Induction & Gala Dinner: The Union League of Chicago

Saturday, April 09, 2016 –


Midwest Regional Assemblage, Induction and 50th Anniversary Gala

Todd Arkebauer, Vice Chargé de Presse, Chicago

The Chicago Bailliage of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, one of the brightest stars in the Chaîne galaxy, fêted its fiftieth anniversary on April 9th at the Union League Club of Chicago. The black-tie gala proved to be a stellar culmination to three days of convivial epicurean escapades around the Windy City, which included the Midwest Regional Assemblage and Regional Young Chefs Contest. Over one hundred participants from around the nation savored the tireless efforts and warm hospitality of Chambellan Provincial/Bailli de Chicago Mon Roldan and his golden anniversary team.

The gastronomic adventures launched on April 7th with BYOB dinners at two of Chaîne Chicago’s favorite restaurants. Chef Rôtisseur-Owner Phillip Foss welcomed twenty-six members to his south side Michelin-stared EL Ideas where he successfully strives to make fine dining cuisine and service fun and devoid of pretention. No walls separated the diners from chefs, and guests were encouraged to interact with the kitchen team, which on this evening included award-winning Chef David Posey (Blackbird) and Milwaukee’s Justin Carlisle of four-star Ardent. Meanwhile, on the north side of town, members experienced the two-star progressive American cuisine of Chef-Owner Jake Bickelhaupt at 42 grams, a concept that Chaîne Chicago has followed from supper club to one of the city’s hottest fine dining destinations.

Events accelerated on April 8th. While officers held meetings throughout the day, Chaîne Chicago hosted an iconic high tea at The Drake while others explored the city’s abundant attractions. In the late afternoon more than three dozen visited the “Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Kitchen” at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, the first U.S. culinary school to establish a kitchen named after a Chaîne chapter. Members were delighted by the fascinating displays of framed Chaîne memorabilia—awards, ribbons, buttons, articles, magazine covers and a stunning banner.

Later that evening, thirty members enjoyed Chef-Owner Ryan McCaskey’s contemporary interpretations of classic American cuisine at Acadia. Chaîne Chicago has hosted two events in recent years at this fine dining restaurant in the South Loop, and members were especially excited when this establishment earned two well-deserved Michelin stars in 2015.

On April 9th, the Chicago Bailliage hosted the annual Midwest Regional Young Chefs Contest at Kendall College and crowned Chef Christo Vlahos, 23, Best Young Chef, Midwest. The competition was closed to the general public, but ten Chaîne members had the opportunity to observe the young chefs working their magic in the kitchen while dining and drinking fine wine.

Unquestionably, the weekend’s highlight was Chaîne Chicago’s 50th anniversary gala dinner. The festivities at the Union League Club of Chicago began with an induction ceremony where six Dames de la Chaîne and ten Chevaliers were formally inducted, and eleven members were elevated, including James E. Burr as Grand Commandeur. More than a dozen members were then inducted into the Chaîne’s Société Mondiale du Vin. An all-star team presided over the ceremony, including Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis Harold Small, Chancelier des Etats-Unis Heinz Hofmann, Bailli Provincial Renee Wilmeth and Echanson Provincial Randall Crocker.

A superb dinner followed a Champagne reception. The menu was a celebration of classic gastronomy replete with luxury ingredients like caviar, lobster, venison, foie gras and morel mushrooms. Many of the wines selected from the legendary Chicago Chaîne cellar were from vintages ending in “6”, a nod to Chaîne Chicago’s 1966-2016 anniversary, including a 2006 Chablis from Domaine William Fèvre, Grand Cru “Les Clos”, which was poured from magnums; 1996 Château Calon-Ségur from Saint-Estèphe poured from double magnums; and W&J Graham’s Vintage Port from 1966, the bailliage’s inaugural year.

Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis Harold Small gave his sincere compliments to Chambellan Provincial/Bailli Mon Roldan and “the fabulous Chicago Bailliage officers team for creating an exceptional 50th Anniversary dinner and celebration. This evening capped a terrific weekend including good meetings at the Assemblage and a wonderful Young Chefs Competition orchestrated by Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Chris Koetke. Maître Rotisseur and Executive Chef Michael Garbin and his culinary team did an exceptional job. Renee [Wilmeth] recognized her terrific regional officer corps and they deserved the kudos as does she.”

By all accounts the three-day extravaganza hosted by Chaîne Chicago was a triumph in the true tradition of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs worldwide—drawing upon tradition, elegance and gastronomy. Vive la Chaîne!



8:00am – 4:00pm
2016 Midwest Regional Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition
Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
Riverworks Campus, Chicago

6:30pm – 7:30pm
Induction, Elevations and Honors
Union League Club of Chicago
French Room, Room 710, 7th Floor

7:30pm – 8:00pm
Champagne Reception & Passed Hors d’Oeuvres
Union League Club of Chicago
Main Lounge, 2nd Floor

Announcement and Awards
2016 Midwest Regional Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs
Competition Winner & Chaîne Midwest Representative
to the 2016 Chaîne US National Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs
Competition in Sarasota, Florida
Union League Club of Chicago
Main Lounge, 2nd Floor

Classic Cuisine Five Course Dinner
Union League Club of Chicago
Main Lounge, 2nd Floor

Presentation of Checks and Donations on Behalf of:
Chaîne Chicago, Chaîne Midwest Region and Chaîne Foundation
Chaîne Scholarship Fund at Kendall College Trust
Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
Riverworks Campus, Chicago


February 15, 2016

Dear Confrères and Consœurs,

It is with great pleasure and pride that we invite you to celebrate Bailliage de Chicago’s 50th Anniversary.  To coincide with our commemoration, we will be hosting the 2016 Midwest Regional Assemblage and Midwest Regional Young Chefs Competition, April 7 to 10, 2016. Our official hotel is the Union League Club of Chicago.  Kendall College is honored to host the regional Young Chefs competition.

We have designed a wide variety of activities for you to experience Chicago: its iconic skyline, rich museums, rhythmic jazz, cutting-edge food and wine offerings and Midwestern charm and warm hospitality.  There is something for everyone to explore and enjoy.

We encourage you to consider coming to Chicago on Thursday so we can introduce you to several unique restaurants that are typically difficult to access.  These Thursday-night venues are Michelin-starred, BYOB, micro-dining places with pre-fixe tasting menus run by young talented chef/owners.  Seating capacities of these restaurants range between 8 and 26 guests. We ask that you rank your preferences but final site selection will depend on registered guest count as we want to buy-out these venues.  Alternatively, for those who wish to dine at iconic restaurants such as Alinea, Grace, Everest, etc., we can assist you with your reservations.

Please note that this year’s Assemblage schedule is a bit different than in the past.  We will conduct all official Assemblage business and meetings on Friday, April 8th.  Guests will have Saturday free to attend the Midwest Regional Young Chefs Competition, join the organized activities or leisurely explore Chicago on their own. 

The Midwest Regional Assemblage officially commences on Friday, April 8, 2016.  Registration will be in the morning followed by a working lunch for Baillis and an “all-Chaîne” meeting open to all members to hear the latest updates from US Bailli Délégué Harold S. Small.  In the evening, we will have our first official dinner at a chosen restaurant following a tour and Champagne reception at the Chaîne Kitchen at Kendall College.

On Saturday, April 9, 2016, we will hold the Midwest Regional Young Chefs Competition at Kendall College.  For a fee, we will allow twenty individuals the chance to vicariously experience the competition –  up close and personal – by observing the chefs in the kitchens, as well as learning how judges work, along with a sumptuous lunch and wine tasting.  All net proceeds will go to fund the $2,500 Midwest Regional donation for the Chaîne Foundation matching fund.  On Saturday evening, the Union League Club of Chicago will host our black-tie Induction, Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner. Chef Michael Garbin, who is no stranger to the Chaîne, will delight us with a 5-course menu accompanied by chosen wines sourced from the famed Chaîne Chicago cellar.  The winner of the 2016 Midwest Regional Young Chefs Competition will be announced during our dinner.

For those guests not attending the regional meetings or who desire to explore Chicago, we have made arrangements for guided museum tours, wine tastings, shopping and other fun activities.  Please review the attached materials and registration form.  We urge you to sign up early.  Many of the events and activities have limited capacities and are expected to book up quickly.  Deadline for registration is March 5, 2016.  We will send each registered guest a confirmation letter by March 10, 2016 detailing his or her registered activities.

To Baillis who have candidates for induction and elevation, kindly furnish us your candidate’s names and ranks.  Please make sure that you have completed your induction/elevation paperwork and submitted same to Ms. Linda Muldoon of the National Office.

If you are sponsoring a Midwest Young Chef Candidate, please ensure you work with Regional Culinaire Chris Koetke directly to coordinate your candidate’s competition, accommodation, and dinner reservations.

Please join Chaîne Chicago and allow us the privilege of showing you the Windy City while we celebrate our 50th anniversary and the region’s best young chefs!

Vive la Chaîne!