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LDEI Announces 2024 Legacy Award Winners | ICONIC LIFE

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LDEI Announces 2024 Legacy Award Winners

LEs Dames Legacy Award winner hero
Meet the five inspiring Les Dames d’Escoffier International Legacy Award Winners.

The  Les Dames d’Escoffier International  and The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts have announced the 2024 LDEI Legacy Award Winners. Heather Carpenter, Tara McDonough, Sami Maldonado, Melissa Maness and Anamaría Morales are five talented and deserving individuals who exemplify excellence, innovation and leadership in their respective areas of expertise. Their dedication to culinary arts, sustainable practices, community engagement, and education has left an indelible mark on the industry and inspired countless others.

“We are thrilled to honor these exceptional women who have made invaluable contributions to the culinary world and beyond,” says Kathy Gold, President of Les Dames. “Their passion, expertise, and commitment to excellence inspire us all and reflect the core values of Les Dames.”

The LDEI Legacy Awards are curated industry experiences designed specifically to enhance the careers of women in food, beverage, and hospitality.

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Get to know these talented individuals and learn how being the recipient of this ICONIC award will impact their life and career moving forward.

HEATHER CARPENTER: LES DAMES LEGACY AWARD WINNER

New Orleans Hospitality, Catering, and Event Planning Award: Heather Carpenter:

Heather Carpenter deeply values entertaining and southern cuisine. With her roots in Charleston, South Carolina, Carpenter is heavily influenced by her upbringing. Her leadership roles at the James Island Yacht Club Auxiliary showcase her attention to detail and strong work ethic, qualities that make her an ideal manager for the Salthouse team.

“Winning this award has been so validating,” Carpenter explains. “ I devote myself whole-heartedly in everything I do. Whether it is in my career or my volunteer work. I am passionate about helping people and making people happy. Winning this award proves that I can do anything when I apply myself and that I am where I am supposed to be. I can’t begin to explain how excited I am for getting chosen for this award.” 

Her family ties are strong, her Sundays are cherished with five generations gathered, enjoying food, stories, and activities like football or birthday celebrations. Beyond family, Carpenter is devoted to volunteering and supporting organizations like Charleston Friends of the Library, The Scottish Society of Charleston, and Special Olympics, where she plans and executes fundraising events.

Austin Fine Beverages Award: Tara McDonough: 

Tara McDonough is a food and beverage enthusiast with nearly two decades of experience. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of New Orleans and honed her skills in top Crescent City kitchens.

After discovering a passion for wine while in Italy, McDonough served as the Beer & Wine Department Manager at H-E-B, connecting with vintners and winemakers of the High Plains AVA. Passionate about local Texas beverages, she delights in sharing her enthusiasm with friends, family, and customers.

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TARA MCDONOUGH LES DAMES LEGACY AWARD WINNER

“I’ll continue learning as much as I can,” McDonough says “I hope to add more certifications in wine and beer to my resume. I’d eventually like to have a job in the industry that allows me to travel and see the world. I’d like to work for a wine distributor or supplier, possibly as a retail chain account manager using my experience as a retailer to help increase wine sales.”

SAMI MALDONADO LES DAMES LEGACY AWARD WINNER

Washington, D.C. Food Policy and Advocacy Award: Sami Maldonado:

Sami Maldonado  holds a B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems and has more than five years of experience with food systems. She is a Transformative Food Systems Fellow committed to fostering social, environmental, and equitable change. Serving as the 2024 Course Coordinator for “Food Literacy for All,” she actively engages in community-academic partnerships.

Maldonado is eager and excited to learn more about agriculture and how it intersects with other aspects of life and politics. “I aim to learn more about how food and agriculture intersect with equity, climate change, and nutrition on a political level,” she says. 

“ I plan to ask a lot of questions. I am especially interested in meeting with governmental agencies, such as representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture. My main goal is to expand my understanding simply on how different governmental, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations interact and coordinate with each other at our nation’s capital. Overall, I look forward to learning more about how policy and advocacy impacts food and agriculture. “

Maldonado is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Sustainability & Environment at the University of Michigan. 

Dallas Culinary Education Award: Melissa Maness:

Melissa Maness has been a culinary arts instructor for South Technical High School in St. Louis, Missouri for the past 16 years. The program at South Tech is accredited by the American Culinary Federation’s Educational Foundation, which under Maness’ leadership, has achieved exemplary status over the last 10 years. She also serves on the board of directors for Food is Love and is active within the culinary community and food scene in St. Louis. 

 

MELISSA MANESS LES DAMES LEGACY AWARD WINNER

“My students inspire me every day. Being able to watch them grow and succeed is truly a blessing, they are the driving force behind everything I do,” Maness says. “Their passion, curiosity, and determination inspire me to push the boundaries of traditional education and cultivate innovative learning experiences that bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace.”

ANAMARIE MORALES LES DAMES AWARD WINNER

New England Food Entrepreneurship Award: Anamaría Morales:

Anamaría Morales was a first-generation college graduate from UC Berkeley, she graduated debt-free, thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit and hard work.Coming from a low-income Latinx family with teenage parents, she creatively funded her higher education by founding College Confectionista, a cheesecake business.

Anamaría is on a mission to “help send girls to college one cheesecake at a time!” 

Each LDEI Legacy Award winner earns a five-day experience working alongside accomplished Les Dames members. Experiences take place between May 15 and September 15, 2024.

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