Guess who is wearing the shorter skirt
On Sunday August 4th, The Girl and I were inducted into the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. So what exactly is the Chaîne? Well, for that we need a short history lesson (thanks to the Chaîne website).
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"The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society, founded in Paris in 1950, traces its origins back to 1248. At that time, the French King Louis IX (later canonized as Saint Louis) wishing to thank the trades which had contributed to the construction of Sainte Chapelle, ordered the establishment of several professional guilds, one of which was the "Oyeurs" or goose roasters. The vocation of this guild was to improve the technical knowledge of its members: apprentices, tradesmen and masters. Over the decades its activities and privileges were expanded."
"For more than four centuries the ‘Confrérie des Rôtisseur' cultivated and developed the culinary arts, meeting all the requirements of professionalism and quality demanded by the "Royal Table", until 1793 when the guild system was dissolved during the French Revolution. The Rôtisseurs were completely forgotten until 1950, when Dr. Auguste Bécart, the well-known journalists Jean Valby and Curnonsky (elected "Prince of the Gastronomes"), and chefs Louis Giraudon and Marcel Dorin revived the association and founded the "Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs"."
"I dub thee fan of great food"
"The principal goal of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is to bring professional and non-professional, amateur members in over 80 member countries together to celebrate their passion for fine cuisines and wines and to aid and encourage the development of young chefs and sommeliers worldwide through its national and international competitions as well as provide international food support and aid to those in need."
So......The evening began with a short ceremony inducting us into the Chaîne and quickly moved to the important stuff, dinner. This black-tie event was held at one of our favorite Charleston restaurants, Tristan, and featured a true "Locavore" theme.
Way better than turkey jerky
Dinner began with a Chef's compliment of watermelon jerky & encapsulated juice. Jerky....made of dehydrated watermelon? Sign me up for this by the pound. This bright and surprisingly meaty dish gave a cool, sultry start to the meal.
Meat on Board sure beats Baby on Board
The first course, Finders Keeper, which was a composed salad of locally foraged ingredients (including figs and sea beans); Sea Island Culatello from Tristan's private collection, Holy Smoke Olive Oil Jam. This was The Girl's favorite course, and the luscious, delicate culatello melded with the jam and figs into a supremely composed dish.
What is a diner without pasta?
Second course, and my personal favorite, was a Tarvin Family shrimp tonarelli with oven dried Kurios Farm tomatoes and an ice filtered lobster and shrimp consommé that I was willing to do shots of. A stunningly elegant pasta dish that looks so simple on the surface, but in Chef Whiting's typical style, quietly utilizes so many varied techniques that one is left stunned.
This.....was not what I was expecting. Tristan does that to you.
Third course was perhaps the most playful dish, a Carolina Gold & sweet corn risotto. This was paired with a Manchester Farms Quail confit with a stunning gilded truffle popcorn and lime caviar. The bursts of sweet from the corn and acid from the "caviar" brought beautiful balance to the dish and played wonderfully with the quail.
Pollen and Honey and Pork oh my
The final savory dish was actually rather sweet. A locally pastured Ossabaw suckling pig that was crusted in bee and fennel pollen, with Wadamalaw onions and an almond milk polenta. I'm still trying to figure out how exactly this dish worked as well as it did. Pollen crust? Who knew?
Somebody undercooked ma egg
Pastry Chef Amanee Neirouz, in her typically restrained but technique heavy style, sent out this Hickory Hill buttermilk panna cotta with a peach sorbet and butter pecan crumble. The Girl loved how the sweetness was held in check and praises the crumble as truly excellent, providing a perfect textural counterpoint to the silky panna cotta.
Through the meal we were lucky to enjoy the jazzy sounds of Tom Swift & His Electric Cohorts, who helped give this black-tie event a little swing.
The evening was a total success. At the end The Girl and I were proud to become inaugural members of the Bailliage de Charleston. We would like to extend our thanks to Tristan, the band, and Chambellan Provincial William A Hirsh and Officier Allyson Hirsh for welcoming us and making the evening so special.
Dame de la Chaîne Michelle Abell
Vice Echanson Anthony Barhart
Chevalier Joel Anderson Berly
Professionnel du Vin Donald DeLuca
Officier Sara Elizabeth DeLuca
Vice Chargee de Missions Heather DiFelice
Bailli Marcos Digliodo
Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Trish Digliodo
Chevalier David Lyle
Vice Charge de Presse Charles Powell
Vice Chancelier Argentier Emmy Smith
Chef Rôtisseur Nathan Whiting