LDEI Names M.F.K. Fisher Awards Winners

Les Dames d’Escoffier International Names Nine Winners for Prestigious
M.F.K. Fisher Awards Recognizing Excellence in Culinary Writing

 LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY (June 6, 2017) – Sandra Gutierrez of Cary, North Carolina, food writer and author of “A Voice from the Nuevo South,” has been selected as the grand-prize winner and Internet Category winner of the Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s (LDEI) M.F.K. Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing. The winning article, selected from among 74 entries, is about the Latino population’s influence on Southern food and the Guatemalan author’s personal insight into assimilation, discrimination and the birth of food trends. The top prize earns Gutierrez a trip to the LDEI Conference in Newport Beach, CA, where she will receive $1,000 during the awards presentation on October 27th. Her story was published at www.oxfordamerican.org/item/977-a-voice-from-the-nuevo-south

Elaine Khosrova, Chatham, NY, won first prize and $500 in the Book Category for Butter, A Rich History (Algonquin Books, 2016).

 Kathy Gunst, South Berwick, ME, won first prize and $500 in the Print Category for her article “The Epiphany That Turned Me into a Good Baker,” published in the Washington Post.


Other prize winners:

Book Category

Second Prize ($100): Yasmin Khan, London, United Kingdom, author of The Saffron Tales (Bloomsbury USA). Excerpt entered: “RASHT. Tales of rice paddies and tea plantations”

Third Prize ($50): Cynthia Graubart, Atlanta, GA, author of Chicken: A Savor the South Cookbook (UNC Press). Entered excerpt: “Chicken and Me”


Internet Category

Second Prize ($100): Carolyn Phillips, Alameda, CA, for her story, “Good Graces” published at https://lifeandthyme.com/reflections/good-graces/

Third Prize ($50): Elaine Cicora, Macedonia, OH, for her story, “Why I Garden” published at http://growforthmag.com/why-i-garden/


Print Category

Second Prize ($100): Laura Reiley, Tampa, FL. Food Critic, Tampa Bay Times, for her article, “Farm to Fable” published in the Tampa Bay Times  www.tampabay.com/projects/2016/food/farm-to-fable/restaurants/

Third Prize ($50): Kim Ode, staff writer, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, for her article, “Ooh, Can I Have a Taste?” from her newspaper.

Named for lauded culinary writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, considered one of America’s greatest food writers, the awards are reflective of the LDEI mission in which its 2,200 women leaders create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, beverage and hospitality professions. Through the annual M.F.K. Fisher Awards, LDEI strives to highlight women writers whose work reflects creativity and insight; illuminates the pivotal roles of food, beverages and the arts of the table; and/or contributes to our knowledge of those who grow, produce or prepare nourishment. The winning stories will be posted at www.ldei.org

“We are delighted to recognize these achievements by these well-deserving writers,” said CiCi Williamson, LDEI’s M.F.K. Fisher Awards chair. “The work from these women reflects creativity and extraordinary writing talent that highlights the prominent role food has in defining our culture.”

Ten prominent magazine food editors, newspaper food editors, and book publishers who are not members of LDEI judged the contest entries. The judges scored the entries on writing style, mastery of subject, topic and creative approach that shows author’s voice, and relevance to the reader.

Entry criteria specified nonfiction works published in 2016 and could include analytical pieces, autobiographical explorations, and forays into culinary history.


LDEI is an international organization of women leaders who create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, fine beverage, and hospitality professions. To do this, over 2,200 members in 36 chapters worldwide provide leadership, educational opportunities and host philanthropic events within their communities. For more information, visit ldei.org.or on Facebook at Les Dames d’Escoffier Int’l.

Share this post