Carol Brock, food journalist, philanthropist, and trailblazing founder of Les Dames d’ Escoffier International (LDEI) has died. Brock passed peacefully, surrounded by family on July 27of natural causes. She was 96. In her illustrious seven-decade culinary career, Brock championed women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. She founded LDEI’s inaugural chapter in New York City, NY in 1976. Under her leadership LDEI has formed 45 chapters with over 2400 members worldwide.
Bev Shaffer, LDEI president says, “I am saddened by the passing of Carol Brock. At her very heart, Carol was a visionary – a woman with fierce determination, passion, and motivation. As founder of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, she wasn’t satisfied with the opportunities others thought were “good enough” for a professional woman and wasn’t afraid to ask, “what if?”Her legacy will inspire us to dream more, learn more, and become more … all while being enveloped in the memory of her ever-present smile.”
Brock dedicated her life to culinary excellence. Her distinguished food career began in 1944 working as an assistant food editor at Good Housekeepingmagazine where she developed recipes and practiced food photography. She also was a contributing editor on several Good Housekeeping cookbooks and co-authored “The Good Housekeeping Party Book.”Later, she became the food editor of Parents Magazine.
In 1971, Brock worked as a food reporter for the New York Daily News. For the next 15 years she produced the newspaper’s weekly food section. After she retired from the New York Daily Newsshe later contributed as a restaurant critic for the Times Ledgerin Queens, NY. Additionally, she served as Culinary Arts Coordinator for the Great Neck Adult Education Programming for 25 years.
Inspired by Boston’s Les Dames des Amis d’Escoffier, a dining and philanthropic society of women formed in 1959, she received a charter from the New York Chapter of Les Amis d’Escoffier in 1973. Her intent, however, was to garner visibility and elevate women in the culinary space. Brock said, “We didn’t want a dining society. We wanted to show what women could do. We wanted to raise the Pyrex ceiling.”
In 1976 Brock established the first chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier as a response to inequalities of women working in the culinary industries. She, along with 50 culinary leaders, established Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY); the first professional platform to promote and support women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. Brock holds the title of Grande Dame, an honor awarded by LDEI for exceptional philanthropic and education contributions to the culinary world. Recipients include M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Alice Waters – among others.
Brock will also be remembered for her generosity of time and community outreach as seen through leadership of LDEI along with her Board of Directors service as former national president of the Round Table for Women in Food Service and president of New York Home Economists in Business. She also served as a member of Women Restaurant and Chefs Association; New York Women’s Culinary Alliance; International Hospitality Committee of the National Council of Women; New York Culinary Historians; Roundtable for Food Professionals; and the James Beard Foundation.
In remembrance of Carol Brock’s legacy, donations can be made to LDEI’s Brock Circle; Brock’s namesake fund enabling LDEI to bring more opportunities to serve its members and communities through education and improvement in the food, beverage and hospitality industries.