New York Daily News food writer and editor Carol Brock organizes the first organization for professional women in food and wine. (An active women’s group was already in existence in Boston: Les Dames des Amis d’Escoffier, a branch of the all-male Les Amis d’Escoffier named after Auguste Escoffier. The Boston group was noted for its sumptuous dinners and other fund-raising events to benefit food and wine charities.)
Brock receives a charter to form a new, autonomous “ladies chapter” for professional women only.
Fifty professional women in the fields of food, fine beverages, and hospitality finally hold the first investiture and post-ceremony reception and supper for Les Dames d’Escoffier New York at the French Consulate.
Four additional chapters are created: Washington, D.C. (1981), Chicago (1982), and Dallas and Philadelphia (1984).
All five chapter presidents meet in New York City to build the foundation for Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI). 1986 Gala dinner in the lobby of the NY Daily News building officially launches LDEI to celebrate the past, present, and future accomplishments of professional women in wine, food, and hospitality.
First annual LEDI International meeting in Philadelphia, launching a tradition of annual meetings hosted by rotating Les Dames cities.
Two awards inaugurated: the M.F.K. Fisher Award, designed to recognize and support a non-member woman in mid-career in significant work in culinary, beverage, hospitality and related fields; and the Grande Dame Award, an international award to recognize extraordinary accomplishment. Both are presented in alternating years during the annual meeting.
Chapter cities grow to 27, with more than 1,350 members in 17 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. The Colorado chapter forms in 2003 and now includes 42 members.