Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

Presidents of Les Dames d'Escoffier New York

Sharon Franke is a journalist and product tester who specializes in kitchen equipment of all kinds from ranges to rolling pins. Prior to beginning her freelance career, Sharon worked at the Good Housekeeping Institute for 30 years where she served as Director of the Kitchen Appliances Lab and was responsible for overseeing the testing and editorial coverage of everything related to cooking appliances and equipment. During this time she served as Good Housekeeping magazine’s spokesperson in her area of expertise. Sharon began her culinary career by working as a cook and chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. She did coursework in cooking, pastry making, and restaurant management at New York City College of Technology after receiving a BA in History from SUNY Albany. LDNY President: 2018 -

Joan Brower has worked in public relations for more than 35 years in which she has developed strategy and managed award-winning programs for fine wines and spirits, food, and hospitality/tourism brands around the world. She was a principal with The Dilenschneider Group, and senior vice president and co-director of the Lifestyle & Travel group of M Booth & Associates. She was previously senior managing director and co-director of Hill & Knowlton's Travel & Leisure Communications Group, directed the consumer marketing practice of GCI Group, and was PR manager of the European Travel Commission in NY. She was also an editor of Signature Magazine, the monthly Diners Club publication, reviewing restaurants and reporting on trends in food and wine. Her work has earned recognition from the Hospitality Sales Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) for which she has held chapter board positions. Ms. Brower earned a B.A. from Goucher College and M.A. from The George Washington University. LDNY President 2016-2018

Linda Lawry DWS, CWE, has been a part of the International Wine Center in New York since 1985 and has been the Director since 2000. The IWC offers the wine courses of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, the largest professional wine teaching organization in the world, offered in over 60 countries. Linda teaches these courses. She has also been a member of the faculty of New York University since 1997 in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. Linda earned the WSET Level 4 Diploma in 1997 and the Professional Certificate in Spirits in 2008. She is a Certified Wine Educator from the Society of Wine Educators and is a trained chef, having earned a Certificate with Honors from the New York Restaurant School. Linda recently completed eight years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Wine Educators. LDNY President: 2014-2016

 Margaret Happel Perry, until recently, headed a consulting company for new product development, editorial programs, and educational services. She has been food and nutrition editor of a number of women’s magazines including Ladies Home Journal and Redbook Magazine. She has authored eight books on food and nutrition, two of which have been Book-of-the Month Club selection plus an eight-volume series for Butterick Publishing. She has also been consulting editor to the twenty-two volume Time/Life series, Great Meals in Minutes. Her food industry career has included being the first woman vice-president at the Pillsbury Company, and an executive at Nabisco Brands. She was adjunct assistant professor in the Food Studies program at New York University for twenty-five years. Currently she is a Trustee Emeritus of the Culinary Institute of America, where she serves on the Educational Policy Committee. LDNY President 2012-2014

 Melanie Young is Founder of The Connected Table, Inc. a marketing, communications and social network for wine, spirits, food and lifestyle entities, that creates campaigns to connect regions, products, ideas and initiatives to both trade and consumer audiences. The Connected Table Dinner Series brings together people from all professions to network and share ideas. LDNY President 2010-2012

 Beth Allen, founder and president of Beth Allen Associates, Inc., is a creative author/producer of illustrated cookbooks and continuity cookbook series—recognized for their innovative, top-quality reliable recipes and appetizing food photographs. Known for her work in American-regional foods, she has produced cookbooks for prestigious publishers, including The Taunton Press, Rodale, Inc., the Readers’ Digest Association, and William Morrow. Previously, Ms. Allen was an executive at The Pillsbury Company, Campbell Soup Company and Corning Glass Works. She holds a BS in Food Science/Home Economics from Iowa State University and a MA from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University. Ms. Allen served as president of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance for three years and was inducted as a member of the New York Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier in 2002. LDNY President 2009-2010.

 Deborah Mintcheff is a highly respected cookbook editor who specializes in packaged books. Self-taught, she began her career working in the Redbook test kitchens as a freelance food editor and later as a garde manger at Tavern on the Green. One of the top food stylists in New York for over fourteen years, she went on to copyedit many prestigious cookbooks for a number of well-established publishing houses, among them Artisan, Ten Speed Press, Hearst Books, Assouline, Filippachi, and Wiley. She has worked as a consultant for Tyson Foods and Meow Mix, and developed and launched Biscuits 'n' Bones™, a limited-ingredient line of dog biscuits for dogs with food allergies. She has a BA from Brooklyn College and an MA from New York University. Ms. Mintcheff served as the president of the New York Women's Culinary Alliance for five years. She has been a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier since 2000. LDNY Copresident 2007-2008; President 2008-2009.

 Mary Ellen Griffin is currently a partner in Continental Consulting Group, the leader in below-the-line agency integration and search. Previously, as Vice President, Consumer Relationship Marketing/New Media, Diageo NA, Ms. Griffin led initiatives focused on brand building through communicating directly with consumers. Prior to joining Diageo, she was Director of Relationship Marketing, The Pillsbury Company, where she was responsible for the Internet Team, directing consumer e-mail and postal databases, as well as leading the overall effort to incorporate new media concepts into the strategic marketing mix. Ms. Griffin has also served as Global Director, Direct Marketing, Seagram Spirits and Wine Group, in addition to assuming brand management and other marketing roles there. A graduate of Wellesley College, she has an MBA from New York University and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University. LDNY Copresident 2006-2008.

 Shelley Clark is the president of Platform Communications, which is a marketing communications firm specializing in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Prior to founding Platform in 2007, Ms. Clark was a vice president at Lou Hammond & Associates (LH&A), one of the country’s leading luxury lifestyle–oriented public relations firms. During her tenure there, she utilized her food, beverage and hospitality expertise to launch new restaurant and hotel concepts as well as to build existing brands and rehabilitate the image of others. Before joining Lou Hammond & Associates, Ms. Clark was the director of marketing and public relations for Tavern on the Green, which she continues to represent. The author of three guidebooks to New York and London, Ms. Clark graduated from Kenyon College and completed a history program with honors at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen. LDNY Copresident 2006-2007.

 Emily Snyder is Director of Sales & Marketing for Mandarin Oriental, New York, a luxury Five-Star, Five-Diamond hotel. Ms. Snyder re-joined Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in early 2003 as Director of Sales for the New York flagship property when the hotel was still in its pre-opening stages. Previously in the early 1990s Ms. Snyder was with Mandarin Oriental’s regional sales office. Prior to her appoint at Mandarin Oriental, New York, she was with The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park where she was Director of Sales & Marketing through and beyond its pre-opening and opening stages. She was Director of Sales at The St Regis from 1995-2001 and joined LDNY in 2003. LDNY President 2005–2006.

 Alison Awerbuch is partner and executive vice president of Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships, one of the largest and most prestigious catering firms in the New York metropolitan area. Ms. Awerbuch oversees all food and beverage operations, as well as many other aspects of the business, for all of the company’s divisions, including Tappan Hill Mansion, Pier Sixty and the Lighthouse, The New York Botanical Gardens, Stage 6 at Steiner Studios, as well as the firm's off-premises division. She is actively involved in many organizations, including Les Dames d'Escoffier New York, The Food Bank of Westchester, and SHARE. LDNY President 2004-2005.

 Lila Gault is a career food and wine professional specializing in marketing and public relations. She has worked with farmers, food manufacturers, chefs, and cookbook authors throughout America for three decades. Ms. Gault is a former board member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and a founding board member of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food. She holds a Certificate in Fund-Raising and Nonprofit Management from New York University and lives in, and works from, her Chelsea loft. LDNY President 2002-2004.

 Jan Turner Hazard was the food and equipment editor for Ladies Home Journalfor sixteen years, prior to which she was associate food editor of Ladies Home Journal for nine years. Ms. Hazard is now a partner with Nancy Byal (a Dame in the Kansas City chapter), with whom she writes about kitchen equipment as it relates to food preparation on their Website www.kitchengadgetgals.com. They also contribute to Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Ms. Hazard has been a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier since 1980. LDNY President 2000-2002.

 Previous Presidents

Penelope Pate-Greene
Abigail Kirsch 
Ella Elvin
Beverly Barbour
Melissa Séré
Rozanne Gold
Saralie Slonsky
Jeanne Voltz Mac Knight
Mary Lyons
Irena Chalmers
Sylvia Schur Domoto
Carol Brock

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