Les Dames d’Escoffier Announces 2014 MFK Fisher Awards


Les DamesReceiving more than 100 entries for the highly regarded and competitive M.F.K. Fisher Awards, Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) has named its 2014 winners and will award $2,000 to three women food writers for excellence in culinary writing.

Named for lauded culinary writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, considered one of America’s greatest food writers, this year’s competition received the highest total entries since LDEI initiated the biennial writing awards eight years ago. The awards are reflective of the organization’s mission in which its 1,800 women leaders in the culinary industry create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, fine beverage and hospitality professions.

The grand-prize winner is Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, a journalism teacher at the University of Missouri in Columbia who will win $1,000 and a trip to Boston to receive her award November 1 at the annual conference of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Furstenau won in the Book Category for an excerpt from Biting Through the Skin, An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland (University of Iowa Press, 2013). The author details the culinary thread that weaves one culture into another, and how we maintain our differences as well as how we come together through what we cook and eat.

Stacey Shultz of St. Louis won the Media (Magazine/Newspaper) Category for “Lox of Love,” her story published in Sauce magazine about making one’s mark on a holiday tradition. She will receive a $500 cash award.

Carol Penn-Romine of Burbank, California was the winner of the Internet Category and will receive a $500 cash prize for “My Fishing Trophy,” published online at leitesculinaria.com. Her playful food story was about besting her older brother and cousin in fishing competitions.

A 12-member panel composed of prominent magazine food editors, newspaper food editors and book publishers 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.

Entries must have been nonfiction published in 2012 or 2013 and could include analytical pieces, autobiographical explorations, and forays into culinary history.

Through the M.F.K. Fisher Awards, LDEI strives to highlight women culinarywriters 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 food. Beginning in 2015, the writing awards will be presented yearly rather than every two years.

LDEI is an invitational organization of women leaders in the United States, Canada and the UK in food, fine beverage and hospitality whose mission is education and philanthropy. For more information, go to ldei.org.

posted by: Eric Fujimori