In 2019, the Sacramento chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier distributed $11,800 in scholarships and honoraria. Here’s the breakdown: We gave two $2,000 scholarships to students at the Center for Land-Based Learning’s Farm Academy; three $1,500 scholarships to students in American River College’s culinary arts program; three $600 awards to sommeliers to pay for the certified sommelier exam; a $500 grant to a butcher; and a $1,000 honorarium to an ARC student. In December, we will give $2,000 to a top graduate of St. John’s employment-training program to be used for housing.
In 2020, we will add to our scholarships by giving $1,000 to a cheesemonger to help her attend the American Cheese Society’s conference in Portland, and we will continue our support of St. John’s with housing grants to three graduates of the employment-training program, which teaches women how to work in a restaurant setting.
Are you curious to see how scholarships from Les Dames affect the women who receive them? Here are updates from several recent winners:
Susie Gagliardi, Farm Academy Scholarship Winner
“So far, the Farm Academy has been a great experience. Before starting, I felt like I had no idea how to go about starting or managing a business, and it’s been really exciting both learning what I need to do and realizing that I really knew more than I thought! It has been fascinating to visit so many other farms in the area and realizing that there is definitely more than one way to have a successful farm. I’m currently working on my business plan and looking forward to getting my plants going early next year. Thank you again for the generous support from Les Dames d’Escoffier. I am so grateful to have an extra boost in getting my farming career started!”
Susie Gagliardi, Farm Academy scholarship winner
LaToya Byrd, Culinary Scholarship Winner
“I would first like to say it’s an honor to receive the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Scholarship for American River College from the Sacramento chapter. Thank you! Because of Les Dames d’Escoffier’s generosity, I am now able to purchase my knife covers, a knife bag, a new uniform, some school supplies, books and fees. I am also able to complement my education and interest in culinary skills and dietary cooking with classes from Paulette Bruce at Good Eats Cooking School, which includes Keto cooking and baking classes, a French cooking class and a wine-pairing class.
This scholarship means I have a chance to progress and move forward in the food and hospitality industry with continued hard work and dedication. Again, thank you and I look forward to meeting the members in the future.”LaToya Byrd, American River College Scholarship Winner
Rita Parale, Culinary Scholarship Winner
“I am so grateful for this award because it allows me to pursue my career as a pastry chef. This money will only be used for educational purposes and will allow me to purchase equipment, books and culinary classes. I am determined to learn as much as possible to be successful in the baking and pastry industry. I plan to attend the Institute of Culinary Education in Pasadena in 2020. My ultimate goal is to work in a high-end restaurant, where I can use my talent and experience for plated desserts. Thank you for selecting me for this prestigious award. I am truly honored.”Rita Parale, American River College Scholarship Winner
Taylor Davy, Sommelier Scholarship Winner
“I just returned from San Mateo [for the Court of Master Sommeliers exam] and am so happy to report that I have come back with a pin! I just wanted to say thank you to Les Dames for providing me with the scholarship to make this possible. My gratitude is truly immeasurable. I cannot wait to continue my wine studies and am already looking up certified courses to get my next level by the end of the year. Again, I cannot express how much it means that Les Dames believed in me.Taylor Davy, Sommelier Scholarship Winner
Aleksa Davila, Farm Academy Scholarship Winner
Aleksa Davila, Farm Academy Scholarship Winner
“By receiving the LDEI scholarship, I have been able to accomplish incredible things such as learn how to drive a nice Kubota tractor and put together a career plan for the next few years. I am very lucky to be graduating from the California Farm Academy Beginning Farmer Training Program. I now have the learning experience I need to continue my future farming endeavors. For now, I will be saving up money to buy a camper van/Class B vehicle so my partner and I will be able to travel and work on farms across the country, finally landing back home in Florida. There, we aspire to own land and build a farm in the future. I am blessed and honored to be an awardee of the LDEI scholarship. Thank you!!!”