About Les Dames d’Escoffier International

Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is the only organization of its kind: a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. Founded in New York in 1976, the invitation-only membership has grown to 45 individual chapters across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Mexico, with over 2,400 members in the culinary fields. The membership is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality.

Visit www.LDEI.org for more information about our international organization.

The St. Louis Chapter

Founded in 2008, Les Dames d'Escoffier St. Louis is the St. Louis, MO chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier International (LDEI). Our members are professional women in the food, beverage, hospitality, and related industries. All are women of achievement and leaders in their fields as well as their communities.

Our mission is to create a supportive culture in our community to achieve excellence in the food, beverage, and hospitality professions.

To accomplish this, our members share knowledge, fellowship and provide leadership, educational opportunities and philanthropic events for the larger community. LDEI members also assist women in careers in culinary arts, nutrition, beverage management or hospitality through active mentoring and the funding of scholarships to accredited programs of study.

Membership in Les Dames d'Escoffier is limited to qualified women and is by invitation only. For more information, click here.

Global Culinary Initiative (GCI)

The Global Culinary Initiative (GCI) of the LDEI St. Louis Chapter embraces diversity through food, recognizing that food is a thread that connects cultures and its people within our communities, nation, and world.  Our GCI activities provide a “rich table” to learn, engage and nourish cultural diversity … to bridge cultural barriers … and help us serve as advocates within our community … with food and foodways as our focus and connection.

An annual highlight, GCI’s “Passport to …” is a philanthropic culinary event, celebrating the foods, flavors, and traditions of cultures in a different part of the world each year. Traditional food and beverages, ethnic music, dance, and ambiance, and attendance gifts with a cultural twist make “Passport to …” a much-anticipated public and member event. These recent culinary “journeys” have taken guests and their tastebuds to India, Peru, and Provence in France.  In 2022, “Passport to …” will travel to Morocco!  As a fund-raising event open to the public, “Passport to…” provides financial support for culinary scholarships for young women and for St. Louis area community outreach, raising over $33,000 to date. 

Do enjoy some highlights from former Passport to . . .  dinners


Green Tables

Launched in 2006 as a Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) farm-to-fork outreach initiative, Green Tables (GT) programming has explored and expanded crucial relationships between LDEI members and the farms and farmers, restaurants and chefs, kitchen tables, and home cooks who comprise their local and regional food systems. The form of these efforts has primarily been technical assistance and education, while the audiences have been quite diverse. From consumers at farmers' markets to teachers and students at K-12 schools, from culinary students and peer education among Dames about sustainable food sourcing, food waste, and much more – Green Tables has had an impact across countless Chapter communities for nearly 15 years.

Since 2008, Green Tables has been a core program for LDEI St Louis.

Our programs that highlight local farmers and food sourcing include our bi-annual Flavors in a Bag and participation in Food Day in October. The upcoming Junior Chef competition in early 2022 will pit students in an Iron Chef-style contest featuring local produce and products.

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