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San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier Announces New Entrepreneur Grant and Mentorship Program

Wednesday, September 06, 2023 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier Announces New Entrepreneur Grant and Mentorship Program

    Philanthropic organization of women leaders in food, fine beverage, and hospitality will foster success of two female business owners through financial support and mentorship

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA, September 6, 2023—The San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI-SF) is now accepting applications for its first Female Entrepreneurship Grant and Mentorship Program, designed to support and nurture aspiring local, female-owned businesses in the food, culinary and hospitality industry.

    The inaugural 2023 program will present two grants to SF Bay Area-based business owners identifying as women who are not current members of Les Dames d’Escoffier. This is an exciting opportunity to help advance successful candidates’ businesses through cash awards and ongoing mentorship, as well provide access for relationship building and networking with LDEI-SF’s extensive and thriving membership.

    “We are thrilled to launch this important program to support female-owned businesses in our local Bay Area communities,” says Mary Gassen, co-chair of LDEI-SF’s Business Grant Committee. “We know too well the obstacles that females face when establishing and growing a business, especially in the culinary and hospitality worlds. We look forward to helping them expand and enhance their business with cash awards and mentorship opportunities with our highly esteemed committee members."

    The two 2023 grant recipients will receive a cash award in the amount of $5,000 and one year of mentoring meetings. Grant mentors are esteemed members of the LDEI-SF Business Grant Committee who are themselves successful business owners and entrepreneurs: Mary Gassen (Co-Chair), Emily Luchetti (Co-Chair), Maryam Ahmed, Linda Carucci, Sue Conley, Duskie Estes, Janet Griggs, Marsha McBride, and Dominica Rice-Cisneros.

    The application requires that specific criteria are met to ensure that the grants support local, women-owned businesses:  

    • The business must have been in operation since January 1, 2022;
    • The business must be female-owned and located in, or primarily serving, the San Francisco Bay Area;
    • The business must have less than $1M in annual revenue;
    • Applicants must provide a profit and loss statement for 2022 and another for 2023 year to date.

    Applicants must also submit a 500-word essay or five-minute video stating who they are, what their business provides, and how they plan to use the grant to further their business goals.

    Five selected finalists will participate in a virtual interview with the LDEI-SF Business Grant Committee, who will then make their final selection of the two grant recipients.

    For a complete list of requirements and to apply, please review the application page on the LDEI-SF website.

    For questions about the application process and criteria, contact LDEI-SF Business Grant Committee Co-Chair Mary Gassen with any



    About Les Dames d’Escoffier International

    LDEI is an international organization of women leaders who create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, beverage, and hospitality fields. To do this, 2,500 members in 43 chapters worldwide provide leadership, educational opportunities, and philanthropy within their communities. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @lesdamesintl, and LinkedIn.


    About Les Dames d’Escoffier International – San Francisco Chapter

    In 1989, nineteen powerhouse women in the culinary world founded the San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International to bring the mission of LDEI to Northern California. The membership includes restaurateurs, professional chefs, bakers, caterers, cookbook authors, food journalists, farmers, food retailers, event planners, winemakers, wine industry professionals, food publicists, culinary educators, and hospitality executives. More information on the San Francisco chapter of LDEI can be accessed at Follow our chapter activities on Instagram @lesdamessf and Facebook.


    Media Contacts:

    Kimberly Noelle Charles, DipWSET

    Communications Committee Chair, Les Dames d'Escoffier San Francisco Chapter



    Katie Canfield, DipWSET

    Communications Committee, Les Dames d'Escoffier San Francisco Chapter


Les Dames d' Escoffier Int'l-San Francisco

Les Dames d’Escoffier International, San Francisco Chapter, is a 501 (c)(3) (EIN 20-5341764) Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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