The Charleston Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality, presents NOTHING LIKE LES DAMES WEEK! Our own Hidden F&B Host Helen Mitternight (pictured above far right with check) is an esteemed member and will be participating in the programming. Episode 12 of our monthly podcast featuring her chat with Cru Cafe's Rachel Brumenstock is available here.
What Is It?
Dame-hosted events from October 16-20 of cooking demonstrations, wine and cocktail tastings, and food and beverage pairings with some of Charleston’s most acclaimed female chefs, sommeliers and hosts. From a biscuit demo with Carey Morey from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit to afternoon tea with Grand Dame Nathalie Dupree, guests will enjoy these at various locations around Charleston. Want to go? Tickets are available for purchase online at dames.brownpapertickets.com.
“We are so excited to announce LDEI Charleston’s first-ever Nothing Like Les Dames Week!,” says LDEI Charleston President Carly Paume. “We can’t wait to introduce Charleston locals and visitors to our outstanding group of female industry leaders doing what we do best: cooking, hosting guests and having fun! And the best part is that the proceeds will go to help young women who need a hand getting started in our industry.”
A portion of the proceeds will benefit its annual signature charity, Fresh Future Farm, and help provide scholarships to area women pursuing culinary and hospitality degrees or advanced education in the field. Since 2011, the LDEI Charleston Chapter has awarded nearly $65,000 in scholarships.
Heading in from out of town? The Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown is offering discounted rates — only $199 per night for a standard guest room. That's a savings of $150 per night when booked with this link. Make sure the “LDEI19” box is checked before payment.
What's Happening When?
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16
Afternoon Tea, Nathalie Dupree’s Historic Downtown Home
As if still paying homage to our mother country, Charlestonians are steeped in the love of tea. Guests can enjoy afternoon tea with Grande Dame Nathalie Dupree and Lowcountry hostess Paige Crone, founder of Charleston Protocol. In Nathalie’s drawing room at her home in historic downtown Charleston, guests will savor sips along with her homemade tea biscuits, among other goodies, while learning about the history of taking tea, tea protocol and tales of tea through the ages. Don’t mess with a Southerner and their tea; after all it was taxation on tea that helped fuel the Revolution.
Cs the Day Happy Hour, 159 Rutledge Avenue
Tanya Gurrieri of Salthouse Catering & Events, along with Emma Lesesne-Booth of Duvall Catering are teaming up with cocktail influencers Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves, aka the Cocktail Bandits, for a special happy hour of mouthwatering appetizers and creative craft cocktails featuring vodka from Cathead Vodka.
Chocolate & Beer Pairings, Christophe Artisan Chocolatier
6:00-7:30 p.m. & 8:00-9:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17
Biscuit Demo, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
Mastermind behind Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Carrie Morey will lead guests through a biscuit-making demo and tasting with cookbooks, biscuit mix and freshly baked biscuits to take home.
Ice Cream & Cookies, 159 Rutledge Avenue
Take ice cream from Cirsea’s Owner (and International Gelato Ambassador) Kelly Chu and cookies from locally-owned Grey Ghost Bakery and what do you get? Maybe ice cream sandwiches, maybe just plain delicious! There may or may not be alcohol y’all! It IS happy hour, after all!
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18
Wine & Bites with Three Dames, 159 Rutledge Avenue
Fresh from years as executive chef at the famous Magnolia’s, Kelly Franz is working with Celebrity Chef Mike Lata these days. She brings her culinary skills to the beautiful 159 Rutledge Avenue along with two friends: Executive Chef of Ms. Rose’s Fine Food & Cocktails Amanee Neriouz and Executive Pastry Chef at The Obstinate Daughter and Beardcat’s Sweet Shop Andrea Upchurch. Amanee will be serving up delicious savory bites while Andrea will be dishing out sweet treats to end the evening. Guests will also be treated to sparkling wine and cocktails throughout the evening.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19
Supper, Stories and Sunset on the Ashley, Susan Wigley’s Home
Guests will enjoy cocktails and conversation with Nathalie Dupree and her husband, writer and scholar Jack Bass, on a beautiful dock as the sun sets on the Ashley River. A signature cocktail, wine and Lowcountry nibbles will be provided by Dames Donna Gustafson and Lisa Buzzelli who teaches at the Culinary Institute of Charleston. A Lowcountry Boil, aka Frogmore Stew, will be cooked outdoors and eaten traditionally on the banks of the river, before capping off the festive autumn evening with a signature Lowcountry dessert from Wildflour Pastry.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20
No Whining, All Winning: Blind Tasting 101 at Edmund’s Oast Exchange
Famed Certified Sommelier Sarah O’Kelly will lead guests through a blind wine tasting at her charming Edmund’s Oast Exchange. Attendees will leave knowing more about wine and the regions where grapes are grown, with the option to take home some of the great vino they sampled at 15 percent off.
For the Love of Duke’s, Robin Griffith’s Home
Duke's Mayonnaise has long been the mayo of choice in homes and restaurant kitchens across the South, and it turns out the versatile condiment can do more than just make the perfect tomato sandwich. Guests will join Dame and Food Stylist Ashley Strickland Freeman as she shares a sneak peak of recipes and tips from her new cookbook coming out next summer: “The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook: An Ode to the Perfect Condiment.” Guests will sample recipes from the cookbook, hear about the background of Duke's which originated in Greenville, S.C., learn about the history of mayonnaise in the South from Professor David Shields and take home some Duke's swag bags.
Who Are Les Dames d’Escoffier?
LDEI is an international organization of women leaders who create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, fine beverage, and hospitality professions. Over 2,400 members in 43 chapters provide leadership, educational opportunities, and host philanthropic events within their communities. For more information, visit LDEI.org, find and like them on Facebook @LDEIdamesdescoffier, and watch the video above.