Seattle Culinary Academy receives $37,000 gift from Les Dames d’Escoffier

Seattle chapter donation will support female culinary students

Seattle – The Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central Community College has received a $37,000 donation from the local chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. The gift will establish a scholarship endowment for female culinary students, initially funding a full scholarship per year. This is the first culinary endowment ever received by the college.

Making the announcement, Les Dames Seattle chapter president Leslie Mackie, of Macrina Bakery, noted that the endowment is in keeping with one of the organization’s primary goals, to provide financial assistance to support the development of women in the profession. For more than a decade, the local chapter has awarded scholarships to culinary students throughout Washington state. The Seattle Culinary Academy endowment, however, is the largest donation ever made by Les Dames. In selecting the college for this honor, Mackie cited the Academy’s success in training students for work in the culinary industry.

“The Seattle Culinary Academy is a great educational facility and a wonderful liaison with the culinary community,” she stated. “They’re growing and doing very dynamic things here.”

Mackie also referred to her firsthand experience employing Academy graduates, noting, “I’ve been very impressed with them. They’ve had good training, and they’re realistic, creative, and open to learning. They’ve been prepared well.”

Said Seattle Central president Charles Mitchell, “This is an extraordinarily generous gift. We are so pleased that Les Dames d’Esocoffier has chosen to establish a legacy at Seattle Central that will benefit culinary students in perpetuity.”

According to Joy Gulmon-Huri, Seattle Culinary Academy program manager and local Les Dames vice president, completing the culinary arts program is a financial struggle for many students. She noted, “Most of our students are in their 30’s, with children and families. They’re training for a second career because this is their passion and something they’ve always wanted to do. This scholarship will help them achieve their goals and dreams.”

Les Dames d’Escoffier International is a leadership culinary society composed of women who have not only achieved professional success, but who contribute significantly to their communities as well. Membership is by invitation. The Seattle Chapter, with approximately 40 members, is a veritable who’s who of the Pacific Northwest food and culinary industry, and includes Doreen McTigue (Pagliaci), Christine Keff (Flying Fish and Fandango), Rebecca Bolin (Dessert Works), Gretchen Mathers (Gretchen’s Of Course), Jerilyn Brusseau (creator of Cinnabon secret recipe), Fran Bigelow (Fran’s Chocolates), Nancy Lazara (Briazz), Marcella Rosene (Pasta & Co.), and Sally MacArthur (Consolidated Restaurants).

In October, 2003, the local chapter will host the annual conference of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, which will bring members to Seattle from as far away as Australia.

Said Mackie, “This is an enormous honor and we’re looking forward to showing off the city and all its culinary talents.”

The Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central Community College is widely recognized for its tradition of outstanding culinary arts education. Since its inception 60 years ago, more than 5,000 students have received their culinary education at the college. Those same students today represent the backbone of the Pacific Northwest restaurant and food industry. The Academy’s Culinary Arts and Specialty Desserts & Breads Programs are accredited by the prestigious American Culinary Federation Educational Institute (ACFEI).

For additional information, contact the Seattle Culinary Academy at (206) 934-5424, or visit the website at