Top Women Culinary Leaders to Experience “The Best of Boston” at Annual Les Dames d’Escoffier Conference

Top Women Culinary Leaders to Experience “The Best of Boston” at Annual Les Dames d’Escoffier ConferenceMore than 250 top women culinary professionals will converge in Boston to experience and celebrate the many food “firsts” of the city during the Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) annual conference, Oct. 30 – Nov. 2.

LDEI members attending the conference at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge represent 1,830 women leaders in the food, fine beverage and hospitality fields who are members of the prestigious culinary organization and harken from 29 chapters across the US, Canada and London. Their stay will include four days of educational seminars, networking, touring, tastings and dine-arounds — all the while experiencing the conference theme of “ “The Best Begins in Boston.”

“Les Dames d’Escoffier International is the premier invitational organization of influential women leaders in food, fine beverage and hospitality… the only organization of its kind,” explains Beth Allen, LDEI president. “Our membership is comprised of renowned and distinguished professionals. We are also highly diversified, reflecting the multi-faced fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality today. LDEI’s vision is to create a supportive culture in our communities to achieve excellence in food, fine beverage and hospitality by providing leadership, educational opportunities and philanthropic events.”

The theme was selected by the local Boston chapter due to the long list of important “firsts” that occurred in Boston (including many culinary firsts such as the first U.S. chocolate factory and the first published cook book in America).  Among the firsts, the Les Dames members will celebrate the origins of the organization, which began with the first chapter to be given its charter by Les Amis d’Escoffier in 1959, an all-male professional organization. During a time of limited opportunities for women, founding members were classified as Les Dames des Amis d’Escoffier (wives and friends of Escoffier) until 1991, when the Boston chapter became affiliated with LDEI.

As women who work in all aspects of the food world, members are attuned to the conversation about women and the media. The annual gathering will focus on the shifting perceptions and reality around women who cook. Leading the way will be keynote speaker and acclaimed chef, television personality and cookbook author, Sara Moulton, who will frame the conversation. Following her address, there will be a panel of women chefs and media professionals to give multiple perspectives on how to move more women from the sidelines to center stage in the culinary industry.

The conference will also include:

  • Beverage seminars, including a Sommelier Smackdown with female sommeliers and a Boston Tea Party: From Colonial Tea Punch to Modern Tea Cocktails with a professional Boston tea sommelier.
  • Professional development seminars on using strategic planning at the personal level to think about exit strategies and growth strategies for business and career.
  • A social media skills update and workshops on food styling and food photography.

In keeping with Boston’s deep ties to academia, the LDEI Annual Conference will have educational seminars on molecular gastronomy and culinary science, cooking with ancient wheat varieties, and with a bow to local seacoast splendors – a focus on seafood and sustainability.

The Boston Chapter members and conference committee have worked tirelessly for two years to assemble more than 35 leading professionals to present to the LDEI membership. The conference committee includes Joan Sweeney and Judy Mattera, conference co-chairs; Louisa Kasdon, program chair; and Lee Napoli, chapter president.

For more information on Les Dames d’Escoffier, visit