A photo with Grande Dame Carol Brock, Founder of Les Dames d’Escoffier

What a delightful honor to become a member of Les Dames d’Escoffiers (LDEI) and to attend the annual conference and meet the founder, Grande Dame Carol Brock. LDEI is a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality with 40 chapters around the world whose mission is to share knowledge, support members, provide leadership, educational opportunities and philanthropic events for the community at large.  The world is truly a very small place.  At the conference, I reconnected with Chef Gena Berry, a high school friend.  We haven’t seen each other for almost 40 years!

Chef Gena Berry

The opportunity to feature Grandes Dames Carol Brock and Lidia Bastianich on Kitchen Chat was truly a highlight of my culinary journey. Chef Lidia is an inspiration to so many professional and home chefs, and she has expanded our palates with her delicious Italian recipes via cookbooks, restaurants,TV shows, products and of course Eataly.  She says,  “Being an immigrant, I never felt like an inventive chef, I felt like a conduit. I came from a culture which is Italian, rich in its culinary culture, and I was adopted by America. So here I have another family.  I came here at twelve, so America is my home.  I feel so blessed to be a conduit from my native culture to my adoptive culture.”

Here are Chef Lidia Bastianich’s tips for the home chef:

  1. Plan a theme for a party.  Don’t try to please everyone with serving too many types of beverages.  Feature a festive cocktail along with red and white wines.
  2. Think about the style of the party and how many people will be there.  Buffet style?  Think about an antipasto platter, and you don’t even need to cook.  A sit down party? Consider family style and make sure you have doubles of each dish to place at both ends of the table.
  3. Consider making baked pasta.

As Chef Lidia Bastianich says, “There is no better place than to be at the table full of good food, whatever that mixture of ethnicity is, with family and friends. Share food, and share your emotions.”  Click on here to purchase Chef Lidia’s latest cookbook.  It’s a great holiday gift for yourself or the home chef.


What are your favorite themes for a party?

Savor the day!

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