Programmes & Partners

Women in Food, Fine Beverages and Hospitality

As a registered not-for-profit organisation, the London chapter of LDEI is proud of its commitment to philanthropy.

In addition to continued funding of the Kate Ray Memorial Bursary for Patisserie, LDE London is always on the lookout for like-minded groups whose mission supports women in the world of gastronomy which it can support either financially or via mentoring.

In 2023 LDE London fully funded a bursary for a student attending the accredited Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking.

Fund raising events are held throughout the year, many being small, member-only dinners or gatherings. In addition, LDE London hosts Edible London biannually: a 4-day extravaganza of London’s culinary offerings for our US sister Dames which helps to strengthen our transatlantic bonds as well as add funds.

LDE London welcomes donations of any size – please use our contact page to get in touch, or simply click on the Donate button below.

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You can also nominate us as part of the PayPal Giving Fund

The Kate Ray Memorial Bursary for Patisserie

This fund was established by Les Dames London in remembrance of Kate Ray, a New Zealander, following her early death from cancer in 2011.  At a time when there were few women in their kitchens, Kate was a highly esteemed Roux chef, working alongside Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in the 80’s.  She was particularly talented in pastry work and came to head Roux Restaurants Patisserie which provided viennoiserie and desserts for many London restaurants.  She was known also for her specialised marzipan work and together with Michel Snr made a spectacular cake for Prince Charles’ 40th birthday!

She returned to Auckland and set up a pastry business supplying many restaurants and airlines before then turning her amazing attention to detail to a Fine Art degree where she was top student in each year.  A multi-talented woman remembered fondly by her culinary peers in London.

Past recipients of the bursary include Hannah Cameron who spent a week at the Waterside Inn with Alain Roux and his team, and Jess Courtis who worked at William Curley Chocolatier honing her chocolate skills.

Two students of the Blue School’s Catering Programme in Wells, were assisted in joining an exchange with the Universita dei Sapori in Perugia.

Legacy Awards

LDEI augments the philanthropic work of its chapters by way of three awards: the Legacy Awards, the MFK Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing and the Grande Dame Award. All of these awards are open to members and non-members.

Legacy Awards are supported by the Julia Child Foundation and were established in 2009. They are aimed at offering mentorship opportunities for professional women in the culinary arts. In 2017 these include six unique week-long experiences: working at the Jose Cuervo Tequila Distillery; assisting at the James Beard House in New York; exploring aspects of winemaking at Wente Estates in California and at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington state; learning about cheesemaking at Shy Brothers Farm in Massachusetts and a farm-to-sea-to- table experience in New England.

Up to $2000 in travel and accommodation expenses are reimbursed and each Award-winner is invited to attend the LDEI annual conference with expenses paid. Further information is available on the website – applications close on April 20th 2017!

MFK Fisher Award

MFK Fisher Awards for Excellence in Food Writing honour the legacy of the much lauded culinary writer who died in 1992. There are 9 cash awards – three in each category of Book, Print (Newspaper or Magazine) and Online – with one of the three category winners receiving the Grand Prize. Original works must be written in English and published in 2016 and there is a nominal entry fee. Further information is available on the website – closing date for entries is March 31st 2017.

The honorary Grande Dame Award is open to nominations from all 44 chapters of LDEI and is awarded biannually. Candidates are women with exceptional contributions within the worlds of food, wine and other fine beverages, hospitality, nutrition, and the arts of the table or other fields that relate to these disciplines. The title of Grande Dame may be awarded to members and non-members of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Further information is available on the website