Nov. 19, 2021, Memphis Bailliage – “Tried and true!” best explains why our Bailliage looked forward to an evening at the Erling Jensen Restaurant. Chef Erling and his staff always provide a fantastic gastronomic experience starting with passed amuse-bouche and then to a four-course meal with dessert.

Bailli George Chandler and wife Dame de la Chaîne Robin Chandler.

Paired with wines to complement the courses made for a great evening. The team of Bailli George Chandler and selected members attended a tasting dinner and did an excellent job in ensuring another fine dining experience.

Professionel du Vin Steve West and wife Vice Chargée de Missions Pamela Hauber.

The evening started with welcomed glasses of chilled French champagne, Philip Prié Brut and Brimincourt Blanc de Blanc, both offering a pleasant balance with the passed hors d’oeuvres including potatoes with crème fraiche topped with caviar.

After moving to our reserved seating, Bailli George Chandler asked members to introduce any guests. With 13 guests and 35 members, we had a full house; but the potential for a group of new Chaîne members made the tight quarters tolerable.

The staff brought out the first glass of wine, a 2016 Château Coutet Barsac Sauterne, then followed with the First course of La Belle Foie Gras Terrine on a Cinnamon Brioche toast with Berry Coulis, Foie Caramel and sprinkled with rose petals. After enjoying this dish, Chevalier Ben Bobbitt gave some brief remarks about the wine pairing. All agreed that the Sauterne worked well with the Foie Gras.

Ellen Meyer, Chevalier Roy Bors-Koefoed and Lisa Duerr.

After empty plates were cleared, the second round of wine was presented, a 2018 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc, then followed with the Pacific Halibut over Melted Leeks, surrounded by a Saffron Dashi Broth. Vice Echanson Charlie Warner gave some remarks on the wine, which all agreed the smooth, slightly citrus flavored wine paired nicely with the Halibut dish.

Guest Christian Smith and Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Valerie Morris Bearup.

The next glass of wine, a 2017 Remoissenet Pére et Fils Bourgogne Blanc was presented followed by the Third Course of Butter Poached Lobster and Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sauce Américaine. Professionel du Vin Steve West offered some remarks about the wine pairing, and all agreed the French chardonnay worked very well with the buttery poached lobster.

Taking a slight pause between courses, we took a moment to honor the life of one of our members, Chef Rotisseur Dirk Brakebusch, who passed away recently after a long illness. He and his wife, Margaret, have been valued members of our Bailliage for a number of years, and Dirk will be missed.

Pacific Halibut on Melted Leeks in Saffron Dashi broth.

Following the toast to Dirk, two glasses of wine, a 2016 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon and a French Chateau Cruzeau Bordeaux, were brought to the table ready for a side-by-side comparison with the Fourth Course of Braised Lamb Shank, Lemon Orzo and a rich demi-glace sauce. Chevalier Dr. Jim Fortune provided some comments about both wines which led to more thoughts from other members. After enjoying this course, a brief survey was held as to whether the Napa Cabernet or the French Bordeaux held court best with the lamb and the rich sauce. It was a basic toss-up with the French Bordeaux having a slight edge.

Braised Lamb Shank, Lemon Orzo, Tzatziki with a rich demi- glace sauce.

Red Wine Chocolate Pound Cake with Seasonal Berries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Dessert finished the evening with “chocolate”, a nemesis to everyone this time of year. The temptress was in the form of a Red Wine Chocolate Pound Cake with seasonal berries, strawberry and blackberry with a dollop of whipped cream. Dessert was complemented by a small glass of 2009 Fonseca Vintage Port. Dame Lydia Bors-Koefoed gave some informative comments as to why red wine pairs well with chocolate.

Bailli George Chandler introduced Chef de Cuisine Will Hickman who has been with Erling Jensen for the past five years after gaining some of his training under Daniel Boulud in Boston. He spent 10 years of his early career gaining experience working with Chef Erling. So, with the clinking of dessert spoons on cleaned plates and a satisfied sigh, the evening came to an end, with the promises of seeing each other at December’s Christmas and new member Induction Ceremony.

Vive la Chaîne!

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