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Grand Chapitre des Etats-Unis, San Antonio, (Texas) October 12-15, 2022

The mystique of San Antonio includes Missions, Mariachis and Margaritas! These were just a few of the treats awaiting Chaîne members when they arrived in San Antonio starting on October 12 to celebrate the 2022 Grand Chapitre. This center of Mexican culture in the United States offered something for everyone – from history and charm to fine food and wine.


A letter from the Chargée de Presse des Etats-Unis

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A successful, amazing and over-the-top 2022 U.S. Grand Chapitre brought many of us together in San Antonio, a vibrant city in South Texas. The weather was perfect, and our host hotel, the Grand Hyatt, was conveniently located next to the historic River Walk.

What also made this Grand Chapitre special was that for the first time in nine years we had Yam Atallah, International President, and Marie Jones, International Vice President, join us as the Inducting Officers.

A total of 30 events, activities and dinners were planned and seamlessly orchestrated by our Grand Chapitre Team, which included Conseiller Gastronomique des Etats-Unis Tony Hirsh, the local San Antonio team, Southwest Province officers, and the dynamic and hardworking team in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs national office.

You will find details of the seven Dine-Around restaurants, 10 daytime activities, two Bailli Education and Mastermind Forums, and all other Receptions, Dinners, Induction, Gala, and After Parties! One will definitely find something in common within all these events, that is the passion with the Chaîne and true Chaîne camaraderie throughout the four-day weekend.

A big thank you to the Cuvée Team, the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs national office team, and Kathy Shay, Chargée de Presse Provincial, Southwest Province, for helping to coordinate the information for this special issue.

Vive la Chaîne!

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Betty Sasenick
Membre du Conseil Magistral
Chargée de Presse des Etats-Unis
Editor-in-Chief of Cuvée

 

 

Dine-Arounds

One of the most celebrated events that takes place during a U.S. Grand Chapitre is Dine-Arounds. The local San Antonio team recommended top-notch and iconic venues for members for some of the best local tastes and what San Antonio has to offer. The Chaîne Grand Chapitre Team reserved private rooms, special tables and sometimes the whole restaurant for this exclusive experience. The Chaîne tables offered special menus and wine selections; there was something to satisfy every palate.

The Argyle

The Argyle is a private club located in Alamo Heights led by executive chef Jesse Villanueva. The club is devoted exclusively to the support of the lifesaving efforts of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Originally built in 1854, the club was the headquarters of a horse ranch, which extended from downtown San Antonio to the town of Boerne about 30 miles away. A lot of celebrities used to visit with lavish entertainment. The last restoration in 1956 maintained its rich past. Its Southern cuisine is unparalleled.

Biga on the Banks

Located in a spectacular setting in downtown San Antonio’s modern International Center, Bruce Auden, Biga’s owner and Chef, is a native North Londoner who is also well known for his adventuresome, original and creative menus. His pitch-perfect style brings a lighthearted touch to serious gastronomy. Chef Auden has been honored with multiple nominations to the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef/Southwest Award. Biga maintains the highest Zagat rating of any fine dining restaurant on the River Walk. The current location on the River Walk was built in 2000.

Boudro’s

Boudro’s was established in 1986 along the banks of the River Walk. Chef Danny Ibarra is an expert in combining the rich traditions and history of South Texas with the finesse of the world’s finest restaurants. The tableside guacamole presentation and the pear magarita can be enjoyed at either the restaurant with limestone walls, or a table along the River Walk, or on a barge while floating along the river. Cited by Esquire Magazine as one of the best 50 restaurants in the U.S., this Texas bistro features unique dishes such as grilled lamb chops with herb and peachy chutney and Boudreaux’s shrimp and grits with apple-smoked bacon, dishes that you can savor the special flavor of Southwestern cuisine for an exceptional experience.

Brasserie Mon Chou Chou

Brasserie Mon Chou Chou is a story of three Frenchmen. Chef Laurent Réa from Stratsbourg, Philippe Placé from Chartres, and Jérôme Sérot from Lyon met in San Antonio in 2001 by fate. They love preparing food, eating it, and sharing it. So they decided to found the Brasserie with a menu that highlights the cuisine of their homeland, enriched with fond memories of meals shared with family and friends. Many of the dishes are directly influenced by the trio’s respective grandmothers, as well as the many inspiring cities and diverse regions of France. Located in the historic Pearl District, the Brasserie gives its diners an all-around superb dining experience.

La Fonda on Main

La Fonda on Main is San Antonio’s oldest Mexican restaurant founded in 1932. Most of the items on the menu are true Mexican cuisine with some great Tex-Mex mixed into it. The dining room is in the traditional hacienda-style, with a lush and shady patio. It started with two sisters, Virginia Berry and Nannie Randall, opening a Mexican food-to-go shop. These two resourceful women supplied take-home Tex-Mex favorites to the neighborhood. In spite of the Great Depression, their little business prospered, and an opportunity presented itself to purchase the house across the street on Main Avenue and convert it to a restaurant. The risk was worth taking since La Fonda has become a favorite dining spot of history’s most celebrated people. Many famous officers in World War II have eaten here, including Generals Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Hill. President Roosevelt and President Johnson were also patrons.

A Way To The Heart

The first dinner to sell out, the restaurant is housed in a box car. Executive Chef Jerrel Williams, a veteran of the U.S. Army of eight years; Chef de Cuisine David Escamilla; Sous Chef John Dudley; and Chef de Partie Diego Gonzales met each other either as graduates of CIA San Antonio and are co-owners of the restaurant. This quadrivial of young expertly trained chefs came together to show that dreams do come true with hard work and dedication. “A Way to The Heart” is a unique food experience that took those of us who dined there on a journey that we were able to indulge in. The chefs challenged our taste buds with a new realm of food. The tables in the box car seat only two per table, with a maximum of 12 diners each night. The nine-course tasting menu was paired with stories presented before each course and were laced together to form an inspired culinary journey that will invigorate any gastronome’s soul. The menu rotates every three months and for the Chaîne Dine-Around Dinner, it celebrated the cuisine of Central America and the Caribbean.

Range

A distinctly Texan concept by Chef Jason Dady, Range pays tribute to the Lone Star State’s rich heritage and ranching culture. It is located in the heart of downtown San Antonio. Owner Chef Dady was recently named San Antonio’s top chef by Culture Map’s Tastemaker Awards and has outdone himself with this modern American chophouse restaurant. Range sources the highest quality local meats and produce. It also serves fresh seafood and oysters that are delivered daily from East and Gulf Coasts. One of the best aspects about Range is the exceptional service from the knowledgeable staff and our members definitely enjoyed the hospitality they received.

Activities

This year’s Grand Chapitre in San Antonio boasted a large and diverse number of activities for our members to enjoy. From tours to educational seminars to national historic sites, members had ample opportunity to really learn what San Antonio had to offer. San Antonio is a very unique city with excellent cuisine and art. It is also home to many different cultures that can all be appreciated and explored. Our members had the chance to see and experience a lot of what the city had to offer.

CIA Cooking Demonstration

What is not to like when there is a little friendly competition? The early risers went to the Culinary Institute of America San Antonio for a workshop. Attendees were divided into groups and their salsa and guacamole were judged with each winner receiving a certificate. The culinary creation was the sumptuous lunch that everyone enjoyed.

High Street Wine Company Seminar

High Street Wine Company was invited to conduct a seminar where different wines from the region were highlighted. Texas makes some of the best Tempranillo on the planet! French-style Merlot is also something to savor when it comes to Texas wine. Lastly, who would have guessed Texas produces some of the most beautiful and delicate Viognier on planet Earth. Our host from High Street Wine was Austin Tabbone and he was extremely knowledgeable about the region and was actually a former National Mondiale competitor at a Jeunes Sommeliers Competition!

Texas Dry Rub Seminar

Christian Apetz, Executive Chef of the Grand Hyatt, and his sous chef led a tutorial on the elements of making a good dry rub for brisket, steaks, chicken, and ribs. The attendees were taken into the Grand Hyatt kitchen where butchering skills were demonstrated. Afterwards members were shown how to make their own dry rub and how to apply it as well as cook it in their home.

 

Real San Antonio Tour and Lunch-Around at Devils River Distillery

Members started off this activity with a bus tour of San Antonio hosted by Austin DeTours. Members saw all the best sights in the city including historic buildings, street art, and even some haunted locations. All tour guides from San Antonio DeTours are San Antonio locals so they gave the tour a warm, inviting southwest charm while also being incredibly informative and fun. After their tour, members visited the Devils River Whiskey Distillery located in the heart of downtown San Antonio. Here members had lunch and tasted up to six different whiskeys as well as some creative whiskey cocktails. All of the whiskey made at Devils River is locally sourced and is certified Texas whiskey.

Briscoe Western Art Museum Tour and Lunch-Around at Mi Tierra Café

The Briscoe Western Art Museum was a special addition the Chapitre Team created for the members attending the Mi Tierra Lunch-Around. If members chose to visit Briscoe, they were shown many artifacts that helped craft the United States Southwest region as we know it today. San Antonio was one of the gateways to the West. Many of the artifacts feature the cowboy, Native Americans, and the art that evolved along with the landscape of the Southwest.

After touring Briscoe, members were treated to lunch at Mi Tierra y Panderia. Mi Tierra is one of the oldest Tex-Mex restaurants in San Antonio. It originally started as a three-table place for farm workers to grab a quick breakfast on their way to work and has now grown in size to be able to accommodate over 500 guests. Members who attended this lunch were given a variety of Mi Tierra’s best dishes to taste and enjoy. This includes nachos, quesadillas, tamales, tacos and Mi Tierra’s famous margaritas!

Tequila Tasting

Our host tequila company was Mar Azul. Mar Azul is a San Antonio based, family-owned company that focuses on making all natural, traditional tequila. Susana Sutton is the owner of Mar Azul and we were delighted to have her host our Tequila Tasting seminar. Members were also treated to a tequila sommelier, Fabien Jacob, who gave a wonderful presentation about the production of tequila and the best ways to consume it. Members left this seminar very happy!

Chaîne Liquor Lab – Margarita Edition

This seminar was led by the Grand Hyatt and their head bartender for the entire property. Members were once again led to the Grand Hyatt kitchens where they learned to mix three different types of margaritas properly and perfectly. Members were also shown two salsa recipes which paired with their cocktails beautifully. It was wonderful tasting margaritas that would not be on any old Tex-Mex menu, but rather be shown specific recipes crafted for the Chaîne.

Tastes of San Antonio Lunch Tour

Members who still had not had their fill of Texas Barbeque and Tex-Mex set out on a food tour hosted by Food Chick Tours. Our group made two stops. The first stop was at a traditional Texas smokehouse where members got to sample delicious BBQ and shown how to smoke brisket and other cuts of meat by a Smoke Master. The second stop was with a scratch house Tex-Mex shop where all ingredients were either made in-house or sourced locally. Members sampled slow-cooked and braised cuts of meat. The host and co-owner of the Food Chick Tours was Julia Rosenfeld, and she absolutely loved our group from the Chaîne.

San Antonio Historic Mission Tour and Lunch

This tour was another hosted by the Austin DeTours, a guided bus touring company that hires all locals from the San Antonio area, ensuring a very authentic and knowledgeable experience. Members who attended the Mission Tour got to see two of the historic missions in San Antonio. These missions were all built in the 1700s and still stand proud and tall today. Members had the chance to walk around and hear stories about these holy sites that are protected today as United States National Landmarks. After visiting two missions, members then headed to Blanco BBQ and were once again treated to some delicious Texas BBQ. No better way to eat like a true Texan!

Wine Pairing Class

Our Grand Echanson des Etats-Unis George Staikos hosted our final seminar of the weekend with a wine pairing class. Members who attended got to sample five different wines. The wines were paired with a crab cake, a risotto cake, and shrimp. George Staikos will begin plans for our upcoming Mondiale weekend in the spring 2023 and we look forward to seeing members attend!

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Bailli Training

A tradition that has been received with positive feedback and with participation by Baillis and Officers is the training being offered during this in-person opportunity. This year the training was expanded to two mornings instead of just one. The attendees woke up early to the smell of coffee and continental breakfast before a 90-minute Forum was led by Betty Sasenick, Chargée de Presse des Etats-Unis, in collaboration with Kevin Dunn, Executive Director of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, and Kathy Aber, Chaîne’s Membership Director.

Bailli Education Forum

The Forum included an overview of the Resource Library, a brand new creation and presentation of information in a specific login area on the website. Login specifics, general practices of Bailliage management, Induction, the reporting functions, and important policies and protocols to observe were discussed.

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Bailli Mastermind Forum

This Forum included a roundtable discussion of “Baillis helping Baillis” on how to manage a Bailliage in a more efficient way and grow the Bailliage. A group of new Baillis or Officers were paired with the more experienced Baillis Provinciaux and/or National Officers to share their experiences. Questions were provided where discussions arose among Baillis. It was a fantastic and structured exchange of ideas.

Receptions and Dinners

Fortitude Club Reception

The Fortitude Program was launched in 2021 for the membership drive. Any Chaîne member who has sponsored a new member will become part of the Fortitude Club. As a Fortitude Club member, one will receive a pin and an invitation to attend the Fortitude Club Reception held at the Grand Chapitre. Delectable appetizers were served at a champagne reception while members mingled, toasted, and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie.

Fortitude Circle of Excellence Dinner

Eight Baillis and their significant others were the guests of Bailli Delegue Bertrand de Boutray for their qualification of the Circle of Excellence. To qualify, the two Baillis of each province who recruit the highest number of new members in 2021 (10 minimum) or the Baillis who have the highest percentage (15% minimum) of the Bailliage total membership increase will be awarded a special medal. To qualify for this special dinner, which was held in a private room of the Paesanos Restaurant Group along the River Walk, the Baillis needed to be in attendance at the Grand Chapitre.

A great time was enjoyed by all with delicious Italian cuisine and plenty of wine before everyone returned while walking through the serenade and bustling scene along the River Walk.

Welcome Reception at Alamo

There could not have been a more iconic venue to host the welcome reception than the famous Alamo. Bailli Delegue Bertrand de Boutray welcomed all the members and guests, including special guests Yam Atallah, Chaîne International President, and Marie Jones, Chaîne International Vice President.

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Like all Chaîne events, the champagne and wine flowed. Margaritas and hors d’oeuvres were plentiful. While the attendees were sipping and savoring, an Alamo historian gave the attendees an interesting introduction to the history of Alamo that has stood for more than 300 years. The mission, which was originally founded by Catholic missionaries to educate Native Americans, is best known for the Battle of the Alamo that ended the lives of many Texans, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett as they fought the Mexicans led by Santa Anna.

As always, the reception was the perfect way to reconnect with old friends, many of whom were returning for the first time since Covid.

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Bailli Appreciation Night at San Antonio Country Club with Fiesta Theme

More than 200 Chaîne members and guests were greeted Friday night by a welcoming trail of pumpkins and mums at the San Antonio Country Club. Our group added bright colored attire with a Mexican flair in honor of the fiesta theme. Upon disembarking the coaches, the lively tones of an all female Mariachi group set a celebratory mood for the evening to welcome the arrivals of our members.

An historic venue, San Antonio Country Club began in 1904 to promote “golf, tennis and other innocent outdoor sports”. Its membership boasts many famous United States military members such as Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur Jr., Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. The Club is also home to many famous golfers such as Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and a young Tiger Woods. The grounds of the Club are extensive and host an 80,000-square-foot Main Clubhouse as well as many other indoor and outdoor entertainment venues.

After a relaxed cocktail hour both indoors and on the outdoor porch overlooking the lush golf course, the group entered a beautifully decorated dining room to pay tribute to the very hard working Baillis from around the country. Bailli Delegue Bertrand de Boutray hosted the ceremony as each Bailli was called to receive an attractive personalized pen to acknowledge their contributions.

Dinner was Texas style with three stations set up featuring salmon, beef and of course, in honor of the “Rôtisseurs”, a whole roasted pig! The accompaniments and the wines were nicely paired with the plentiful entrees. The station style setup allowed members to make new acquaintances as they traveled around the room to choose their delicacies. Multiple dessert offerings were shared at the table while an auctioneer revved up the group bidding on the evening’s auction items, raising a handsome amount for the Chaîne Foundation.

The boisterous bus ride back to the hotel capped off a fun evening with new and old friends.

Chaîne Foundation Reception

The Chaîne Foundation hosted a reception for all Foundation Friends as well as for those members considering joining the Foundation Friends Program. The Chair of the Foundation, Bryan Stirrat, welcomed the attendees with champagne and tasty hors d’oeuvres before our Gala festivities began.

Induction & Reception

When it was time to start the most sacred ceremony of being a Chaîne member, the procession of the Board of Directors with our Inducting Officers Yam Attalah and Marie Jones entered among the applause of the members. A total of 16 new members were inducted, and nine Officers were elevated. Numerous members received their Commandeur pins as well. Another champagne reception and passed around hors d’oeuvres prepared the members and guests for the grand finale.

Black-Tie Gala

The Grand Finale of the Grand Chapitre was spectacular. The black-tie gala took place in the elegant Grand Hyatt Ballroom where the décor is the epitome of sophistication and elegance in San Antonio. Executive Chef Christian Apetz, who is at the helm, is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University, an institution for which the Chaîne has sponsored many scholarships. Chef Christian has spent his career with the Hyatt Hotels, including those in Boston, Valencia, Austin, and Beaver Creek. He is now the Area Executive Chef for all Hyatt properties in San Antonio.

Chef Apetz and his world class culinary team presented a seven-course dinner that was in keeping with the Mexican heritage of his city including Ash Grilled Pulpo, a Spiced Ribeye with Tamal Frito, and a Honey Cake Layered with Lemon Cremeux and Lemon Ganache and topped with Honey Caviar and Bee Pollen Tulle. Even the palate cleanser of Coconut Lime Sorbet was noteworthy! Each course of the entire dinner was paired with exquisite wine that brought forth all the incredible flavors Chaîne members come to expect at a Grand Chapitre Gala.

Bailli Delegue Bertrand de Boutray presented additional awards to very deserving members before concluding the festive evening.

Chaîne After Party – Smoke Out, Late Night Bites

Many members remained in the ballroom to dance while some enjoyed another cigar on the hotel terrace and late night bites were set up in another room for those who still wanted to nibble a bite here and there.

The Gala was the culmination of a fabulous weekend like no other. It is with fondness that we will all “Remember the Alamo”. San Antonio was the perfect setting for the highlight and grand event of a Chaîne Grand Chapitre.

Sponsors

Acker Montecristo
Altadis U.S.A. Raise Away
Atlantis International Travel Silversea
Boisset Collection Tumi
F Dick Vine to Bar
Mar Azul WTSO

 

Gallery

The full gallery of images from the 2022 Grand Chapitre in San Antonio can be found on the main site menu under Event Photo Gallery or CLICK HERE

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