For the third year in a row, September is officially the month the Market at Pepper Place is spotlighting Top Women in Food. The month-long celebration began Saturday, September 7, when the Market again teams up with Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Birmingham Chapter. Members of “Les Dames” will “take over” the weekly chef demonstrations at the Market throughout the month of September, show how to make a simple, fresh seasonal recipe, share free samples of the dish with the audience, and offer information about the chapter’s mission and community outreach. The chef demos will be held rain or shine every Saturday at 9am on 29thstreet.

Founded in 1976, Les Dames d’Escoffier is an international organization for women leaders in food, wine and hospitality, with a mission of education, advocacy, mentoring and philanthropy. The Birmingham Chapter of Les Dames was founded in 2013, and continues to grow as more outstanding female chefs and food professionals emerge in the greater Birmingham area. Among its members are household names for foodies – respected chefs and restaurateurs, like Kathy G., Idie Hastings, Becky Satterfield and Pardis Stitt, as well as many of the top female food writers, cookbook authors, food photographers and stylists, cooking instructors, wine experts and leaders in the hospitality industry.

The kickoff Saturday, September 7th, Les Dames member and Chef Geri-Martha O’Hara, showed us how she makes the luscious artisan ice creams that have made Big Spoon Creamery one of the most popular ice cream shops in the greater Birmingham area. The September 14th cooking demo will be hosted by Chef Ashley McMakin of Ashley Mac’s. Also on September 14th, visitors will get a sneak peek – and possibly a taste – of some of the yummy dishes that will be served at the Dames’ annual fundraiser, Southern Soiree, to take place at The Barn at Shady Lane on October 13th. The Les Dames Market Takeover will continue on September 21st when Chef Andrea Snyder of Farm Bowl and Urban Cookhouse demos a fresh dish from her newest restaurant in Homewood. Executive Chef Mary Grace Viado Howard of Village Tavern will wrap up the “Market Takeover” on September 28th. Assisting the Dames each week will be the proud recipients of this year’s culinary scholarships.