On Monday, April 25th members of Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Chapter gathered at Culinary Capers Catering for a very special evening – the organization’s annual Scholarship Reception. “This event is culmination of our volunteer efforts through the previous year” says Chapter President Bonita Jo Magee. “We spend the year raising funds so that we can financially support women who wish to further their culinary careers through taking various culinary, hospitality and beverage programs or courses.”
This year the application deadline was February 28th and the organization received a record number of applicants (48) resulting in 33 recipients for a total value in excess of $24,000. Scholarships are open to any BC woman who is either already in a professional culinary/hospitality career or wishes to pursue further studies in a culinary profession. All scholarships are awarded based on merit, ability, commitment and passion, and may range in value between $300 and $2000 depending on funds available, program requirements and approved applicants. Each application is reviewed and evaluated by the Les Dames’ Scholarship Committee. This year that committee was co-chaired by Dames Kathy McAree (Travel with Taste, Victoria) and Chef Taryn Wa (Savoury Chef Foods, Vancouver).
Two types of scholarships are offered – sponsored scholarships to a specific course or educational institution (The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Vancouver Pastry Training Centre, Cacao Barry Chocolate Scholarship, Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver) and monetary scholarships to assist the recipient to attend the course/institution of her choice. Money is raised throughout the year through events such as Les Dames Summerdine (August 10), Les Dames Gala (this year, on Sept. 23 and honouring New York Chapter member and celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich), our Wall of Wine at Vancouver Magazine’s Big Night (February). Proceeds from all these endeavours go to Les Dames BC Scholarship Fund.
Last year, past Gala honouree and legendary restaurateur, Chef John Bishop donated a $5,000 scholarship. The inaugural recipient from that fund is Anna Romeyn Ion who will use her $2,000 award to complete her Master of Arts in Tourism Management at Royal Roads University, where she has been focusing on culinary tourism.
If the achievements of past recipients are anything to go by, BC’s culinary scene will greatly benefit from this new crop of scholarship recipients.
Les Dames D’Escoffier is an international association dedicated to supporting the advancement of women in the hospitality and culinary domains as well as fostering industry excellence through educational and charitable activities. For information on Les Dames D’Escoffier BC Chapter and updates on its various events and programs please visit: www.lesdames.ca Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @LesDamesBC
For information on Les Dames d’Escoffier International: www.idei.org