Les Dames d'Escoffier

Judith A. Baigent-King CCP

Immediate Past President

Born and raised in the seaside city of Nelson, New Zealand, I developed my love of food from my Grandmother whose large kitchen with its domineering table became the center of family fun, jointly preparing and preserving food from our orchard and gardens.

In college I studied ‘home economics’ which gave me a thorough grounding in basic preparation, how to chop, beat and whip without the use of electrical equipment.

In 1963 I left New Zealand for Europe, this is where my real education in food began. Through the years I acquired a certificate in basic French cuisine, studied in Crete, in Florence – under Giuliano Bugialli and with numerous noted chefs around the Mediterranean and Middle East. I experienced assisting Jacques Pepin before he became a TV personality and prepping food for the grand dame of Mexican cuisine Diana Kennedy.

After many years of teaching culinary arts Internationally and in Tucson I opened a catering company, “The Affair Catering” which I sold five years later.

In 1994 I opened “Culinary Concepts – an Extraordinary Cooking School” in Tucson’s Plaza Palomino.

Two years later I completed requirements to become a Certified Culinary Professional, an internationally recognized standard from the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Association. I am also the author of “Culinary Concepts Cookbook” published by Gibbs-Smith in 2007.

Culinary Concepts had 1500 square feet of “Kitchen Art” retail space plus the same square footage dedicated to the hands-on cooking school, which saw over 600 students a month have fun learning to cook.

After sixteen years I retired Culinary Concepts to teach part-time during the summer in Pinetop AZ. Since 2011 I have also written a monthly food article – Season To Taste – for “The Desert Leaf” magazine.