The BC Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is an organization of women who have not only shown leadership in the culinary, beverage and hospitality industry, they have, and continue to contribute significantly to their communities.
Since incorporation over 25 years ago, Les Dames d’Escoffier has followed its mandate to elevate the profession through education, granting scholarships to women with a desire to begin their training, or seek to refine their professional skills.
Three such Comox Valley women, Sharon Janzen, Yolanda MacLaren and Katie Phelan were recently recognized when they were awarded scholarships based on merit, ability, commitment and passion in their chosen fields.
Janzen followed her passion for baking, when she went from selling her baked goods from the trunk of her car, to achieving Vendor of the Year at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market with Alderlane Farmhouse Bakery.
“My scholarship led me to France with the Vancouver Island University Baking Program,” said Janzen. “It was an educational opportunity of a lifetime and a dream come true to taste, touch and experience the ultimate croissant.”
The Les Dames d’Escoffier scholarship has allowed MacLaren to continue with the Culinary Program at North Island College, as she pursues her goal to own her own company.
“I have worked in the food industry for many years and I’m excited to continue to hone my skills through professional education”, states MacLaren.
After living in Italy for seven years, where she taught graduate courses in Italian food culture, Phelan, now at Beaufort Winery in the Comox Valley, is happily discussing the virtues of Blattner hybrids.
“With my scholarship, I am realizing my ambition to keep learning, sometimes formally and sometimes not, about wine and oenology by enrolling with The Wine & Spirit Education Trust,” said Phelan.
Comox Valley Dames Lesley Stav and Gaetane Palardy joined the three women at the award’s ceremony.