Les Dames d’Escoffier International proudly carries the name of the most innovative chef in history— Auguste Escoffier (1846 – 1935. Known as “The Chef of Kings and The King of Chefs,” Escoffier’s philosophy, accomplishments and philanthropic deeds serve as both a model and inspiration to culinary professionals today.
A group of epicures, many of them former pupils of Auguste Escoffier, gathered at the Waldorf Astoria in 1936 to form the all-male organization of dedicated gastronomes, Les Amis d'Escoffier Society of New York, Inc. Membership comprises chefs de cuisine, hotel executives, restaurateurs and business executives.
Carol Brock, the Sunday food editor at the New York Daily News, set about in the early 1970s to create the first organization for professional culinary women. She was inspired by Boston’s Les Dames des Amis d’Escoffier, a dining and philanthropic society formed in 1959, in response to the all-male Les Amis d’Escoffier.
In 1973, Carol received a charter from the New York Les Amis d’Escoffier Society to form a ladies chapter. She wanted to raise the image and presence of women in food, wine and hospitality industries, which were still largely dominated by men.
Three years later in 1976, the ladies chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier New York was formed, comprising 50 culinary luminaries in the food and wine professions. In 1985, five chapters had been formed — New York in 1976, Washington, D.C. in 1981, Chicago in 1982, Dallas and Philadelphia 1984). Their presidents met in New York to form LDEI. Boston’s Les Dames des Amis d’Escoffier joined LDEI in 1991 and became its Boston chapter.
As of March 2018, LDEI comprises 40 chapters in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Mexico with over 2,300 members.