Thursday, July 9


It is with great sadness that we report the loss of one of SFA’s original fifty founders, Karen Cathey, who died on Monday after a long battle with cancer. Though classically trained in French cooking, Karen was a passionate defender of American regional foodways, most particularly of the South. For almost twenty years, through her marketing company, Bon Vivant, LLC, and nationally syndicated cookbook review column, Devouring Cookbooks, she championed the best in American cooking and food writing.

Karen’s commitment to things culinary ran deep. Involved in two previous Southern foodways organizations before helping found SFA, she was also active in national and international culinary organizations, including The International Association of Culinary Professionals, The James Beard Foundation, Culinary Historians of Washington, and The American Institute of Wine & Food, which she served as national chairman.

It was my privilege to know this lovely, remarkable, charming and funny woman and count her as a friend. She faced her final illness the way she faced everything—with bravery and dignity, and though cancer ravaged her body, it never dimmed her spirit. Her passion and loyalty for her family, friends, and fellow culinary professionals remained strong to the end.

To honor her, “The Karen Cathey Education Fund of The American Institute of Wine & Food National Capital Area Chapter” has been created. Contributions may be sent c/o Bob Sitnick, Treasurer, 6271 Park Road, McLean, VA 22101.

Damon Lee Fowler, Founding Member and Past President