The Birmingham chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is an organization of resident leaders and experts in the food and beverage industries, and we are dedicated to growing, creating, promoting and sharing our local food culture.
We founded our group in 2013 with 55 members—one of the largest initial memberships in the history of the organization. We are chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, caterers, farmers, food retailers, event planners, cookbook authors, food writers and editors, nutritionists and registered dietitians, food photographers, food and prop stylists, winemakers and wine-industry professionals, food publicists, food-service professionals, culinary educators and hospitality executives.
We are dedicated to creating a culture in our community that fosters excellence, and we are committed to sharing what we know through educational and charitable activities.
Each fall, we host a fundraising dinner, Southern Soirée. The money we raise is awarded to students, teachers, female entrepreneurs and food-related nonprofits across the state of Alabama. We support college education, fund projects for high school students, help grow women-owned businesses, and assist with other food-related work in our communities.
We are steadfast and enthusiastic advocates for our local food community and seek always to celebrate its diversity, uniqueness and time-honored traditions.
LDEI is a diverse professional organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy, mentoring and philanthropy.
To be the preeminent global professional association for women leaders in the food, beverage and hospitality industries.
The Birmingham Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International supports Black Lives Matter and the global movement to end systemic racism, racial violence and police brutality.
We call for an end to racism and oppression in any form, in any society.
Maya Angelou said, “… lift someone up. Lift a stranger up—lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.”
As an organization, we have always worked to lift up women who are under-recognized, underpaid, under-promoted and underserved. We are committed to creating meaningful change in our communities through volunteer efforts, awarding scholarships and grants, mentoring, education and inclusion.
As a chapter, we support women of all ages and all colors with scholarships so they can pursue their educations and their dreams and with grants to help them grow their businesses and better support their families and their communities. We will continue these efforts going forward, with an intentionally stronger focus on needs in the Black community.
These efforts are largely localized, so it’s important that we, as a chapter, join the wider community of people all across the world in support of justice, equality, accountability and change, in support of human rights and advancement for all people.