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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Menu Development

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March is Women’s History Month, which honors the accomplishments and contributions that women have made in American history. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re showcasing a few prominent female chefs who’ve made a significant impact in the culinary world. You can also explore some of the dishes that were inspired by these chefs, which we’ll be featuring in our dining halls throughout the month of March.

Alice Waters (inspired dish: Beef Stew) is a chef, activist, author, and restaurateur credited with kickstarting the farm-to-table movement in America.

Julia Child (inspired dish: Beef Bourguignon) taught Americans the recipes and techniques of French cuisine on PBS. She authored several cookbooks, including the one that skyrocketed her to fame, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Italian American chef, restaurateur, author, and television host Lidia Bastianich (inspired dish: Pasta all’Amatriciana) is self-taught, having gained cooking experience in her and her husband’s successful restaurants. She’s everyone’s Italian grandmother, teaching home cooks the art of Italian cooking.

Giada De Laurentiis (inspired dish: Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta) is a household name, thanks to her long-running television presence. Before starring on the Food Network, the Italian American chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked as a caterer.

Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” (inspired dish: Oven-Fried Buttermilk Chicken) was executive chef at the culturally and historically significant Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Dooky Chase’s allowed all races to dine together during segregation and hosted many civil rights movement planning meetings.

Ina Garten (inspired dish: House-Roasted Herbed Chicken) was a White House staffer before quitting her job and buying a specialty food shop after turning 30. She’s written cookbooks that stress simple food, made well, and has created recipes accessible to home cooks of all experience levels.

Joyce Chen (inspired dish: Asian Black Sticky Wings) helped familiarize and popularize Chinese food in America. She introduced buffets in her restaurant to encourage diners to sample new dishes and numbered her menus to make it easy for people to order in any language.

Carla Hall (inspired dish: Spicy Peri Peri Chicken) competed on “Top Chef” twice and hosted “The Chew,” a daytime food talk show. She’s also a bestselling cookbook author and restaurateur who combines her classical French training with her Southern roots to create incredible comfort food.

Leslie Durso (inspired dish: Harvest Grains Pilaf with Portobellos) has been instrumental in promoting a more sustainable lifestyle by encouraging people to eat a more plant-based diet. She’s focused on inclusivity and is working with Food Allergy Research & Education to create dishes for menus around the world that are free of the top nine allergens.

Try out the recipe below and enjoy flavorful tastes from Giada De Laurentiis with her Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta.

Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis
Servings: 6


3 ¼ ounces raw Italian sausage links
2 tablespoons minced shallots
½ cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons zero trans fat margarine
1 ¼ cup 2% milk
5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine
4 cups cooked penne pasta
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


STEP 1: Slice sausage links ½ inch thick. Soak julienne sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and discard liquid.

STEP 2: In a skillet, sauté sausage until browned.

STEP 3: Add minced shallots and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

STEP 4: In a saucepan, combine flour and margarine over medium heat; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, cream, and sherry.

STEP 5: Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and cook until sauce reduces and is smooth.

STEP 6: Add sausage and penne pasta to the sauce and toss. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Place in serving dish and serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and keep warm at proper temperature until ready to serve.

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