Debbie Stapleton Named 2011’s Dame de l’Annee

L’Academie Culinaire de France is proud to honor Debbie Stapleton as its “Dame de l’Annee 2011”.

Debbie Stapleton was born in New York City. Her father was a stockbroker, her mother, a housewife and avid gardener. A fraternal twin sister, an older sister and brother rounded out their family. Mrs. Stapleton graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C., majoring in communications with a minor in international relations. One of her favorite quotes comes from Chef Auguste Escoffier, “The art of cooking is one of the most effective forms of diplomacy.”

After college, Mrs. Stapleton worked for the MITRE Corporation (MIT Research & Engineering) setting up an environmental library, then at the Environmental Protection Agency. After marrying Ambassador Craig Stapleton, she worked as executive director for a small nonprofit organization, called Secondary School Chairmen, a consortium of chairmen of the Boards of Independent Schools in the Northeast.

Mrs. Stapleton loves to travel and has spent several summers visiting France. She joined Ecole Champlain Group in Jouy-en-Josas where she acquired her love of French language and food, and greatly enjoyed visiting the nearby palace of Versailles and its magnificent gardens. She traveled extensively throughout the South of France, visiting the Stapleton’s cousins in St. Jean Cap Ferrat and Deavillle. Mrs. Stapleton has always had a passion for French cuisine and was a fan of an early cooking book by Michel Oliver, La Cuisine est un Jeu D’enfants. The recipes of Julia Childs and her seminal work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, also inspired her.

Mrs. Stapleton joined her husband Ambassador Stapleton in representing the United States of America in the Czech Republic from 2001-2003. She considers this the ultimate volunteer job, from which she gained tremendous respect and affection for the Czech people. She focused her efforts on raising funds for Czech non-profits benefiting children, the handicapped and the elderly. In this endeavor, Mrs. Stapleton worked with diplomats and their wives from 46 countries. Mrs. Stapleton’s passion for gardening was realized in her restoration of the Prague Embassy residence gardens.

Upon her return to the United States of America, Mrs. Stapleton became actively involved in the reelection campaign for President George W. Bush, serving as Connecticut Co-Chairman director. In January 2005, President Bush asked Ambassador Stapleton to serve his country as Ambassador to France.

Mrs. Stapleton greatly enjoyed learning about France, and its many distinctive regions, meeting people throughout the country, and celebrating America’s long and historic friendship with France. In October 2009, Mrs. Stapleton’s book Elegant Entertaining, Seasonal Recipes at the American Ambassador’s Residence was published in French and English. It recounts the fascinating history of the Residence and introduces forty of Executive Chef Philippe Excoffier’s best seasonal recipes.

The Stapleton’s son, Walker, works in real estate and lives in Denver Colorado with his wife Jenna and son, Craigie. Walker graduated from Harvard Business School and is the Colorado State Treasurer. Their daughter, Wendy, lives in New York City with her husband Diego Reyes and two daughters, Loulie and Mia Grace.

Madame Stapleton est très heureuse d’être avec un groupe de renommée des grands chefs français. Une telle reconnaissance est le rêve de sa vie.