About Us

Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is a worldwide society of women leaders in food, beverage, and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy, mentoring, and philanthropy.

Carol Brock, a food reporter for the New York Daily News, founded the organization in New York City in 1976. At the time, there were few opportunities for women in the culinary arts, and there were no prominent women chefs or sommeliers. Brock saw a need to create an organization of professional, leading women in the industry who would serve as role models and mentors to others, and so LDEI was born.

Les Dames d’Escoffier International is named after Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935). Escoffier was one of the most innovative chefs in history. His philosophy and accomplishments still serve as both model and inspiration to culinary professionals throughout the world.

Today, LDEI is an invitation-only organization with 40 chapters in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico. It is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality.

Photo by Mo Davis

Board of Directors

Kathy G. Mezrano
owner of Kathy G. & Co.

VP of Membership
Erin Isbell
former owner of The Red Cat

VP of Programs
Jan Gautro
freelance prop stylist

Jennifer Yarbrough
owner of Crestline Bagel Co.

Donna Cornelius
freelance food writer