About Us

 
What is the Chaine all About??   

          Jim Ray DPI 72                                                                                   
 

Article & Photos by Jim Ray,
*Chargé de Presse Provincial -- Chaine Southwest Region Honoraire
*Chargé de Presse -- San Antonio Bailliage
*Web Master -- SanAntonio Bailliage   

The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an international society that unites professional and amateur gastronomes in a private, not-for-profit society committed to promoting the culinary and hospitality arts and oenology through example, education and camaraderie. In short, it is devoted to promoting fine dining and preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table.

A Little History:

The Chaîne, as we know it today, was originally established in France in 1248 by King Louis IX as the "Royal Guild of Goose Roasters". This organization, during the first few hundred years, was primarily interested in cooking the goose correctly. In 1509, new statutes were introduced, which resulted in the change of the name "Guild" to "Rôtisseurs" and its activities were expanded to include poultry, game birds, lamb, and venison. During those early years of the Guild/Rôtisseurs, the court cooks served King Louis IX (the Saint), Phillip III (the Bold), Philip IV (the Fair), and the following 21 Kings of France in grand style. In 1610, 362 years after being established, and in recognition of their excellent service, the Rôtisseurs received its Royal Warrant as "The Brotherhood of Roasters" and its coat of arms was granted. The coat of arms consisted of two crossed turning spits and four larding needles, surrounded by flames of the hearth on a shield encircled by 12 fleur-de-lis and an inter chain representing the mechanism used to turn the spit. The coat of arms can be seen in the modern Chaîne banner. Everything inside the inner chain link circle is how the original coat of arms looked. However, The Brotherhood of Roasters and the country of France, as we knew them then, were soon to end. There was a political movement brewing within the country, and the movement would soon grow into a full fledge French revolution.

The French Revolution...

The French Revolution started in 1789, and lasted for ten years. In France, this was a period of radical, social, and political turmoil. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed. French society underwent an epic transformation as the aristocratic, religious privileges, and the medieval social system evaporated under an unrelenting assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about hierarchy and tradition gave way to new enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights. During the revolution, the Chaîne organization was abolished along with all the other guilds, clubs, societies, and other organizations that were not in the interest of the ordinary people. It was not until 161 years later in 1950 in Paris that a modern incarnation of the Chaîne was re-founded. This organization has since gone from a newly born initiative to a worldwide thriving organization. As a result of the rebirth of the Chaîne, its original coat of arms was modified. The outer chain circle, along with the legend Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was added. The inner chain circle now represents the professional members while the outer chain represents the non-professional members. Both chains represent the bond which unites all of the members of the Chaîne society together. The dates 1248-1950 represent the birth, and the rebirth of the organization.

The Chaîne Today:

The international headquarters remains in Paris where the society was founded. The present day Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is still based on the traditions and practices of the ancient French brotherhood but now in a truly international and modern-day context. The Chaîne unites both professional caterers and amateur gastronomes who enjoy good food and good wine. There are over 30,000 members in 123 countries, organized into National, Regional, and local Bailliages. The United States, even though getting a late start compared to European countries, currently have more Chaîne members than any other country in the world. The first Bailliage to form in the US was in New York in 1960. In 1969 the US was on a roll with 22 bailliages. Currently there are more than 8,000 members in 146 bailliages in United States. The San Antonio Bailliage, which is one bailliage out of nine in Texas, has approximately 100 members.

It's Purpose:

The Chaîne today continues with its original charter from 1248. It actively encourages the raising of catering standards and the training of future chefs. Each member country holds annual commis-rôtisseur (food preparation) competitions. The winners of these competitions at the local bailliage and regional level work themselves up competing and hoping to become the national winner. The national winners from around the world will then go forward to the international final cook off held in one of the member countries. The 2010 national winners assembled in Helsinki Finland on September 17 for the grand international competition. Unfortunately, the chef from America did not place — Top Chef was from South Africa, number two from Germany, and number three from Canada.  

Update: 2011: The International Jeunes Chefs Rotisseurs in Istanbul, Turkey was an exciting event attended by 21 competitors from 21 Chaine countries. This event ran concurrently with the Grand Chapitre of Turkey and naturally was attended by dignitaries from all over the world. Our Chaine National Young Chef's Competition Winner in San Antonio Texas, Reill Meehan won first place and was awarded the "International Gold Medal." The Silver medal was awarded to the competitor from Germany and the Bronze to the competitor of Columbia. 
 
Update: 2012: The Chaine not only helps young chefs become great chefs, it also helps young sommeliers become great sommeliers. American Christopher P. Bates, 31, general manager and executive chef at Hotel Fauchère in Milford, Pennsylvania, brought home the gold as winner of the Chaîne’s Concours International des Jeunes Sommeliers held in Capetown, South Africa, on September 21, 2012. It was the fourth time in the six-year history of the contest that an American has taken the gold. Previous winners include Professionnel du Vin Ian Cauble in 2011, Chris Miller in 2008, and Drew Hendricks in 2007. 

2013-2017: Our Young Chefs and Sommeliers are still going strong. Updated information can be found at www.International des Jeunes Sommeliers (or Young Chefs) International Competition.

Professional and Non Professional Members:

 All bailliages offer fine dining events, often black tie, in the best local restaurants, hotels, and other eating establishments. The menus and dishes are created exclusively for these dinners by the chefs, many of whom are also members of the Chaîne organization. Members of the Chaîne organization who are directly involved in viticulture, or chef in charge of kitchen operations, or owner/manager/director of a hotel or restaurant are known as professional members. All other members outside of professional members are known as non-professional ers or amateurs. This interaction between our professional and amateur members is one of the things that distinguishes La Chaîne from other organizations. At our formal dinners and get-togethers, our professional members create the atmosphere, prepare the food, and are responsible for the quality of drink that is served. The non-professionals consume and enjoy the fruits of the professional’s labor. The Chaîne member believes that a truly memorable dining experience is not just about the quality of the food and the wine. It also involves the way it is presented, both by the Chef on the plate, by the service at the table, and on the environment and company in which it is enjoyed.

The Chaîne Plaque:

Active professional members of the Chaîne are entitled to display the Chaîne's logo inside and outside their establishments to demonstrate their commitment to these standards. The plaque can also be recalled at any time with or without cause. If the establishment displaying the plaque does not maintain an acceptable standard of quality and excellence regarding cuisine, service and general dining experience, the license to display the plaque can be terminated, and the plaque removed by the local Bailli. These commitments are enshrined in the Members’ Pledge (professional and unprofessional), to which all new members of the organization must agree:

"I pledge that as a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, I will at all times honor the art of cuisine and the culture of the table. I pledge to always fulfill my obligations of brotherhood and of respect for my fellow members of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs."

2016 induction 9-inch
2016 Chaine Inductees
Front-Page-Langley-Photo22015 Chaine Members at the Grand Hyatt S.A.

Marvin-and-the-Booze4
Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Honoraire -- Marvin Jones
--Your limit is one bottle per person, per night!!!


Formal Events:

Chaine Dinner for web

In addition to holding/attending numerous food and wine functions, each bailliage holds one grand gala event each year to celebrate the induction of new members, promote and recognize those members deserving, and to rotate bailliage responsibilities as needed. Our most restent Induction Dinner was held March 2016. Our next Induction Dinner will be early 2017. Induction into the bailliage is always performed in formal attire and in grand style with prepared speeches, Champagne toasts, and traditional ceremonial rituals along with swords, daggers, membership certificates, and the gold and scarlet red Chaîne banner in the background overseeing all. Each new member, in addition to receiving a signed certificate of membership upon joining the Chaîne, receives a distinctive ribbon of rank. The ribbon of which is then worn that evening and at all future formal Chaîne gatherings.

Informal Events:

Informal Events:

The activities of La Chaîne are not limited just to grand dining. Dinners can be less formal, such as picnics and barbecues. These dinners also play an important role in each chapter's schedule. The programs can vary depending upon local resources and interests. Wine tastings, educational seminars, cooking demonstrations, including cooking classes, and informal lunches for the Chaine Ladies. 

Travel:

Chaîne members also love to travel. All travel is on a volunteer basis, but those who go are always sure to have a good time. Recent travel tours and road trips taken by members of the San Antonio Bailliage have been numerous trips to the California wine fields and wineries, Las Vegas, a ten-day elegant and exciting cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska, and numerous weekender’s to outlying communities for a get-out-of-town fun bed and breakfast excursion.
September 8-16, 2008 --  Alaska -- The Wades and the Carrolls --------->>

          Lisbon Portugal              //                                        Bailli Vivian Ray above center saying "Come on, Come on"

2011, a similar trip was taken to Shanghai China, Beijing China, Jeju  South Korea, Busan South Korea. In Busan, we had the opportunity to visit the DMZ, the demilitarized zone, and walk the illegal 300 feet underground "intrusion tunnels" that North Korea were in the process of digging for another South Korea invasion.

2013, The trip included England, Scotland, Ireland, The North Sea, Denmark, and Sweden

2014, Two cruises split between -- Singapore; Vietnam; Hong Kong; Dover, England; Hamburg Germany. Some of the members of the San Antonio Bailliage were on one of these cruises -- Bailli  San Antonio and Charge de Press SW Region! :  The trip was a big success. Bailli Provencial Martello did his usual great job of having the event full of fun and excitment for all the Chaine members aboard.

2015, May . . . Highlights were Venice, Istanbul, Greece, etc. . . . . With the Grand Chapitre In Puerto Rico, many Chaine members from the United States, including from San Antonio, had a wonderful time by tacking on a little vacation time before and after the Chaine events. There is nothing like sittine atop the highest point in Puerto Rico and having Texas-style pizza while overlooking two separate countries and the beautiful bay and ocean for miles and miles. 

The National Grand Chapître:

The Chaîne also offers a growing number of national and international events that are open to all members. In the United States one city from a different bailliage each year is designated as the place to hold the national gala called the Grand Chapitre. San Antonio members were all thrilled when in 1999 the event was held here in San Antonio. In 2008 the Grand Chapître was held in Boston. ----->> see side photo, this is our previous San Antonio Bailli, Joel Klein being elevated to the "Regional Baili of the Southwest area of the U.S. Chaine bailliages in the Southwest Region are as follows: Arkansas: Little Rock; ------ Colorado: Aspen, Denver, Vail; ------ Kansas: WichitaLouisiana: Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, & Shreveport; ------ Oklahoma: Oklahoma City & Tulsa; ------- Texas: Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, Woodlands, Fort Worth, Galveston, San Antonio, & Houston ( Houston has two bailliages).
"NOTE"  Bailli Provincial Joel Klein served as Bailli Provincial untill 2005, retired in 2010. At that time, Bill Salomon  assumed the position of Bailli Provincial and turned the bailliage over to Vivian Ray.


In 2009 the Grand Chapître was held in New York and in . . .
2010 - San Diego 
2011 - Atlanta Georgia
2012 - San Francisco
2013 - Washington D.C.
2014 - New Orleans   
2015 - Puerto Rico
2016 - Las Vegas
2017 - Chicago



 jim-viv-venice-basilica-xxo 
Photo taken by Shelly Margolis, Chairman,  of The United States Chaine Foundation and Membre, Conseil d'Honneur (Paris France)
       -- International Grand Chapitre, Venice Italy  --   

There are also International Grand Chapitres throughout the world. When they are held in interesting places to visit such Venice, Italy, many chaine members from the U.S. will travel there and participate in the festivities. Such was the case in 2012. Over 800 members/spouses attended this event. Of these 800, there were 60 USA Chaine members/spouses. 

 
<-- The Basilica and Basilica Square in background. The Red ribbon (behind Vivian) is Roberto Zanghi, Bailli Delegue d Italy and wife. Behind wife is Romolo Cacciatori Bailli del Veneto (Venice). These two individuals were at the head of the committee in coordinating this event ---> 4, 5, 6, and 7 October 2012.
 


Regional Events:


In addition to national and international galas, there are also regional get-togethers once every 18 months. (See three paragraphs up for a list of all cities in the Southwest Region.

In 2008 the San Antonio bailliage, which is part of the Chaine Southwest region, gathered in New Orleans (see photo to the right) to have a good time and to receive additional education in the art of food and wine appreciation, along with interesting guidelines on improving local bailliage operations and up-to-date ideas on ways to keep your membership enthused. (Right Photo --->   the Mathews, the Carrols,the Hoelschers, and the Wades -- all eight in black!!)

In 2010, this event was held in Vail Colorado (summer time). These types of events are always great fun. They are planned around great food, great wine, and great activity. Highlights of all of these events can be found under "Recent Events." 

2012 we were in Houston Texas;  2013 (18 months later), we were in Tulsa Oklahoma.

2014, October 16-18 -- Our Southwest Regional Assemblage was held at the Grand Hyatt, San Antonio. This one is now for the history books. What a grand event; What a good time was had by all: 

 

 

Title and Rank

All Chaîne members have a title. A member's title and professional/non professional status can be determined by the ribbon he or she wears around the neck. Certain badges pinned on officer ribbons can pinpoint exact duties and responsibilities. Badges can also help determine some of the Chaîne events and activities in which the member has participated. Let’s take a look at some of the ribbons that are worn by the San Antonio Bailliage members.

 
 

  
Note: Name, Rank and Title Information  can be found for each individual under "Members Section"

Non Professional Members




Chevalier / Male
----------
Dame de la Chaîne  Female

Amateur gastronome. Assuming you have a turning spit, this is the entry level for non-professional members. The most common rank within the San Antonio Bailliage. Most all bailliage members, with the exception of current and previous officers and those who are professional Chaîne members, will have this rank — Amateur gastronome.





Officier
( oh-fee-see-yeah )

Amateur gastronome promoted from Chevalier or Dame de la Chaîne for noteworthy contributions to the Bailliage. Currently there are two holders of this rank in the San Antonio Bailliage,

Members may be elevated to Officier after a minimum of 5 years service at the Bailli's request or after 10 years service at the request of the member. Those who serve as bailliage board members, but do not hold blue ribbon offices, may be elevated to Officier after two years of service.



Professional Members


Chef Roisseur

Executive Chef directing a kitchen where meats or poultry are prepared.

 





Maître Hôtelier, Maître de Table, Professionnel du Vin, Professionnel de la Table

Professionnel du Vin: A person directly involved in viticulture, producing wine or spirits, or the sale and distribution of such products

           ----or-----

Maître de Table: Restaurant manager or proprietor.





Officier Chef Rôtisseur

Promotion from Chef Rôtisseur after ten (10) years of membership and outstanding service to his Bailliage.





Officier  Maître Hôtelier

Promotion for active participation in the development of the Chaîne. Must have attained at least ten (10) years of membership.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following contains information on current and past leaders of our bailliage - -  our Baillis . . .
List starts with our current Bailli and goes backwards in time. . . .





Great China Wall, May 10, 2011

Bailli Vivian Ray, Chaîne member since 2004, Bailli since July 2010
Jim Ray, Chaîne member since 2004, Chargé de Presse Provincial Southwest Region Honoraire since July 2010. Both elevations took place in Vail Colorado during the Southwest Regional Assemblage






Boston Grand Chapître
2008

Bailli Provincial Southwest Region and Honoraire Bailli Bill Salomon, Chaîne member since 1998, Bailli 2004-2010

Judy Salomon, Vice Charge de Presse Honoraire
Under the leadership of Bill Salomon from 2004 to 2010, the bailliage continued to thrive and prosper.
Bailli Bill Salomon stepped down from actively managing the San Antonio Bailliage June, 2010 and turned the reins over to Bailli Vivian Ray.


"BOARD OF DIRECTORS" indicated by ***
Local Officers ----- See Officers Section on web site for detail description of duties


***Chairman . . .

***Bailli -- Vivian Ray 



***Voting members . . .

***Vice Chancelier-Argentier -- Wilmer Carroll

***Vice Conseiller Gastronomique -- John Wade

***Vice Chargé de Presse -- Jim Ray

***Vice Chargé de Missions -- Niklas Rosen

***Vice Echanson -- Marvin Jones

***Officier Catherine Milbourne

***Officier Ladd Little



Conseiller Culinaire Provincial, Honoraire -- Randy Mathews

Vice Chargée de Presse, Honoraire -- Judy Salomon

Vice Chargée de Missions, Honoraire -- Carol Klein

Vice Echanson Honoraire -- Daniel Jacob



Note: Individuals previous holding any of the above Chaîne titles but are no longer is in that position will continue to wear the ribbon and the title will continue.
However, the word Honoraire will be attached to the end of the title.


 
Director's Meeting, San Antonio, January 27, 2008

Bailli Provincial Southwest Region Honoraire Joel Klein, Chaîne member since 1985, San Antonio Bailli 1996 to 2004
Bailli Provincial SouthWest - 2008 to 2011 
Recipient of the Bronze Star, Silver Star, Gold Star and the "Conseil D' Honneur Award"
&
Vice Chargée de Mission, Honoraire Carol Klein
Recipient of the  Bronze Star and the Silver Star!

Even though Joel and Carol Klein were not the original founders of the San Antonio Bailliage, their contributions and leadership to the Bailliage between mid 1980's and 2004 have certainly been a very large factor as to why the Bailliage is the success story that it is today.




Founder of the San Antonio Bailliage -- The Argyle Country Club  2010

Officier Commandeur Ponce Heloise, Bailli San Antonio 1980 - 1990
Still a member of the San Antonio Bailliage -- 36 years!!!!
(The blond hair and the green ribbon next to Ponce belongs to Bailli Vivivan Ray)


Regional Officers


Bailli Provincial Southwest Honoraire-- Joel Klein

Bailli Provincial Southwest -- Bill Salomon

(Green Ribbon with Silver Braid) 


Chargé de Presse Provincial (Southwest) -- Jim Ray

Conseiller Gastronomique Provincial (Southwest) -- John Wade

Conseiller Culinaire Provincial (Southwest) -- Marvin Jones


(Blue Ribbon with Silver Braid) 


And finally, we have all these hard to pronounce French names...

Below are a few listed with their meaning and pronunciation.

Term Meaning Pronunciation
Argentier treasurer are-john-tee-yea
Bailli bailiff, senior office-bearer bye-yee
Bailliage bailiwick, region bye-yage
Chargè(e) custodian shar-jay
Chevalier knight sheh-val-yea
Confrèrie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Brotherhood of the Chain of Roasters cone-frair-ee deuh lah shen day row-tea-sir
Conseiller advisor cone-say-yea
Echanson cup bearer ayh-shan-sson
Dame lady dahm
Gastronomique gastronome gas-tron-oh-meek
Grande Chapître large international gathering grahnd sha-pea-tre
Honoraire honorary own-oh-rare
Hôtelier hotelier ho-tell-yea
Maitre master meh-treh
Mission task/duty mi-see-own
Officier officer oh-fee-see-yeah