Tag Archive | "Les Dames d’Escoffier"

Culinary Cause: Great Flicks, Food and Fundraising

The San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is hosting Meals on Reels on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at The St. Anthony Hotel, 300 East Travis Street, San Antonio, TX 78205.

LDEI is a charitable organization of women in the culinary fields. The San Antonio chapter celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015.

The event will feature a cocktail reception plus cooking demonstrations and a multi-course dinner of movie-inspired fare.

julie_and_julia 2 posterAll of the meals will be prepared by esteemed members of the local chapter. Each course will be paired with wine and a culinary-themed movie clip. Courses include Lobster Bisque; Quail with Rose Petal Sauce; Palate Cleanser; Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon; a cheese course presented by Jarlsberg; and multiple desserts. The event will be supported by The St. Anthony Hotel catering staff.

Lots of glitter and some great items will complete the scene with silent and live auctions.

Tickets are $175 per person with corporate tables available. Seating is limited to ensure the highest quality culinary experience for all guests.

Tickets can be purchased by purchasing tickets here.

Meals on Reels will help fund the Les Dames San Antonio chapter’s scholarships, grants and Green Tables program.

LDEI is a non-profit international association of women with successful careers in food, wine, hospitality, nutrition and agriculture. The group is dedicated to assisting others through scholarships, education, advocacy and philanthropy.

copper panLocal LDEI members undertake a range of philanthropic activities throughout the year including support for the Time Dollar Community Connections garden, Green Spaces Alliance and the Farm-to-School program. Generous college scholarships are presented to women from the San Antonio area to study in culinary-related, hospitality, beverage or agricultural fields. LDEI also supports Roy Mass Youth Alternatives with an upscale Holiday Party for the children it serves that includes a steak dinner, gifts and entertainment. In addition, LDEI members lead nutrition and cooking classes throughout the community.

For additional information about the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and the Meals on Reels fundraiser, please visit the chapter’s website at, or contact event co-chairs Blanca Aldaco or Kathy Shearer (210-861-5346).

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$10K in Scholarships Available for Women Seeking Culinary Careers

Female chef croppedIf you are a woman who is interested in learning to be a pastry chef, organic farmer, culinary educator, wine sommelier or master chef, the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) would like to help you out.

LDEI San Antonio is now accepting scholarship applications for post-high school studies in the 2014-2015 school year. This year, the San Antonio chapter is awarding $10,000 in scholarships.

The financial program is designed to assist San Antonio area women who are pursuing an education in the food/culinary arts, wine, hospitality and agriculture industries.

Past scholarships have been awarded to women attending the University of The Incarnate Word, St. Philip’s College, Johnson & Wales University, The Culinary Institute of America, and other educational institutions.

“As a woman who has dedicated her professional life to restaurants, fine cuisine and hospitality, it is especially meaningful to help other women enter this field by chairing the committee selecting the scholarship recipients,” says scholarship chairwoman Diana Barrios Trevino.

To be eligible for the award, applicants must demonstrate financial need, attend an accredited institution, and currently maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade point grade average. The scholarships are limited to women who are current residents of San Antonio, Bexar County and its contiguous counties.

Application forms are available online at the San Antonio chapter site:  Forms are also available at most financial aid offices at area schools, or can be requested from Trevino at

Completed applications must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2014 and addressed to Les Dames d’Escoffier, c/o Diane Thomas, P.O. Box 17812, San Antonio, Texas 78217.

Successful scholarship recipients will be notified no later than May 31, 2014; funds will be sent directly to the scholarship winner’s educational institution no later than September 1, 2014.

LDEI is a non-profit international association of women with successful careers in food, wine, hospitality and agriculture. The group is dedicated to assisting others through scholarships, education, advocacy and philanthropy.

For more information about the scholarship program of the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International,  please contact Trevino at or 210-771-7011.

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Gifts for Mom, More at Mother’s Day Plant & Bake Sale

There will be lots of treats for Sunday morning breakfast for mom at the Time Dollar Bake Sale

There will be lots of treats for Sunday morning breakfast for mom at the Time Dollar Bake Sale

Time Dollar Community Connections’ second annual Mother’s Day Plant & Bake Sale is Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 2806 West Salinas St.

Food, baked goods, plants, yard art, collectibles as well as vintage items will be for sale.

Also, free bilingual workshops are offered. The first, at 10:30 a.m. is on making healthy tamales, presented by registered dietitian and diabetes educator Linda Triesch and chef Ana Maria Martinez, both of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

The second workshop is at 11:30 a.m. on traditional plants and healing, by Jane Madrigal, MEd., curative Herb and Plant expert.

Funds raised will go towards providing basic needs programs and life changing programs.  Basic needs programs are the Time Dollar Community Table food pantry, utility assistance, and basic case management.

Also, enjoy music, sweets from Earl Abel’s, the Guenther House, and pastries made by pastry chef Jenny Mattingsley to name a few.  Food and fresh aguas will be catered by Don Strange Catering.

In 2012, Time Dollar served over 7,947 Westside and Bexar County residents with a budget of about $35,000 that equates to $4.40 per guest. Thanks to our supporters, other community-minded donors, and volunteers, Time Dollar was able to provide basic needs and life changing services to all who expressed a need.

Life changing programs include Parent Child Math, one-on-one math education for underserved parents mutually benefiting parents and children, Summer Children’s Gardening Classes that ignites creative learning and thinking, and Square Foot Gardening and Sustainable Living Classes for adults.

Time Dollar Succulent Wreath



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Les Dames Throw Julia Child a Birthday Party

For several hours at the swank new Éilan Resort Hotel and Spa on Sunday, it was all about Julia Child.

The famed “French chef,” who introduced America to the wonders of butter and lobster and so many fabulous foods, was born 100 years ago on Aug. 15. As she was a member of Les Dames d’ Escoffier International, it was only fitting that the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames would throw her a party.

Lauren Browning (left) and Jenny Mattingsley demonstrate culinary skills at Eilan Sunday.

The party, Simply Celebrating Julia, was also the group’s main fundraising event for 2012.

The more than 250 people who first gathered in rooms adjoining the ballroom at the Éilan were greeted with the bubbly pink Pierre Sparr Cremany D’Alsace Rosé and treats from a series of tasting stations. Members of Les Dames offered demonstrations, from making French bread to the Burgundian delicacy, gougère, and from green olive tapenade to pissaladière, the famous onion tart with olive and anchovies.

After bidding on silent auction items, guests moved to tables set in the ballroom. Two large screens started the celebration in earnest with clips from Child’s famed “The French Chef” television series. While Child was serious about cooking, she also managed to entertain — or the series would possibly have never gotten off the ground.

Sara Moulton talks of her days working with Julia Child.

And she still got laughs from her audience — whether she was wiggling the tailbone of a large goose (plucked for cooking, of course) or grabbing a large power saw to attack a particularly thorny problem. She made it all seem doable, and maybe even fun.

The guests of honor were celebrity chefs Sara Moulton, star of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” on PBS and Stephan Pyles, considered a pioneer of Southwest cuisine. Both chefs had reminiscences about Julia to share.

Moulton, who worked with Julia as an assistant on her show, said that no matter how much Julia learned, she “never stopped learning.”

She also never stopped sharing her love of food with anyone. Believe it or not, “Julia Child was listed in the phone book,” says Moulton, and she took people’s calls, answering their questions about what they were preparing.

She wasn’t a feminist as much as she was a “Julia-ist,” and that meant “she never, ever let anything get in her way,” Moulton said.

Pyles said the chef “loved to drink and eat — and drink.”

Her love of butter was known to one and all, but it may surprise even the heartiest gourmand that Child wanted “butter with her foie gras,” he said.

Damien Watel’s duck roulade with roasted apple and calvados sauce.

The luncheon was prepared by Dames and a series of chefs. Appetizers included gougères from Lauren Browning, Nancy Fitch, Ana Martinez and Rashin Mazaheri, while the Pissaladière were from Rollie Blackwell-Devlin and Naylene Dillingham. Baguettes were from Jenny Mattingsley and Kim Scandrett, while Cynthia Guido and Cathy Tarasovic made the tapenade. Pork Rillettes and were from Hinnerk von Bargen of the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio.

The seated portion of the meal included dishes from several of the city’s chefs. It began with a lobster and caviar éclair from Andrew Weissman of the Weissman Restaurant Group, followed by Cabernet-smoked sturgeon salad with poulet egg and black truffle was from David Gilbert, head chef of Sustenio, which is in Éilan. Damian Watel of Bistro Vatel provided the duck roulade with roasted apple and a calvados sauce, while Weissman closed out the meal with Valrhona Chocolate pavé and crème fraîche ice cream.

A skit, live auction, talks and presentation of this year’s Les Dames scholarship winners were also part of the event. Event chairs were Pat Mozersky and Julia Rosenfeld. The co-presidents of the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames are Linda Triesch and Leslie Horne. For more information on Les Dames, visit their website here.

Story and photos by Bonnie Walker and John Griffin.




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Simply Celebrating Julia: A 100th Birthday Celebration

Join the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International in celebrating the 100th  birthday of legendary chef, Dame Julia Child.

The San Antonio chapter will throw a party with a Julia-inspired menu and other delights during this fete on Sunday, Aug. 26, from 1-5 p.m. at the Incanto Ballroom, Eilan Resort Hotel & Spa, 17101 La Cantera Parkway.

This is a fundraiser for the Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international group that supports women in culinary careers. Corporate tables and sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Molly McAdams at 210.389.1375. Following a Champagne reception, here is just sampling of what you’ll enjoy:

  • Special guests include acclaimed chefs Sara Moulton and Stephan Pyles.
  • Gourmet luncheon prepared by San Antonio’s leading chefs.
  • Scholarships will be awarded to culinary students.
  • First-rate auction items and surprises you won’t want to miss!

Seating is limited so make your reservation today.
Individual tickets at $150 (link here).




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Central Market: ‘Fête du France’ Tasting Tour is Tuesday

Spend a spring evening tasting your way through France’s very best.  As Central Market celebrates the “nation of foodies,” San Antonio’s Broadway Central Market will transform into a tasting tour.  Fête du France: A French Marché is from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday (May 15).

Your $20 donation at the door benefits Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international service organization made of of women in a wide range of culinary professions. Money collected goes into scholarship funds for young woman seeking education in culinary careers. In return, you’ll receive:

• A passport to Fête du France

• A commemorative wine glass

• A keepsake tote to begin your journey

Pick up a loaf of French bread while you attend Fete de France at Central Market.

In every department, sample delicious French finds like quiche, cassoulet, wines, Champagne, 18-month aged Comte, Trois Petit Cochon paté and ham, and Brioche Vendéene. Or, create your own crepe in the CM Cooking School

There will be traditional French music, artists to capture your  likeness and street performers who will entertain you along the way.

Plus, take home a bounty of treats such as Mere de Poulard cookies, Michele Cluizel chocolates, Fallot Mustard, traditional French breads and other savory souvenirs in your complimentary tote.

All proceeds benefit the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

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Les Dames d’Escoffier Plant & Bake Sale Benefits Time Dollar

In support of the community-building organization Time Dollar, Les Dames d’Escoffier will sponsor its first annual Plant & Bake Sale on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Time Dollar Community Connections agency, 2806 W. Salinas, on the city’s West Side.

Time Dollar programs include gardening workshops for children.

Launched in 2001, Time Dollar works toward bringing sustainable change to their communities by building trust and communication among neighbors and increasing community involvement.

With support from a number of sources, the 501 c 3 nonprofit offers programs teaching gardening, healthy cooking, math tutoring and more. Time Dollar Community Connections’ mission is to help San Antonians with essentials they need in exchange for work or a service they perform.

Les Dames is an international organization, whose membership comprises women in culinary careers, from book authors and chefs to public relations professionals and  women who own farms or ranches. Les Dames has supported Time Dollar since 2009 with donations to its community garden, square-foot gardening and food for distribution as a Food Bank satellite.



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WalkerSpeak: It’s Women’s Turn to Shine in Culinary Arts

Sometimes the past comes up to bite us firmly on the butt.  Other times, though, things seem to miraculously come together.

Olives for sampling have been a feature at each annual Olives Ole event.

As a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, San Antonio Chapter, I’ve worked on the Olives Olé: The International Olive Festival of Texas for three years now. The one this past weekend was held at a new location, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. As does any event of this kind, it reflected changes made from lessons learned during the first two events, held at the Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard near Elmendorf.

Asking for assistance from St. Philip’s College culinary students (along with many other terrific volunteers) was one of the good moves we made. The number of hours the students put into the food preparation was awesome, as were the skills and good spirits that went into it. Then, the next day, they came out to the festival to help some more!

The school’s culinary program is under the benevolent dictatorship of William Thornton, a chef, program director and all-around nice guy who keeps his students in line with an appropriate kind of tough love. After all, many of them will be going to work in the challenging culture of professional food service and will need to have not just the good skills they are learning but the ability to roll with the punches on a daily basis.

I worked alongside them the day before Olives Olé on Saturday. Their spirits were good, and they weren’t averse to taking occasional instruction from me.

In the 1970s, before most of these students were born, I was developing my own professional culinary skills in the old-fashioned way: working for veteran chefs in the restaurant business. It was more toughness than love, on their part. They just wanted the job done right, and woe betide the kitchen worker who dropped knives, burned pans of bacon, or sliced themselves so badly that a fingertip had to be located somewhere in a blood-spattered pile of onions.

Those were just a few of my own mishaps. And I was not an inexperienced cook, having done much of the family cooking since the age of about 10. Eventually, I was able to do a good job of running a Continental kitchen, often on my own, as a sous chef.

Then, one day, I decided to finish my journalism degree and stay on to get another one in food services. In all, I worked in kitchens and went to school through most of my 20s.

As I cut lemons and sliced eggplant on Friday, I felt right at home, despite it being my first time to work in one of Thornton’s kitchens at St. Philip’s.

How things had changed since the days that I had aspirations to be a chef. The class had as many women in it as men. When I was working in restaurants, there weren’t many women aspiring to be more than pantry or pastry cooks. Much of this was because women weren’t supported in the industry. It was largely the province of males.

I can’t say that latter fact has changed as much as I would have liked. But far more women are going to culinary school and getting certification and degrees, more are working in professional kitchens and I’d like to think that many more are aspiring to be chefs or to own their own restaurants and other food-based businesses.

Male chefs taught me the basics of professional cooking, and I am grateful to them for that. Women, too, are eager to carry on the teaching tradition that is an integral part of being a chef.

Which brings me to Les Dames d’Escoffier: This international organization would have been a place for me to turn for support when I was young; not just financial and professional support, but just plain moral support as well. Our fundraiser, Olives Olé, raises money to help women who want to enter or advance in culinary fields, whether it’s as a restaurateur, business owner, teacher or cookbook publisher. The members of the San Antonio chapter of this organization offer a wealth of experience for any woman, young or older, needing a good brain to pick, words of encouragement or a scholarship to help them finance culinary school.

Thinking back on my own history as a cook, and about my jobs as food writer and editor, website founder, and member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, I can see the pattern pieces of my life fitting together. Something that I love became an important part of my career, and my hopes remain high for ever more women to succeed in their culinary endeavors.

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Olives Olé Promises Fun, Food and More at the Botanical Garden Saturday

Olive lovers, plan to spend a day in the garden this weekend for one of the city’s most fun, educational — and delicious — events.

The third annual International Olive Festival of Texas, Olives Olé, is scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston St.

Sample from the huge selection of olives from around the globe. Sponsored by the DeLallo Company,  this olive “bar” is believed to be the largest in the region. Also, get tastes from an extensive array of olive oils from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and other countries, and see how Texas olive oils hold their own with the best.  Ottavio and H-E-B join forces to present this attraction.

You can learn how to grow olive trees successfully in a home garden, including pruning and planting techniques.

Bring the whole family and attend health and wellness seminars, including “Eat (More) Chocolate, Lose Weight (Anyway),” “Keeping a Mediterranean Pantry” and “Tempting Tiny Taste Buds.” Cooking demonstrations by Pat Mozersky and free health literature on the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil will also be offered.

Children will love “Tasty Plates,” where they decorate decoupage/collage plates with herbs, beans and pasta; an “Herb Petting Zoo,” where they can explore and learn to identify a variety of distinctive herbs; and “Farm to Table Storytelling,” with a professional storyteller to recount children’s stories and their relation to nature, gardening, and cooking.

Gourmet concessions featuring healthful treats are available, with items such as Peach Wood-smoked Chicken Salad; Grilled Persian Spiced Lamb Chops; Italian Dried Cherry Farro Salad; Wild Mushroom, Texas Quail and Spanish Chorizo Paella; Grilled Vegetable Pita Sandwiches; Hummus Three Ways; artisan breads; Triple Chocolate Chipotle Brownies and olive oil cookies.

Olives Olé is a fundraising event presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier, San Antonio Chapter. Check out Olives Olé on Facebook or go to for additional information. Tickets are $15 at the door: children under 10 get in free.

Photography by Tracey Maurer for Les Dames d’Escoffier

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Olives Olé Will Be at Botanical Gardens March 26

The 2011 date for Olives Ole International Festival is March 26.

It’s time, once again, to celebrate the olive-growing industry in Texas with a fun event coming this spring.

The Third Annual Olives Olé International Olive Festival of Texas will be on Saturday, March 26 at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, 555 W. Funston Place. The event is sponsored by Les Dames d’Escoffier, San Antonio Chapter.

This fun, informational and delicious event will be from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. On the agenda are talks and seminars on the health benefits of olives and olive oil, cooking with olives and olive oil, sales of olive trees and olive-based products, as well as plenty of food for sampling.

Ticket locations will be announced soon. On the day of the event they will be available at the door for $15.

Grilled Veggie Pita Sandwich is served at Olives Ole. (Photograph by Tracey Maurer)

For recipes from last year’s event, held at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, and more about the mission of Les Dames d’Escoffier, visit the Les Dames website.

Recipe for Grilled Veggie Pita Sandwich

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