Austin’s Les Dames d’Escoffier Chapter
Awards Two Culinary Scholarships

The Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) has announced that this year’s culinary scholarship recipients are Markita Skeen and Bonnie Archer.

The Austin LDEI scholarships are awarded each year to local women who are pursuing full-time coursework in a culinary arts program for professional development.

Markita Skeen of Austin, a student at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, received her Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts in May 2015. Her industry experience includes catering and decorating special occasion cakes. Her cakes have gained significant notice in recent competitions; her immediate goal is an externship as a cake decorator with Disney.  Inspired by volunteer work she did in her hometown of Brady, creating pastries and sweets for a nonprofit organization, Markita’s big picture goal is to share the joy she finds in baking, by creating beautiful and exquisitely flavorful desserts. 

Bonnie Archer of San Antonio, a student at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, completed her Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts in April 2015.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from New York University; and a Master’s Degree in Human Relations, from the University of Oklahoma. Currently employed at Central Market San Antonio, Ms. Archer served in the U.S. Army as a dietitian for over twenty years. One of the highlights of her military career was volunteering her time to create and implement an occupational therapy/cooking class program for injured service members, teaching knife skills, meal planning and nutrition education. Her philosophy is “there are no bad foods—all foods can be enjoyed in moderation”.  Her goal is to “improve both public health AND enjoyment of good food.”

Austin’s LDEI chapter represents more than 50 of Austin’s top women culinary professionals. For the past seven years the chapter has contributed more than $32,000 in scholarships to local women seeking a culinary career.

Applicants must have completed at least 20 credit hours (or the equivalency), have a G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher, and be enrolled currently in a local certificate or associate’s degree program in culinary arts, baking and pastry, or hospitality and restaurant management. Scholarships are awarded based on academic accomplishments, references, financial need, goals, aspirations, initiative and culinary-related experience.

LDEI is an international organization of women leaders who create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, beverage, and hospitality professions. To do this, members provide leadership, educational opportunities and host philanthropic events within their communities.