Food celebrities’ book dedicated to Douglaston resident

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For Douglaston’s Carol Brock, having a new book featuring 200 food celebrities dedicated to her is an honor 32 years in the making.

The former Daily News food writer and TimesLedger restaurant critic founded Les Dames D’Escoffier, a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women in the food, beverage and hospitality industry, in 1976. A new book edited by Marcella Rosene and Pat Mozersky, titled “Cooking with Les Dames D’Escoffier,” is dedicated to “women of vision, energy and brilliance” and specifically honors Brock, who has lived in Douglaston for 48 years.

Brock said she did not know that the book would honor her until she picked up a copy at Les Dames’ annual meeting in October.

“I’m thrilled the way the book turned out,” she said. “I’d put the fear of God into the [editors] who wanted to do it or, maybe, the fear of Les Dames. I told them the reputation of the organization would rest on them.”

The book features recipes by more than 200 women in the food and beverage industry, including Douglaston’s Lidia Bastianich and Julia Child, for appetizers, soups, seafood, beef, poultry, pork, pasta, vegetarian dishes, baked goods, side dishes and desserts.

Brock, who will celebrate her 85th birthday next month, graduated from Queens College in 1944 and went to work for Good Housekeeping in Manhattan shortly thereafter. For 23 years, Brock either cooked or planned luncheons for the magazine’s editor as well as working as the publication’s assistant food editor and later as its hostess food editor.

Brock then worked for nearly three years in the late 1960s as food editor for Parents Magazine before heading to the Daily News, where she acted as food editor from 1970 to 1985.

“My section had color and The New York Times didn’t even have color,” she said of her full−page spread at the News. “But I never considered myself a writer. My background was food and food photography.”

During her sojourn at the daily newspaper, Brock said she covered a variety of food−related stories in the five boroughs, including Manhattan chefs who grew grapes in their yards, financial executives serving tea as opposed to liquor during meetings, a meal held in the style of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and blueberry picking in the Catskills.

Brock then worked for 13 years as a restaurant reviewer for TimesLedger Newspapers following her years at the Daily News. She said she enjoyed covering borough eateries, tasting everything from Egyptian food to water rat.

“Queens food is the best because of its diversity,” she said. “It’s incredible what we’re offered here in Queens. It’s like nothing else in the world.”

In 1973, Brock came up with the idea for a society of women professionals in the food, beverage and hospitality industry and received a charter from the city.

Nearly three years later, Les Dames D’Escoffier signed up 50 new members, she said.

Now, the organization has more than 1,000 members in 26 chapters across the nation and in Canada. She said the group regularly hosts dinners and holds an annual meeting. The society has raised more than $4 million to date for scholarships and grants for mentoring women in the food and beverage industries.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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