This Saturday, May 4, a powerful cadre of culinary leaders will convene at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College for a meeting of the minds. Not all, but many, of the attendees, panelists, and presenters will be women, as this will be the Second Annual Symposium presented by the Philadelphia chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), a group of chefs, bloggers, cookbook authors, nutritionists and others united by their work in the culinary, farming, fine beverageand hospitality industries. LDEI proudly bears the name of Auguste Escoffier, a chef famous for putting French cuisine on the map and creating what we know today as the modern kitchen in the early 1900’s (fun fact: he also invented Melba toast!).
The Philly Dames have organized an amazing day of activities this Saturday based around the theme “Cuisine, Culture & Community: A Global Celebration of Women & Food.” Big names, both national and local, will grace thestage, from keynote speaker Nathalie Dupree (accomplished Southern cookbook author and TV personality), to local Chef Sarah Ginn of Pure Fare (teaching a gluten-free baking class with Jason Robert’s from the television show The Chew), to the Symposium’s event chair Aliza Green, who will be teaching a demo on homemade pasta.
Two panels will examine diversity: one titled “Women and Their Roles in the French Kitchen,” featuring Charlotte Calmels (co-owner of Philly’s BYOB Bibou) and Chef Georges Perrier, and another titled “Breaking Color Barrier in the Kitchen,” with a number of participants, including Chef Tia McDonald from the Vetri Foundation for Children and Charlotte Lyons, former food editor at Ebony Magazine.
Cocktails, olive oil, Cuban food, urban farming, Middle Eastern cuisine, and many other tantalizing topics are also on the docket. While Les Dames d’Escoffier may sound like an elite sorority, the Symposium is open to all who are interested – fees are especially generous for students. The program, which benefits the LDEI Educational, Scholarship and Green Tables initiatives, runs from 8am-5pm and includes breakfast, lunch, all sessions and an afternoon reception. For more information, or to register, see here.
EMILY KOVACH writes about food, beer and other delicious things in Philadelphia.