Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

President's Letters

Dear Dames,

Happy new year to all of you and your families!

I’m incredibly honored to be starting off 2019 as your President. Thank you for your trust in me and please count on me to listen to you, respond to you, and strive to make Les Dames d’Escoffier New York an even stronger organization. However, I can’t function single-handedly and am thrilled to have Dames Ronnie Campbell as Vice President, Bonnie Leblang as Secretary, Jen O’Flanagan as Treasurer, and a dynamic new Board, working right along with me. And naturally, I’m depending on all of you to be there with us, sharing your ideas and volunteering your talents to help us achieve our goals.

My number one hope is that I can be responsive to what you want LDNY to be. For the last 2 years as Vice President, I’ve been paying close attention to what you’ve been saying and I hear loud and clear that you would like us to be more involved in some of the issues that our industries have been confronting, including inequality in women’s wages, power abuses, and food insecurity. Your Board of Directors will be exploring ways to increase our advocacy but I urge you to bring areas of need and opportunities to participate to our attention. 

We do however, plan to continue our key mission which is to provide scholarships and mentoring to women who are just beginning their careers in the culinary professions. One of the best things you can do to support this initiative is volunteer to work on The Next Big Bite. Do you know that last year’s event raised close to $50,000? With your participation, we hope to do even better in 2019. And in addition to raising money, The Next Big Bite helps to develop our reputation as thought leaders and a force to be reckoned with in the world of food and wine. Dame Nancy Hopkins is chairing this year’s event but she needs all the help we can offer. Please contact either me or Nancy to be part of this incredibly important committee.      

Of course, we still want to be an organization that networks, has fun, and eats well! We’re kicking off the year with a very special program atDame Suzi O’Rourke’s Cooking by the Book. On January 14,  Shin Kim who studied under the Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan at Chunjinam hermitage will be giving us a hands-on introduction to Korean Buddhist Temple Cooking. With its tradition of mindful eating and minimizing waste, it’s a perfect cuisine for the new year. And yes, we’ll be sipping wine and enjoying a wonderful buffet. Only a few spots still remain so I encourage you to sign up soon HERE.

I want to give a huge shout-out to Joan Brower for her leadership over the last two years. She brought LDNY to a whole new level of professionalism and I’m lucky that she’ll be on the Board to give me her guidance over the next 12 months. In addition, I want to thank all of the outgoing Board members and particularly Deborah Mintcheff, who has served as Parliamentarian for 4 years and contributes immeasurably to LDNY. Deborah too will continue to give me her sage counsel during the next transitional year.

Please take the time to reach out to me and let me know what we can do for you and what you can do for LDNY. Together, we can support each other and make a difference in the food, wine, hospitality communities. I can’t wait to see what the year brings and hope to see you soon.
Wishing you all good health, happiness, and an abundance of delicious food and fabulous wines in 2019.


Dame Sharon Franke
Les Dames d’Escoffier New York


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