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Aliza Green Shows Off Local Flavor

Aliza Green Shows Off Local Flavor

Darla Synnestvedt | Philadelphia Daily News

If you can’t take the heat, find a dame who has a penchant for fire.

Clad in a burnt-orange chef’s coat, local cookbook author and chef, Aliza Green reached across the counter at La Cucina in the Reading Terminal Market and tossed a handful of black peppercorns into a hot pan as she imparted a bit of culinary wisdom to her already knowledgeable audience.

“In most curries,” she said into the microphone resting against her cheek, “the smell that makes you say ‘Ah, that’s curry,’ is the fenugreek.”

The all-female audience responded in a chorus of agreement. It was the second day of the annual conference for the culinary goddess group, Les Dames d’Escoffier International, held in Philly last month. If anyone knows food, it’s these women – and they’re not afraid to say so.

Although the international group is based in Louisville, Ky., 27 cities across the U.S. and Canada boast an invitation-only membership of almost 1,500 women. The association is composed of all kinds of foodies, from chefs to cookbook authors, food historians and even scientists.

Individual chapters promote educational and philanthropic opportunities for their members and the local community with scholarships to female culinary and hospitality students, and mentorship opportunities for women already in the business.

“The group started when women weren’t really allowed to be heads of anything in the kitchen or in the hotels,” explained Nicole Miller, president of the 84-member Philadelphia chapter. “We basically support women and encourage them to go after those higher positions.”

The Philadelphia chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary this year by inducting 12 new members, including Marcie Turney and Valerie Safron of Lolita and Bindi, local food journalist (and Daily News restaurant critic) Lari Robling and chef-owner Nongyao “Moon” Krapugthong of Manayunk’s Mango Moon and Chabaa Thai Bistro.

“To become a member, you have to be sponsored by two members and be in the hospitality or food industry for at least five years,” Miller said. “Usually you’re notable in your field, so we have a lot of restaurant owners, managers of hotels, high-end PR people, chefs and pastry chefs.”

For more information on the organization (or to figure out how to get sponsorship of your own) go to www.ldei.org.


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Copyright © 2009, Philadelphia Daily News

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