Dallas has lost one of the most important forces in the food and hospitality business. Diane Teitelbaum, mostly known for her work as a wine consultant, wine educator, appraiser, and writer, has passed away. She was 68.
Teitelbaum’s list of accomplishments is long: wine correspondent to the Dallas Morning News, wine consultant for American Airlines, and contributor to the The Oxford Companion to Wine. Teitelbaum was an esteemed international wine judge and wrote about wine for newspapers, online sites, and magazines.
In the early ’80s she was deeply involved in the Southwestern Cuisine movement that catapulted the Dallas culinary world onto the international stage. Teitelbaum and then Dallas Times Herald food critic Michael Bauer, currently executive food and wine editor and restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, experimented with pairing wines with the flavors of the Southwest. Their articles, published in the Wine Spectator, were the first to appear on the subject.
Diane Teitelbaum is one of the reasons why I am able to type these words. She was a charter member of the Dallas chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, one of the original five chapters that formed LDE International. The invitation-only organization is a philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage, and hospitality. In 1985 women were fighting for equality in the food, wine, and restaurant business. Teitelbaum’s fierce determination was a major forces in putting women in the forefront not just in Dallas but in Texas. She was an indomitable force, bossy and smart in a good way. She always spoke with conviction and one did not second guess her judgment.
I was lucky enough to serve in LDE alongside Teitelbaum. We worked on several fundraisers and projects together. In 2002, I wrote a story on the best BYOB restaurants in Dallas, and Teitelbaum added suggested wine pairings.
Former D Magazine dining critic Mary Brown Malouf, currently the editor of Salt Lake Magazine, was a long-time friend and colleague of Teitelbaum’s. “This is a huge loss for Dallas. She was one of those women who sailed into a room and started giving orders,” Malouf says. “She scared a lot of us, but she was absolutely, completely supportive and encouraging and helpful to females. She was a true food feminist.”
Update: The Dallas chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier will host a celebration of Diane’s life on Monday, December 15, from noon-4 pm. The service will take place at 3015 at Trinity Groves, 3015 Gulden Ln. For information, call 214-939-3015.