By: and

June 2-4, 2022, Atlanta – Anticipation was in the Atlanta spring air as regional winners of Chaîne’s Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs (JCR) Competition met from June 2 to 4 to determine the national champion who will represent the United States at the international competition next fall. Held in conjunction with the National Culinary Weekend, Chaîne members began arriving Thursday to kick off the weekend of festivities with a taste of Atlanta on Friday before Saturday’s JCR finals, seminars, Gala, and Induction ceremonies.

Atlanta, Georgia, downtown skyline and park at twilight.

Friday: Welcome to Atlanta!

Memorial at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta

Morning Bus Tour

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthplace.

As part of Chaîne’s National Culinary Weekend, a small group boarded a minibus Friday morning to tour Atlanta neighborhoods and the downtown area that included beautiful mansions in the Buckhead neighborhood, Centennial Park and The Midtown Mile. The group’s highlight was a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. First established in 1980 as a National Historic Landmark and designated a National Historical Park in 2018, the park tells the important story of the life and legacy of Dr. King, the Father of the Civil Rights Movement, through preservation of his birth home and other historic sites such as the Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Dr. King and Coretta, his wife, are buried in Monument Park.

Following the bus tour, the group proceeded to lunch.

Martin Luther King National Park Memorial.

  

Sue Rodini, Conseiller Gastronomique Provincial, Southwest Province and Tony Rodini, Chevalier.
From L to R: Front Row: Betty Sasenick, Chargée de Presse des Etats-Unis; Sue Rodini, Conseiller Gastronomique Provincial, Southwest Province; Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis; Brooke de Boutray, Dame de la Chaîne; Peggy Reddy, Bailli of Seattle Bailliage; Back Row: Tony Rodini, Chevalier; Chef Isaiah Simon, Maitre Rôtisseur; Joseph Sasenick.

Lunch: South City Kitchen

.

Impressed and invigorated by Atlanta’s rich history and modern success, tour participants started off a great weekend of sampling the region’s culinary delights with lunch at South City Kitchen in Buckhead—one of four metro Atlanta locations.

South City Kitchen is part of a family of 10 distinct dining experiences owned by Fifth Group Restaurants. As culinary director for all four locations, Chef Chip Ulbrich brings together a popular contemporary blend of local ingredients, classic southern traditions, and innovative presentation. He opened, and served as Executive Chef for, the first South City Kitchen location in Midtown. Chip is a member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and has been featured in Food & Wine, Southern Living, and Travel + Leisure.

The group’s three-course lunch began with a tantalizing choice of appetizers: She-Crab Soup, Fried Green Tomatoes, or a southern twist on Caesar Salad. Continuing with the theme of oh-so-many-choices, lunch entrée selections featured local producers and included Springer Mountain Farms Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Marsh Hen Mill Grits, or Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. No doubt full and satiated after the first two courses, dessert was still quite irresistible: Banana Pudding Trifle or a fresh Gelato and Sorbet du jour. Piper Sonoma Brut bubbles paired well across the entire meal.

Dinner: Canoe Restaurant – “Tucked Away, Not So Far Away”

.

.

Canoe’s tag line takes diners to the banks of the Chattahoochee River in the community of Vinings, not far from downtown Atlanta or the heart of Buckhead. (Well, there’s the traffic situation, but spoiler alert: it’s worth it!)

.

Its address on Paces Ferry Road is worth a short back story before sharing our group’s culinary delights.

As the crow flies, Paces Ferry Road marks a straight line from the Canoe Restaurant to the new Thompson Hotel in Buckhead (part of the Hyatt company). So…what and where was that Ferry, and who was Pace? Mr. Hardy Pace was a settler and founding leader of Atlanta in the early 1800s. He created a ferry service from the point where Peachtree Creek empties into the Chattahoochee River to transport people to northwestern Georgia before the Western & Atlantic Railroad was constructed between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee. And he had an interest in developing the railroad. There was a gold rush in Georgia as well as California. Aha! All those names suddenly made sense!

.

Back to the main point about food and wine. Canoe Restaurant can rightfully boast extraordinary capacity to effectively run a large dining area, and at the same time manage multiple private parties and special events. Those of us lucky to dine in a private room as part of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs National Culinary Weekend were blissfully unaware of the bustle of other activities. Service was attentive, professional, welcoming, and more—convincing all of us that southern hospitality is alive and well!

Executive Chef Matthew Basford and his team created an expressive menu for the Chaîne. Originally from Australia, living and working in New Orleans in 2005 during the notorious Hurricane Katrina, Chef Basford relocated to Atlanta and within a week had started working at Canoe as a line cook. Working his way up the ranks, in 2013 he was named Executive Chef.

With nearly a decade of experience under his belt as the leader of this team and menu articulation, Chef Basford’s creative talents were on display for our Chaîne dinner.

Vidalia onion soup.

Canoe’s house-smoked salmon.

To start, Creamy Vidalia Onion Soup riffed back and forth between sweet and savory, creamy and acidic, sugary and salty. Each bite was just a little bit different. Our welcome wine, a Roederer Estate Brut Rose NV from Anderson Valley, paired nicely with this complex soup.

One of Canoe’s house specialties is an appetizer of silky smoked salmon served atop crunchy potato sticks and a schmear of creamy goat cheese accented with chives. Stags’ Leap Chardonnay (2020) might have been a touch too oaky for some, absolutely perfect for others. (For those of you who know that there are confusingly two wineries with nearly identical names, separated visually only by the placement of an apostrophe, this wine was not from the infamous Stag’s Leap winery that won the 1976 Judgement of Paris. It was a lovely wine nonetheless.)

Slow-braised rabbit.

Southern style pistachio pie.

Then the moment of entrée truth: fish, rabbit, or duck? As it turns out, there were no wrong choices! Although only a few members of our group selected Potato Crusted George’s Bank Cod—me being one of them—it was a stunning preparation with crawfish and a modern spin on succotash that Chef Basford calls Red Bliss Potato Hash. By far, the crowd favorite selection was Slow-Braised Rabbit presented with tender brie ravioli that reportedly “melted in your mouth.”

And finally, a unique preparation of Maple Marinated Duck Breast presented in a broth with ancient grain rice and soy buttered greens. A choice of California Sauvignon Blanc (Illumination 2019) or Willamette Pinot Noir (Stoller Reserve 2018) accompanied the entrée. Hmmm… imagine that most of us tried both wines!!

Serving Staff with Richard Smith, Bailli Provincial South Central; Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délegué des États-Unis; Rufus Cressend, Chancelier des États-Unis.

Closing the evening’s meal was an exercise in restraint. The descriptions of two dessert choices were equally appealing, and when presented, equally interesting. Southern Style Pistachio Pie was a fun take on traditional pecan pie: candied pistachios on a gooey blond brownie served with a dollop of blackberry ice cream. Strawberry Chocolate Mousse melded two favorite flavors into a single mound of deliciousness, accompanied by salty brûléed brie, pretzel crunch, and basil.

Meet the Young Chefs

Six young professionals met in Atlanta to compete for the honor of representing the United States at the International JCR Competition next fall. Meet these rising culinary stars through the links below.

Phil Gentry (Midwest), Torian Jenkins (Southwest/Austin), Sydney Hilzendeger (Pacific Northwest), Keegan Andrews (Southwest/Dallas), Joseph Baffoe (Northeast), and Michael Kennedy (Southeast).

About the Young Chefs:

Click on each Chef’s name for their answers to the same six questions about their culinary journey.

Shopping at Buford Highway Farmers Market; L-R: Jill Kummer, Bailli Pittsburgh; Shular Institute staff; young chefs Michael Kennedy, Joseph Baffoe, Daryl Shular, Phil Gentry, Torian Jenkins, and Sydney Hilzendeger; Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionels des États-Unis; young chef Keegan Andrews; and Chef Varin Keokitvon.

Young Chefs tour Buford Highway Farmers Market and Microsoft restaurants

by Chef Sydney Hilzendeger

A lesson in shopping for fish.

One of the highlights of the trip for me and the rest of the competitors was being able to go to a highly diverse and extensive market in Tucker. We were “let loose” to explore a whole range of food items many of us had never seen or heard of before. Seeing some cultural foods of Atlanta but also from places like Thailand and Mexico was really unique. I’ve never been in a market with such a wide variety. The seafood and produce were probably the most interesting sections of the market. We were all picking up new and strange fruits and herbs to smell. Being able to experience this with fellow culinarians made the whole trip just that much more enjoyable.

Produce was one the most interesting sections of the market.

.
Ready for a tour of Microsoft new and innovative kitchen
Learning about the unique kitchens and how they all work together.

During the Microsoft tour, our group could see the various ongoing and up-and-coming kitchen operations there. We saw the 10 or so unique kitchens and how they all operate and work together to provide new opportunities for not only the cooks and chefs in the area but also a more diverse menu for Microsoft employees. Each restaurant has its own business plan, vision, and mission. Seeing all these different concepts was terrific because it gave us all ideas and applied the essential part of cooking, the business of it all, to a real-world situation. We then were able to join Chef Shular for lunch at his separate restaurant in the complex and had a fantastic meal there. He talked about how he became so knowledgeable about good business and how he got started in the first place. I’ll never turn down the opportunity to hear someone’s story because you never know what you might learn from them. Chef Shuler had a lot of great advice to offer to us all. The group of competitors and I appreciated the time I got to experience and see food businesses on a higher level.

At the Microsoft innovative kitchen tour.

Saturday: Competition – Practice, Preparation, and Presentation – When Months Become Minutes: It’s Serious Business!!

Six young chefs competed regionally earlier this year for a chance to become the United States champion. They had worked for weeks (and even months) with culinary coaches to prepare for their regional events. Competitors from the U.S. and other countries across the globe will face off next fall for an opportunity to achieve the international award.

L-R: Joseph Baffoe (Northeast), Sydney Hilzendeger (Pacific Northwest), Torian Jenkins (Southwest/Austin), Keegan Andrews (Southwest/Dallas), Michael Kennedy (Southeast), and Phil Gentry (Midwest).

These six young chefs got an early start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Atlanta’s Shular Institute to complete and artfully present three dishes—an appetizer, entrée, and dessert—within four hours. Along with the Shular Institute, Jones Dairy was a lead sponsor for the event. All six chefs were required to include the protein ingredient braunschweiger in one dish.

Four hours seems like a long time…until it isn’t! Regardless of how many times chefs practice and review recipes for dishes they may have made many times, they report that the competition is a stressful experience. Maintaining clean and safe conditions in the kitchen while exhibiting professional chef skills is all part of the process. Kitchen judges kept a watchful eye throughout the morning, making notes and ratings as preparation progressed. Delivering finished dishes on time to the tasting judges, who assess appearance as well as flavor, is critical. Being on time is another key metric.

After the judges completed their reviews, results were compiled to determine the winner of the competition. (No spoiler alert in this story: the big reveal took place at the Saturday evening Gala at the Thompson Hotel!) After providing feedback to the young chefs, the judges offered the same opportunity to guests at the event, explaining aspects of each dish that worked well and areas for improvement.

Thanks to the Judges!

 – Kitchen Judges

Mark Wright, Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Northeast.

Alan Romano, CEC/CCE/AAC, is professor of culinary and hospitality at Guilford Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Alan Romano, CEC/CCE/AAC

Mark Wright, CEC/AAC/HOBT, is a retired associate professor and department chair in the Hospitality Management Department at Erie Community College North Campus in Buffalo, New York. He is also the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’ Conseiller Culinaire Provincial for the Northeast Province.

 

 – Tasting Judges

John Coletta, Executive Chef and co-founder of Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar in Chicago, is also Conseiller Culinaire Provincial for the Midwest Province. He is an author and ambassador for Italian Gastronomy.

John Coletta, Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Midwest; Marc Dalyn Ty, Chef Rôtisseur; Jones Dairy executive; Chef Daryl Shular, Shular Institute.

Michael Ty, Vice Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionels des États-Unis Competitions, tallies the judges’ votes.

Isaiah Simon Chaîne Maître Rôtisseur and Vice Conseiller Culinaire Atlanta.

Daryl Shular, CMC, is chief executive of Shular Hospitality Group and a lead sponsor of the JCR Competition.

Isaiah Simon, ACF, Chaîne Maître Rôtisseur and Vice Conseiller Culinaire Atlanta, is Executive Chef at AmericasMart Atlanta, a wholesale trade center in downtown Atlanta.

Chef Daryl Shular and Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionels des États-Unis.

Marc Dalyn Ty, Chef Rôtisseur Las Vegas, is Assistant Executive Chef at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Judges provide feedback.

.
Shular Institute.

Christening A New Chaîne Kitchen: The Shular Institute

By any measure, a $20,000 check is a big one! As part of conferring the honor of an official Chaîne kitchen to the new Shular Institute, the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Foundation awarded a significant grant to support the Institute’s mission of “breaking the traditional culinary school model” by rethinking how to prepare chefs for the future.

Sean Rush, VP and Chef Daryl Shular, Shular Hospitality Group.

Founder Daryl L. Shular, CMC (Certified Master Chef – 2014), is a culinary rock star. Among his many accomplishments, Chef Shular was the first African American in the world to earn this prestigious title. A member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) since 1993, and a Certified Chef de Cuisine, Chef Shular was a member of the ACF United States Culinary Olympic Team in 2008. He later served as team captain for the International Culinary School Regional Team in 2012.

In 2005, Chef Shular was inducted into the American historical archives, known as “The History Makers,” making him one of the youngest—and one of a few African Americans—to receive this recognition. He was also inducted into the African American Chefs Hall of Fame in 2017. And that’s just the top line of his many accomplishments!

L-R: Rufus Cressend, Chancelier des États-Unis; Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionels des États-Unis; Jill Kummer, Bailli Pittsburg; and Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délegué des États-Unis.

Early on, Chef Shular recognized the value to his career of belonging to professional organizations such as ACF. He joined ACF while earning an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta (AIA), which was founded in 1949 and continues to confer credentials to creative industry professionals.

“It was at AIA where I learned the difference between being a chef and a cook,” Chef Shular said. Paying it back as well as forward, Chef Shular teaches culinary arts at AIA.

L-R: Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionels des États-Unis; Betty Sasenick, Chargée de Presse des États-Unis; Sean Ryan, Shular Hospitality Group; Cheryl Kenny, Bailli Provincial Southwest; Chef Daryl Shular, Shular Institute; Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délegué des États-Unis; Rufus Cressend, Chancelier des États-Unis; Richard Smith, Bailli Provincial South Central; Kevin Dunn, Executive Director of National Administrative Office; Jill Kummer, Bailli Philadelphia; and Robert Cugini; Bailli Provincial Pacific Northwest.

Chef Shular’s progressive resume includes Sous Chef at Atlanta’s Anthony’s Restaurant, Executive Sous Chef at the DoubleTree Hotel, and Chef d’Cuisine at Spice Restaurant. As a young chef, he won more than a dozen culinary competitions. Today his Daryl Shular Hospitality Group not only runs the new school but also FARMED Kitchen + Bar where guests have a ringside view into a 7,000-square-foot open kitchen and culinary test lab. In addition, aspiring culinary professionals participate in online cooking classes through Plateed and a culinary team shares the Hospitality Group’s great food at events through their Earth First off-premise catering.

L-R: Rufus Cressend, Chancelier des États-Unis; Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionels des États-Unis; Chef Daryl Shular, Shular Institute; Sean Rush, Shular Hospitality Group; and Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délegué des États-Unis.

So why a new culinary school? Chef Shular and his business partner, Sean Rush, believe that “the core of a successful food service operation is a more educated and business savvy workforce driving the standards needed for continued success on the national stage… “(Our) new form of hospitality education serves as a springboard for future industry leaders,” they said.

Both Chef Shular and Sean Rush were inducted into the Chaîne as Maître Rôtisseur and Maître Restaurateur, respectively, at Saturday’s Awards Gala.

Saturday: Learning Journey – A Trio of Demonstrations

Competition guests ready for a trio of demonstrations.

What a treat! While the young chefs sweated out the competition in the kitchen, we admiring spectators enjoyed three demonstrations (with tastes!) on how to make risotto; the differences between cured and uncured meats; and a tutorial on Vodka and Cognac.

How to Make Perfect Risotto Every Time

John Coletta, Consellier Culinaire Provincial (Midwest).

Chef John Coletta, Consellier Culinaire Provincial (Midwest), is Executive Chef and co-founder of Quartino Ristorante and Wine Bar in Chicago. He is also the author of Risotto & Beyond: 100 Authentic Italian Rice Recipes (available from your favorite bookseller).

In addition to a delicious taste of the final product—freshly prepared spring risotto—we now have a checklist of tips on how to make perfect risotto at home every time. Chef Coletta encourages home chefs to think like a pastry chef: follow the recipe precisely! There are three main secrets to consistently successful risotto:

Risotto “condiments” consisted of asparagus and mint.

Schular Institute staff serving Chef Coletta’s risotto.

The first secret is the rice selection. There are more than 100 types of Italian rice. Most recipes typically call for Arborio. Chef Coletta says that Arborio is best suited for Minestra Soup, not for risotto, because of its structure. Instead, use Carnaroli for risotto. Of all possible Italian rice selections, Carnaroli is the finest. Chef Coletta uses aged (seven years) Acquerello brand rice at his restaurant. Why? The package is vacuum packed and sealed in a can for storage, ensuring consistent moisture and even cooking.

The second secret is to cook the rice and condiments separately, combining them just before serving. Why? Rice cooks one way. The condiments (vegetables, protein, herbs, etc.) cook a completely different way. Many older Italian risotto recipes call for the “sofrito” method: sautéing onion, carrots, and celery in olive oil before adding the rice. Chef Coletta cautions against this method. The results are inconsistent. Instead, he cooks the rice with mineral water. Bonus tip: follow these same guidelines to prepare paella, adding the proteins at the end.

How to make perfect risotto.

And last but not least, don’t worry about exact cooking times. Get a feel for it! You will know the rice is done when the liquid is almost entirely absorbed. Only then should you add butter and cheese – a lot of butter and cheese! Gently sautée the condiments for a sparing one to three minutes. After adding half the condiments to the rice/butter/cheese mixture, the risotto is done when stirring with the spoon makes a “wave.” Top with the rest of the condiments, maybe even sprinkle on more grated cheese, and serve ASAP. Voila!

What is the Difference Between Cured and Uncured Meats?

Jones Dairy Farm display.
Jones Dairy Farm CEO Rick Lowry.

Rick Lowry, Ph.D. in food science, is president of Jones Dairy Farm and the lead sponsor of the JCR competition. A 20-year company veteran, Rick was the first non-family executive hired by the 133-year-old company. Seven generations ago, the Jones family migrated from Vermont to what is now the state of Wisconsin. Initially dairy farmers, the family is credited with being among the first cheesemakers in Wisconsin. As the business grew and diversified, they developed racetracks and hotels among other enterprises and in 1935, the family made a strategic choice to focus on sausage, bacon, and ham. “It’s all we do.”

Curing meat is both simple and complex. So is explaining the difference to consumers.

First let’s define the curing process. Meat is cured by the addition of nitrates (NO3) to any animal protein. When combined with sodium or a potassium carrier, nitrates automatically break down to nitrites (NO2), which in turn affect product taste (e.g., ham vs. bacon), color (pink), and preservation (aging potential). Salt is an important part of the curing process, contributing primarily to flavor.

“Cured” does not mean smoked or cooked. According to Rick, you can make any animal protein taste like ham if it is cured.

The process is relatively simple and straightforward. There only two basic methods: traditional (chemical) and natural (plant-based, or no artificial) methods. Most people believe that “natural curing” is better because you are consuming fewer nitrates and nitrites.

It’s not necessarily true. Buyer beware.

Read the label.
Jones Dairy executive preparing cured vs. uncured meat samples for the demo.

Understanding what you are buying, and how it was prepared is anything but simple. USDA regulations and labeling requirements are guaranteed to confound you, or at least force you to read the label details of every processed meat product you buy. If you love hot dogs, bologna, ham, sausages, and “non-specific” loaves such as mortadella, it is more likely than not that nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a chemical compound, was added to the meat.

Here’s why you need to read the labels and make your own choices:

• Processed meats labeled “uncured” are actually cured. WHAT?! If you read the label carefully, it will reveal the difference: the curing agent was plant-based. Plant-based curing began in 2004. There was no classification system before that time. The USDA only controls the amount of laboratory produced nitrates, not plant-based.

• Plant-based curing agents include ingredients such as celery juice extract and powder. Turnip greens have the most natural nitrate of any vegetable. Just to reiterate, though, the label will say “uncured” and possibly “no nitrites or nitrates added.” If the label says “not preserved,” it just means no artificial preservatives.

Cured vs. uncured meat.

Like any good food demo, we had a tasting comparing bacon and bologna cured from plants (celery) vs. lab nitrates. Admitting the power of persuasion, I preferred the flavor (and appearance) of the plant-based cured meats, shown in the photo with toothpicks to differentiate.

Jones Dairy leadership team; CEO Rick Lowry (center).

Rick Lowry’s final recommendation to the group was this: the biggest evil in food today is sugar. It’s in absolutely everything. Why? It’s cheap. It’s there for flavor only. You body doesn’t need sugar. We consume more sugar than anyplace else in the world. “It’s better than any drug you’ve ever had…”

That’s the Spirit!

Jenny Feldt hosted an educational session and tasting on Grey Goose Vodka, a huge success within the Bacardi company.

Jenny reminded the group that vodka can be made from any product that contains fermentable sugar from anywhere in the world. Potatoes, wheat, and rye are among the first raw materials to have been used in making vodka. This workhorse is the foundation of all other spirits because they all begin as a clear alcohol. And thus vodka is the most saturated market category with spirits.

Jenny Feldt and Nate Refell.

Jenny’s goal was to explain how Grey Goose—first bottled in 1997—is differentiated in a crowded vodka market. First, it is made from winter wheat which has greater complexity and more apparent citrus notes. It is distilled once in a continuous still instead of multiple times to preserve flavor congeners. Only Grey Goose uses single-origin Picardie wheat grown north of Paris and water from a natural limestone well in Gensac-La-Pallue (in Cognac) to craft a gluten-free spirit of exceptional character. Each presentation box is numbered according to batch.

Hailing from Cognac, Francois Thibault is maitre de chai (cellar master) for Grey Goose. He created the Grey Goose recipe. Sidney Frank, a billionaire American importer of wine and spirits, was a game changer for the Grey Goose brand. He wanted to move vodka into a respected category of spirits as he had done to popularize Jägermeister, a German digestif.

Nate Refell took us to Cognac for a taste of D’USSÉ, a “bold new expression of Cognac” (2012). The spirit is produced in the 200-year-old Château de Cognac which is situated on the Charente River directly across from Hennessy (1765). The D’USSÉ company was founded by Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter. Senior cellar master Michel Casavecchia curates the spirits. Where did the name come from? A French commune, expressed in all caps as a nod to JAY-Z who retains a 50% stake in the company.

D’USSÉ produces XO and VSOP style Cognacs made from Ugni Blanc and Colombard grapes grown in six cru vineyards. Technically, Cognac is a type of brandy made by distilling wine resulting in what the French call eau de vie. The Cross of Lorraine, a symbol of the daring spirit of noble men, appears on every bottle. Ninety-eight percent of the spirit is exported.

Tasting note for the VSOP: Deep amber, bouquet with woody notes with touches of cinnamon and floral notes, spice/almond/cinnamon on the palate; medium length/finish, smooth with scents of honey and dried fruits.

Saturday evening: Gala Awards Dinner and Induction Ceremony

An Induction and Awards Gala Dinner was the capstone event concluding a vibrant weekend in Atlanta centered on declaring the national champion of Chaîne’s JCR Competition.

Champagne reception.
Reception appetizers.

The evening started off with a Champagne welcome reception as everyone gathered for the festivities at The Thompson Hotel. Induction ceremonies were led by Inducting Officer Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délégué des États-Unis, who was capably aided by fellow Board member Rufus Cressend, Chancelier des États-Unis.

In total, 13 people were inducted into the Chaîne. It was a glorious moment for our culinary partners. Five of the six young chefs were inducted as Rôtisseurs. (Phil Gentry was previously inducted at the Cincinnati ceremony held May 15.) Three culinary leaders were inducted as Maître Rôtisseurs, including the local host of the JCR Competition, Chef Daryl Shular, and four people were inducted as Maître Restaurateurs. Wrapping up the general inductions, two people were elevated to new positions: Mary Ann Ty was elevated to Vice Chargée de Presse, Las Vegas, and Isaiah Simon was elevated to Conceiller Culinaire Provincial, South Central.

All inductees and elevations.
Chaîne officers and young chefs.

Special award to Robert Cugini to the Brillat-Savarain Foundation Hall of Fame.

Elevation of Chef Daryl Shular.

Académie Brillat-Savarin is a program within the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. It was created to promote excellence among the Society’s professionals involved in the food industry. With Reimund Pitz, Chancelier Général, leading the induction, Académie Brillat-Savarin hosted an induction of four Official Fellows: Robert Cugini, William Paul III, Glenn Hammer, and Mauricio Garcia. In addition, Robert Cugini was awarded a Hall of Fame medal.

Chef Michael Ty was awarded the Chairman’s medal. With him L to R: Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionnels des Etats-Unis-Unis; Jill Kummer, Bailli Pittsburgh Bailliage; Robert Cugini, Bailli Provincial Pacific Northwest; Glenn Hammer, Bailli Monterey Bay Peninsula Bailliage; Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis; Rufus Cressend, Chancelier des Etats-Unis.

Chef Michael Ty received the Hall of Fame Medal for his contribution and dedication to the program. The Hall of Fame Medal is the highest award that can be given out by the Chairman, with a majority vote of the Brillat-Savarin Board of Governors.

And the winner is: Joseph Baffoe, Northeast Province.
And the winner is: Joseph Baffoe, Northeast Province.

National JCR Competition winner

The highlight of the evening was announcement of the winner of the National JCR Competition. The overall competition winner was Chef Joseph Baffoe, from the Northeast Province (supported by the Connecticut Bailliage). Chef Joseph also won the award for the signature dish. Chef Phil Gentry was named first alternate. In the event that Baffoe cannot compete for the international award, Gentry will step into that role.

L to R: Reimund Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire et des Professionnels des Etats-Unis; Robert Cugini, Bailli Provincial, Pacific Northwest; Varin Keokitvon, Maître Rôtisseur Seattle Bailliage; Bertrand de Boutray, Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis; Betty Sasenick, Chargée de Presse des Etats-Unis; Peggy Reddy, Bailli Seattle Bailliage.

Last but not least, there was the five-course, fine wine dinner! The hotel’s wait staff capably navigated pauses in service for components of the inductions, a live auction benefiting Académie Brillat-Savarin, and special awards given to recognize achievements among leaders in the Chaîne. Given special recognition was the introduction of Chef Varin Keokitvon, who was the 2009 JCR National Champion. He now is a culinary instructor at Seattle Culinary Academy of Seattle Central College. Chef Reimund Pitz awarded a special Académie Brillat-Savarin medal to Chef V, as he is addressed by his students including Sydney Hilzendeger. To whet your appetite, here’s a quick recap of the meal, starting with perhaps the most divine Gazpacho and ending with a beautiful Sauternes!

Early summer gazpacho.

Halibut on succotash.

Truffled guinea hen.

Grilled striploin.

First Course: Early Summer Gazpacho
Miraval Rosé 2021, Côtes de Provence, France

Second Course: Halibut on Succotash
Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc 2021, North Coast CA

Third Course: Truffled Guinea Hen
Château Terrasson Cuvée Prevenche 2016, Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux France

Fourth Course: Grilled Striploin
CLOS DE L’OBAC 2010, Priorato Spain

Dessert Course: Grapefruit Curd
Château Laribotte Sauternes, Bordeaux France

Vive la Chaîne!

Special thanks to our lead sponsors, Shular Institute and Jones Dairy Farm. We are grateful for the generous support and participation of the following terrific group of sponsors:

• Banfi Wines
• Chef’s Hat, Inc.
• CLOS DE L’OBAC Winery
• Collet Champagne
• F. Dick Professional Chef Knives
• Encore Events
• Haute Caviar
• Justin Vineyards & Winery
• Legal Sea Foods
• Silversea Cruises
• J. R. Simplot Company
• Thompson Hotel – Buckhead
• The Towne Hotel

Copyright © 2023, The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. All Rights Reserved.