WHO WE ARE

The British Columbia chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier International is a non-profit organization of women leaders in BC’s hospitality, food and beverage sectors committed to inspiring, advancing and supporting the women in our communities today and the next generation of female leaders.

We are a vibrant and growing chapter with 76 members recognized as influential leaders with extensive experience, exceptional talents and a genuine commitment for supporting our fellow women.

As a local chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, we follow the Guiding Principles of the association’s founders:

 Philanthropy:

We are committed to creating lasting change in our communities through focused philanthropy.

Diversity:

We celebrate the value of differences among people and cultures throughout the world, in our communities and in our Chapters.

Leadership and Professional Development:

We are committed to life-long learning, mentoring, career advancement and professional development for our members.

Professional Excellence:

We subscribe to the highest standards of professional conduct, ethics and integrity.

Innovation:

We are committed to assuring continuing relevance and influence in an ever changing environment through adaptation, innovation and openness and responsiveness to change.

What We Do

Together we advocate for all women throughout British Columbia who work within our community’s hospitality, food and beverage sectors. We proudly inspire, advance and support those leading the way and passionately guide the leaders of tomorrow through mentorship and scholarship opportunities.

Fundraising and Philanthropy

The primary purpose of the Les Dames d’Escoffier, BC Chapter is fundraising and philanthropy to support and advance all women within the hospitality, food and beverage sectors but especially the next generation of female leaders. Through the support of our generous donors and supporters, and the several events and fundraising activities we host throughout each year, we are proud to have awarded over $300,000 in scholarships to date. Plus, we provide in-kind and financial support to initiatives whose values and guiding principles closely align ours such as Growing Chefs! and Chefs in the Classroom.

Education and Leadership

Les Dames, BC Chapter also provides educational opportunities for our members, scholarship recipients and donors by hosting events, supporting programs coordinated by other organizations, introducing connections and providing mentorship. We also advocate for increased female participation, a stronger female presence, and equitable conditions in all hospitality, food and beverage environments.

Support and Celebration

Members of Les Dames d’Escoffier support fellow members through shared knowledge, networking and business promotion. And very importantly, we shine a light on the achievements of our members and celebrate their successes.

Les Dames d ‘Escoffier INTERNATIONAL

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Les Dames d’Escoffier, BC Chapter is one of 44 Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) includes 2,400 members in 44 chapters in the US, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Together, LDEI chapters raised and donated more than $525,000 to community non-profits and philanthropic organizations in 2021.

The organization is named after Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) from France who is known as “The Chef of Kings” and the “The King of Chefs”. He is recognized as the most innovative chef in history, one whose philosophy, accomplishment and philanthropic deeds serve as inspiration to culinary professions today.

Les Dames d’Escoffier, the first organization for professional culinary women, was created in 1976 by Carol Brock, a Sunday food editor at the New York Daily News. Inspired by the Boston group Les Dames des Amis d’Escoffier, a dining and philanthropic society formed in 1959, her goal was to raise the image and presence of women in food, wine, and hospitality industries. 

Please visit Les Dames d ‘Escoffier INTERNATIONAL for more information about our organization.

Our Mentor:

Since its incorporation 25 years ago, Les Dames d’Escoffier has followed its mission to elevate the profession through mentoring its members and helping worthy students succeed in their culinary careers. I am proud to be a member.

Julia Child 1912-2004

OUR BOARD MEMBERS, 2023-2024

Photo of Cassandra J Anderton

Cassandra J Anderton

Board Position:President

Cassandra Anderton is a freelance travel, food, wine, and lifestyle writer, blogger and broadcaster, and is the publisher and editor of Goodlifevancouver.com, a website devoted to what’s good in and around Vancouver, and sometimes far beyond….

Photo of Cate Simpson

Cate Simpson

Board Position:Past President

Photo of Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Board Position:First Vice President

Photo of Karen Dar Woon

Karen Dar Woon

Board Position:Secretary

Photo of Lois Gibert

Lois Gibert

Board Position:Treasurer

Sandra Merk

Board Position:Director, Communications

Photo of Shobna Kannusamy

Shobna Kannusamy

Board Position:Director, Green Tables

Shobna Kannusamy is the Founder and Principal Coach of Soirette Connections….

Photo of Margot Baloro

Margot Baloro

Board Position:Director, InReach

Photo of Carolyn Hornell

Carolyn Hornell

Board Position:Director, Fundraising

Photo of Linda Seiffert

Linda Seiffert

Board Position:Director, Membership

Photo of Rossana Ascencio

Rossana Ascencio

Board Position:Director, Scholarship

Photo of Lesley Stav

Lesley Stav

Board Position:Member at Large ,Vancouver Island Liaison

Photo of Christina Ferreira

Christina Ferreira

Board Position:Director at Large: Okanagan Liaison

Photo of Christine Blackwood

Christine Blackwood

Board Position:Director at Large

 

 

OUR COMMITTEE CHAIRS, 2023-2024

Fundraising: Carolyn Hornell, Jenice Yu
Green Tables:
Shobna Kannusamy, Merri Schwartz
In-Reach: Margot Baloro, Cristina Dias 
Membership:
Linda Seiffert, Ruth Grierson
Scholarship:
Rossana Ascencio, Karen Dar Woon

Our Supporters

Here are some of our past and present supporters who we would like to acknowledge with gratitude: