Named for Auguste Escoffier, the great 19th-century French chef, Les Dames d’Escoffier is a group of 1,400 professional women, called Dames, whose work is connected with food or hospitality.
From chefs to horticulturists, from winemakers to educators, this varied group of women has a set of core values: They promote the use of locally grown produce, humane animal husbandry and sustainable land practices, and they work to spread these values through public education. Their scholarship program is devoted to helping women pursue culinary careers; their awards program recognizes excellence in food writing; and their Green Table program helps people understand the connection between farms and kitchen tables.
The Dames belong to individual chapters across the country, which are the fundraising workhorses of the group.
“We’re a bottom-up, grassroots organization,” says Dame Suzanne Brown, the organization’s president.
For their recently published cookbook, Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier, these women scoured their personal recipe files and came up with more than 120 of their prized recipes. They also provided their best cooking tips—suggestions for taking shortcuts, instructions
for preparing ahead and ideas for what to serve with the recipes.
This holiday season, try this menu from Les Dames’ cookbook. You may find that it’s like having a chef in the kitchen. “After all,” says Dame Suzanne, “everything we do is food.”
By Jean Kressy. Recipes reprinted with permission from Cooking with Les Dames D’Escoffier (Sasquatch Books, 2008).