The dinner is designed to recognize talented women making a difference in the culinary field. This year’s honoree is Ann Karlen who lives and breathes what it means to be “farm-to-table,” by creating a community of farmers and food artisans to encourage the use of local produce and goods. Karlen succeeds last year’s winner Chef Esther McManus, a culinary pioneer and local food legend.
Guests and friends of the honoree will feast on a locally sourced communal meal created by talented chef-members of LDEI Philadelphia, paired with luscious wines crafted on the property. Funds raised by the event will help to fund scholarships for women entering the culinary field.
Philadelphia has a storied culinary history, and professional women have been integral to the development of restaurants, catering companies, farms, and food production since the city was founded. In order to honor this heritage, Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia developed Outstanding In Her Field in 2016 to recognize a Philadelphia-area woman for her accomplishments in the food, beverage or hospitality industry.
“We are thrilled to return to Inn at Grace Winery for our 2nd Annual Outstanding in Her Field Farm Dinner,” said Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia Event Co-Chair and President Natanya DiBona. “Our annual dinner an incredible event that brings together chefs, producers, and foodies alike in a beautiful setting among the vines of this famous vineyard. It celebrates the accomplishments of a pioneering woman in food, like Ann Karlen, while raising scholarship money to support the next generation of women in food.”
As a true food advocate, Ann helped to create Fair Food, a non-profit organization formed in 2000 to build a local food economy for the Delaware Valley region by connecting family farms to the Philadelphia marketplace. In 2003, Karlen opened the Fair Food Farmstand, Philadelphia’s first all-local food retail grocery store, in the Reading Terminal Market. Karlen was a founding member of the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council from 2011–2016, where she served on the Good Food Procurement sub-committee. In 2013, she worked with a team of industry professionals to develop curriculum for a Food Hub Management Certificate Program, and in 2015 she joined the faculty at University of Vermont as Director of the program.
Patrons will have the rare opportunity to feast on farm-to-table specialties using farm products from Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia’s first all-local food retail grocery store founded by Karlen herself. The area’s most innovative chefs will saute and sear a variety of culinary creations such as Pocono Rainbow Trout from Chef Jon Jividen and Michelle Leff, braised brisket with fall fruit from Lynn Buono at Feast Your Eyes Catering and Eileen Talanian, cookbook writer and former owner of an American Kitchen is making Jam from the recent blackberry harvest and last year’s honoree, Chef Esther McManus will be whipping up her famous croissants and palmiers.
Other area chefs such as Chef Jacquie Peccina Kelly from Taste 4 Travel and Michele Haines from Spring Mill Cafe will be showcasing their culinary talents. No meal would be complete without dessert from Pastry Chef Marie Stecher of Walnut Hill College serving up individual cakes for all and certified organic coffee from local small batch coffee roaster, Golden Valley Farms.
Outstanding in Her Field promises to not only honor Karlen and raise funds for Les Dames’ Educational, Scholarship, and Green Tables initiatives, it will also shine a light on the many talented local women working in the culinary, hospitality, farming, beverage and educational fields. And of course, it will be a lot of fun savoring what the Dames enjoy most, “Je seme a tous vents.”
Proceeds from the event will support LDEI’s scholarship programs that offer aid to women pursuing careers in culinary arts, hospitality, fine beverage, and agriculture. Scholarships are awarded annually to women of all ages who are enrolled in accredited programs in the Philadelphia region. For more information, go to http://www.lesdamesphilly.org/scholarships/.