Meet the Legacy Award Winners


In 2017, six Legacy Awards were presented by Les Dames d'Escoffier International, with generous support by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. True to its mission when established in 2009, the program continues to provide targeted mentorships for women in the food, fine beverage and hospitality industries who have a minimum of four years of industry experience. This year, mentorships will be offered in New England, New York city, New Orleans, California, Washington and Hawaii. 

The 2017 Legacy Winners are...

Kellie Thorn — Fine Beverage and Hospitality Category/Atlanta
“How fortunate I am to have spent a week in Guadalajara with Araceli Ramos. Watching her navigate her career and community involvement with tenacity and grace was nothing short of awe-inspiring and motivating. In addition, I was allowed the opportunity to connect to a culture and people that reaffirmed my passion for genuine hospitality. I am forever grateful for this experience.”

Hosted by Dame Araceli Ramos, Director of Public Relations at Jose Cuervo’s Tequila Distillery in Guadalajara, Mexico, the first producer of Tequila in the world and Mundo Cuervo, their hospitality center  
The Experience - discover the heart and soul of Mexico while learning about all facets of agave farming, distillation and aging of tequila, including the myriad hospitality industries of the iconic global brand of Jose Cuervo
The Winner – Kellie Thorn is a celebrated beverage director for Hugh Acheson in Atlanta, GA and a mixologist at Empire State South, known for its celebrated Southern food and drink.

Paige Bloskey — Culinary Category/Seattle
“To see a female chef in the James Beard House kitchen each night is a testament to the strides and changes that are occurring in the industry.This experience nurtured the passion that I have always had for my career, and provided me mentorship from successful women who shared their stories and insights.”

Hosted by Dame Susan Ungaro, President of The James Beard Foundation headquartered in New York City, which is dedicated to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone.
The Experience – the unique opportunity to spend a week at James Beard’s historic NYC townhouse–home of the Dean of American Cookery–working alongside multiple guest chefs during their weekly showcase dinners 
The Winner – Chef Bloskey is the first female head chef of Farestart, the game-changing nonprofit culinary training and catering program in the Pacific Northwest.

Jenny Dorsey — Wine Category/New York City
“Seeing an industry leader like Wente during harvest season was eye-opening for me. When faced with numerical descriptions, the thought of harvesting millions of grapes and producing thousands of bottles seems impossible. Being on the ground and seeing the process happen one truck-load or fermentation chamber at a time opened my eyes to the real-life, passionate work of the Wente family in ensuring its wine legacy lives on every year.”

Hosted by Dames Carolyn Wente and Amy Hoopes of Wente Family Estates, America’s oldest continuously operated family-owned winery 
The Experience – a week-long immersion in the exploration of winemaking at its best while discovering the secrets of Wente’s award-winning wine-country hospitality
The Winner – Chef Dorsey, an award winning, innovative chef consultant in Manhattan, will have the opportunity to expand her wine appreciation and knowledge in winegrowing in Livermore Valley, one of California’s oldest wine regions. 

Ann Brydle – Wine Category/ Victoria, BC
“All of the women I met at Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Dames in Seattle were so inspiring and kind. They sparked a renewed passion and enthusiasm for my career! I am so thankful for the connections I made and the invaluable lessons learned. This Legacy Award experience has left a lasting and positive impact on me for which I will always be grateful.”

Hosted by Dame Kari Leitch, Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodville, WA, the oldest winery in Washington State
The Experience – the opportunity to learn all about the facets of the winery at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s two locations and their popular wine tourism industry–from vineyard to bottle to vineyard concerts 
The Winner – A wine scholar and educator, Ann Brydle successfully manages Cascadia, a specialty wine and liquor store that focuses on products of the Pacific Northwest.

Shelley Robinson — Farm-to-Table Category/Edmonton, AB
“Being involved in a successful farm-to-table business venture under the tutelage of Dame Barbara Hanley has restored my faith that sustainable food production can and does exist. I’m extremely honoured I was introduced to every aspect of operations, feeding and milking cows, learning to make all three cheeses and even attending the New England Cheese Guild board meeting. I will feel forever humbled by the passion and craftsmanship the Santos brothers dedicate their lives to. I’m grateful to say I have found I lifetime friend and mentor in Barbara Hanley.”

Hosted by Dame Barbara Hanley with the team at Shy Brothers Farm, a New England artisanal farmstead cheese company, located on the coast of Massachusetts 
The Experience – to discover first hand what it takes to produce an award-winning cheese, working side-by-side for a week with the team at Shy Brothers Farm, founded in 2006 by Barbara, her husband and the four Santos brothers, third generation dairy farmers
The Winner – Chef Robinson, an executive chef at the Grand Villa Casino in Edmonton and a Chopped Canada winner, is eager for new experiences that will satisfy her wish to understand cheese making up close, as well as enhance her passion for mentoring young chefs. 

Vanessa Driscoll Bialobreski — Farm-to-Sea-to-Table-to-Journalism Category/Columbia, SC
“The education and experiences gifted to me by the New England Chapter were so abundant, I can only hope to repay it through my work supporting the sustainable food system in my area. I was able to look through the eyes of successful women business leaders, farmers, bakers, writers, chefs, restaurateurs, a fishmonger, and butcher. All who have a passion for sustainability and work in male-dominated fields and have with their passion and drive succeeded tremendously. The opportunity to learn from close to 40 Dames with undivided attention and the freedom to ask all the questions you want is truly something that will affect me forever.”

Hosted by Dame Christine Burns Rudalevige and esteemed members of the New England chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier 
The Experience  – a week-long whirlwind tour through the New England Food System, overnighting on a fishing vessel, exploring food hubs, farms and more
The Winner -  Vanessa Bialobreski, founder of Farm to Table Events, helps orchestrate dinners and events to bring the Columbia community together over locally grown food.

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