Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of women who specialize in and are leaders in the food and beverage industry.

2023 LDEI Woman of Purpose Award

Presented in Partnership with YETI

With LDEI’s Woman of Purpose Award, Les Dames d’Escoffier International honors an exceptional Dame who has set herself apart by making a positive impact in a local or global community incorporating the important and complex realms of global sustainability, food justice and public health. This award celebrates a visionary Dame who has made strides towards improving our food system.

This year, 18 accomplished Dames were nominated for the LDEI Woman of Purpose Award. As per criteria, each LDEI chapter in good standing had one vote.

Among a dazzling slate of candidates, LDEI is pleased to announce this year’s Woman of Purpose Award goes to St. Louis
Dame Nina Mukerjee Furstenau. 

Congratulations Nina!!

“YETI is proud to partner with Les Dames d’Escoffier International in support of the second biennial Woman of Purpose Award,” said LeighAnn Bakunas, Director of Food & Beverage Community Marketing at YETI. “We are honored to recognize the amazing and impactful work these women are doing within their communities and continue to support their efforts in making a difference in food justice, public health, and global sustainability.”

LDEI congratulates Nina and is so proud of all Woman of Purpose Award nominees. They inspire us. Their accomplishments show us what is possible, how each of us individually and collectively can impact our communities for the greater good.

Donation to Unfailing Love Christian church for their holiday support of 150 families.

This 2021 holiday season, our St Louis Les Dames d'Escoffier Chapter donated goods and funds for 150 families in The Ville Collaborative. The Ville Collaborative is a group made up of various stakeholders in the Ville and Greater Ville neighborhoods. It was formed to promote communication and collaboration between people and organizations for the betterment of the community.

Dame Nina Mukerjee Furstenau releases a new book!

Dame Nina Mukerjee Furstenau is the author of “Biting Through the Skin: an Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland” (Iowa, 2013)

Winner of the 2014 M.F.K. Fisher Grand Prize for Excellence in Culinary Writing/ She recently completed a Fulbright study grant - a working trio to Kaldata, resulting in this new book “Green Chili and Other Imposters”.

Dame Suzanne Corbett picked up 2 regional awards!

Dame Suzanne Corbett picked up 2 regional awards in October from the Midwest Travel Journalists Association. The awards were presenetd at the association’s Mark Twain Travel Journalist Awards held in Sanibel Island, FL.

Corbett wone first place for a short story, “Catch the Louisiana Blues”. The story appeared in AAA Southern Trabeller. She also received third place for her story “Patriotic Plates”, which ran in Gazelle Magazine.

The awards covered all of 2020 and through June 30th of 2021. Corbett’s work as food historian as been featured in the Campbell House Museum, The Gateway Arch National Park, the U.S. Grant Historical Site and the Missouri History Museum.

Table Talks with Les Dames: Celebrating Women’s Achievements

Elevated Irish: Celebrating St Patrick’s Day the St. Louis Way ST. LOUIS CHAPTER

By Alyse K. Scaglione

Martha Kemper and Whitney Linsenmeyer kicked off our March 9 event with some helpful Zoom etiquette followed by a magnificent lecture on the Irish presence and celebrations in St. Louis. We rolled into our filmed demonstrations; chef/owner Grace Dinsmoor of Chela Tapas prepared Colcannon Croquettes a-Smiling, basic potato croquettes elevated with the addition of brussels sprouts and a whole grain mustard sauce. Fran Caradonna, CEO of local St Louis Brewery-Schlafly Beer gave a brief look at one of her favorite golden beers, Schlafly Kolsch. Next was Darla Crask, owner of Ices Plain & Fancy, with her unforgettable “Freakshake” milkshake take on Irish coffee utilizing Five Farms Irish Cream, Jameson Irish whiskey, local Ronnoco coffee, and festive toppings.

Alyse Scaglione, pastry chef at Meadowbrook Country Club, was last with an Irish American adaptation of classic soda bread featuring an enriched dough with apples, golden raisins, and caraway seeds. After the demonstrations, Darla and Alyse fielded questions giving further insight on flour substitutions, how to make coffee concentrations (or cold brew toddy), our unexpected parallel paths into the world of desserts, working with mistakes, and how to obtain Darla’s amazing nitrogen ice cream specialties.

The first twentyfive local registrants received goodie bags filled with items from our sponsons: a mini loaf of Chef Alyse’s Irish American Soda Bread, Ronnoco house blend coffee, Schlafly’s Kolsch and Oatmeal Stout beers, Five Farms Irish Cream from Lohr Distributing, WellBeing Brewery’s Coffee Cream Non-Alcoholic Stout, personal protective equipment from Larson’s Medical Supply, and eco-friendly, disposable serveware and coupon code from Natural Tableware.

One hundred percent of our registrants’ contributions go to our chapter’s grant, scholarship, and philanthropic efforts. We look forward to in-person events again; in the meantime, this platform is the perfect way to keep our community connected. “Ag guí sláinte agus sonais ort” (“wishing you health and happiness” in Irish) from the St. Louis Chapter.

Dames Dietitians Take the Lead

CONNIE DIEKMAN, M.ED., RD, CSSD, LD, FADA (St. Louis Chapter)

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

Connie Diekman’s career has been diverse, starting as a registered dietitian in a research study, then providing nutrition consults to businesses, government agencies, fitness facilities, and ultimately, to the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. While at the university, she worked with the dining team to provide a menu that offered enjoyable, better-for-you options, and she provided consults to the athletes and to students through student health in her capacity as a specialist in sports dietetics.

She notes that until she moved through her career, she never realized how well the broad curriculum in dietetics prepared her for various positions. Obviously, it included the pure sciences of biology, physiology, organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and applied sciences, but also management of teams and classes in behavior change and psychology. The later, she believes gave her the skills needed to provide leadership, to change concepts, and offer support to organizations. Connie asserts that the skills learned may have been food and nutrition focused but the skills easily translate to business, industry, and even community organizations. These acquired skills enhanced what she was able to contribute to the St. Louis and Missouri Heart Associations, her children’s high schools, her high school and college alum associations, and the St. Louis LDEI Chapter. She identifies that registered dietitians have a strong grounding in behavior change, people skills, and management—skills that enhance all those with whom they interact.

One of Connie’s greatest rewards was her election to the presidency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association. In that position, she had the opportunity and joy of representing her colleagues in dealing with external organizations, government agencies, all of the 50 state Academies and their members, specialized affiliates and sub-groups within the national organization. Connie explains, “My presidency further enhanced my skills to hear and process member concerns, to lead, motivate, and engage with the board to ensure that the strategic plan reflected the direction the organization needed to go and how the organization needed to position for success. I also learned patience.” Connie wisely says that we all know that the world changes slowly, and so do organizations.

However, she characterizes such periods as an opportunity to develop tolerance—for good change requires planning, perseverance, and support.

Virtual Connections

As we will not be connecting in person for the foreseeable future, we are working on and implementing alternative ways to stay in touch. We miss nothing more than our programs and get-togeth­ers! Our chapter connects with monthly Zoom "Dames Who Drink" happy hours, and our Dames "Food Lit" Book Group is meeting more frequently. Virtual education programs are now on our calendars as well. Alyse Scaglione, Pastry Chef at Meadow­brook Country Club, conducted an informative and enjoyable Zoom Macaron Master Class from the Club kitchen. Liz Engelsmann shared with us her knowledge with an at-home tasting of rose wines distributed by her company, Pinnacle Imports. In September, we held our virtual new Dames induction and Global Culinary Initiative dinner via Zoom.

Macaroon Master Class

On July 28, Alyse Scaglione hosted a Zoom "Macaron Master Class" for her St Louis Chapter accompanied by her assistant, Heather Barrett.


The word "macaron" comes from the Italian word, maccherone ("fine dough"). It's thought that the maca­ron cookie originated in Italy and was brought to France as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici, a noblewoman from Florence who married the future King of France, Henri II.


In demonstrating this European cookie, Alyse focused on expanding creativity, and she gave professional insider tips and tricks for perfecting technique and applicative use of these ubiquitous little delights.


"We 'hosted' the meeting in our Meadow­brook Country Club kitchen in Ballwin, Missouri. I quickly ran through the process of making, piping, and filling a house-favor­ite flavor combination of raspberry, rosewa­ter, and Callebaut Ruby Chocolate macarons followed by a Q&A segment covering how to get beautiful and uniform macarons and ways to expand uses."


Alyse recommended filling ideas that ex­tended beyond the usual jam or buttercream (i.e. Bavarian creams, ganaches, seasonal fruit curds, and German Chocolate custard). She discussed the underutilized savory application. Alyse presented two techniques. The first showed a larger, piped macaron shell used in lieu of a cros­tini as a classic summer canape of bacon, tomato, and mozzarella. The second displayed shells dusted with Herbs de Provence and filled with goat cheese mousse.


"Finally, we presented how macarons can add a beautiful finishing touch to decorated cakes," said Alyse. "We had a lovely web­based evening that let us gather, explore food, and share one another's expertise. I am a first-year Dame, and while this year has had a different environment, I could not be more excited for our future or anymore incredibly proud to call myself a St. Louis Dame!"

Above: Pastry Chef Alyse Scaglione. Savory maca­rons. Callebaut Ruby Chocolate macarons. Below: Alyse sprinkling herbs on savory macacons. Using macarons to decorate cakes. Macaro crostini.

LDEI Fontbonne University Scholarship Program

On September 23, 2020, St. Louis inducted two dynamic new members into our chapter. In addition, we also introduced the first recipient of our Fontbonne University Marching Scholarship Program. While different from our previous inductions as this was a Zoom meeting, we did offer optional gourmet take-out from a Dames-owned catering business. And to add a little education to the evening, Beth Heidrich and Moira Ross presented a lively account on how they are changing the green frontier through Beth's new venture, KindBio. Beth and her husband Kurt were recently awarded licenses to cultivate medical marijuana, as well as manufactured both edibles and oils. The St. Louis Green "fables Committee launched a new fundraiser, "Local Flavors in a Bag.'' on Friday, October 23. This event was designed to promote local Missouri and Illinois farmers by featuring seasonal ingredients in a gourmet meal kit for two. All proceeds go to supporting student scholarships, and community outreach grants. The Bag included salad. bread, and the ingredients for a main course (Pasta con Broccoli with Chicken) and a de sm (Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream). The meal was packed in an insulated LD El Sr. Louis bag and also included a petite keepsake baking dish. Optional wine pair­ings featuring Missouri vineyards were available for an additional fee. A step-by-step instructional YouTube tutorial video was made to assist pur• chasers with their meal prep. Our GT Com­mittee was very pleased with the outcome. and plans are in process for another "Bag" event in late Spring.

Former LDEI St. Louis Scholarship Winner Tene Smith preps and assembles "Bags." Photo: Whitney Linsenmeyer