Holiday Entertaining? Les Dames Has You Covered

Helen Mitternight

Maybe this is the year the family is coming to you for the holidays. Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to host the boss.


Times like these call for something beyond free wine glasses with the logos of local festivals.


The first-annual Les Dames Culinary Academy has you covered!


Les Dames – actually, Les Dames d’Escoffier International -- are a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries and the Charleston chapter is offering a whole day of workshops on November 11 to help you up your entertaining game. 

Session topics include:


  • How to Pull off a Holiday Dinner without Stress with Nathalie Dupree, award-winning television personality and author – Guests can learn about stress-free holiday cooking and entertaining, have a few laughs and garner some practical tips for dealing with guests.


  • How To: Holiday Baking with Kelly Wilson, Andrea Upchurch and Michelle Diminish – Three of Charleston’s most celebrated pastry chefs will offer tips and recipes that will delight friends and family throughout the holiday season.


  • Gifts from the Kitchen with Danielle Wecksler, culinary instructor/stylist and social media expert – Hosts seeking delicious and thoughtful gift ideas should look no further than their kitchen. This session offers gift ideas with instruction, tips for packaging and a special takeaway treat that is Pinterest worthy.


Setting the Table with Paige Crone, founder of Charleston Protocol Y’all; Tanya Gurrieri, owner of Salthouse Catering; and Emma Lesesne-Booth, senior catering and event manager for Duvall Events –During this session, guests will learn exciting entertaining tips for the holidays and be inspired to break out their “good stuff” to create beautiful tablescapes.



  • How To: Cooking the Holiday Meal with Charleston Grill Executive Chef Michelle Weaver and Magnolias Executive Chef Kelly Franz –  This session focuses on “Getting the Party started,” whether it’s a cocktail social or prelude to a dinner party. Guests can learn how to create the WOW factor without making themselves nuts. They can also learn confidence-booster skills and techniques for maximum results.



  •  Last but not least-  Holiday Drinks and Wines with Sarah O’Kelly, wine director for Edmund’s Oast and General Manager for new beer and wine store, Edmund’s Oast Exchange – The day will culminate with a festive cocktail party, featuring premium wines and holiday-themed cocktails – Charleston-style.



The cost for the day is $175 and includes the sessions, tastings and samples at every session, a Continental breakfast, boxed lunch, gift bag and recipes, as well as an Artisan Marketplace, where you can get a head start on holiday shopping. 


Les Dames Culinary Academy will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tickets are available here. Parking is complimentary. The Culinary Institute of Charleston is located at 66 Columbus St.

To view the local Charleston chapter of Les Dames, click here.


***Blog by Helen Mitternight, photos provided by Les Dames***