Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Chicago Chaîne Kitchen Opens at Kendall College
On January 22, 2013, the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts unveiled its new “Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Kitchen” at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Champagne reception attended by Kendall leadership and 40 members and guests of the Chicago Chapter, marking the first time that a U.S. culinary school has established a kitchen named after a Chaîne chapter.
Kendall College is ranked as the number one Chicago program for preparing students for culinary arts and hospitality management careers. The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the largest gastronomic organization in the world, and the Chicago Chapter offers its passionate professional and non-professional members unique and exclusive culinary experiences showcasing the city’s world-renowned cuisine and its impressive private wine cellar. More recently, the Chicago Chapter has added a philanthropic mission to its raison d’être: providing financial and other support to aspiring student chefs at Kendall College.
The new Chaîne Kitchen prominently displays a large, framed Bailliage de Chicago banner flanked by ribbons depicting the various ranks of both professional and non-professional members. Important Chicago Chaîne menus of special dinners over the years hang throughout the enormous space together with framed articles from the Chaîne’s international magazine, Gastronome, and other Chaîne memorabilia.
Jane Tracy, the Bailli de Chicago, remarked that, “The students who learn and work in this kitchen will be, on a daily basis, immersed and surrounded by Chaîne culture. They will go out into the world knowing about the Chaîne and the support that worldwide this international organization gives to young culinary students and professional members of the hospitality industry.”
The relationship between the Chicago Bailliage and Kendall runs deep. Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Christopher Koetke is the Vice President of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts; Maître de Table Restaurateur Al Capitanini, President of the Italian Village Restaurants, serves on the Kendall College Board and the Kendall College Charitable Trust Board; and Chevalier Alan Kutchins serves as the Treasurer of the Kendall College Charitable Trust Board.
The school established the “Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Scholarship Chicago Chapter” last year, and in March 2012 the Chaîne held an event that raised $35,000 to provide financial support for students of need and who are enrolled full time in the culinary and hospitality programs at Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts.
The evening began in a neighboring kitchen, where students prepared and passed a variety of hors d’oeuvres and counters overflowed with charcuterie and cheese, which paired delightfully well with Champagne, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a French Chardonnay.
Three recipients of $5,000 Chicago Chaîne scholarships worked at stations producing some wonderful hot hors d’oeuvres. Junior Brenda Martinez prepared a seared scallop on top of a plantain chip and jicama slaw with a mojo vinaigrette. Matthew Hoffman offered braised veal cheeks on top of cheesy grits with a pickled carrot and turnip that cut through the richness of the dish and offered a welcome textural and color contrast. And last but not least, Senior Rob Baki served a disk of pain perdu topped with warm duck confit and tasty tart cherry compote.
Later in the evening, guests gathered in the hallway outside of the new Chaîne Kitchen for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. David Kipley , one of Kendall’s directors, gave the opening remarks. “The support you’ve given the students is vital. It is life changing for so many of them because one of the biggest challenges that we find as a Board right now is bridging the gap that students have in trying to afford to pursue their dreams. And unfortunately in this day and age that’s getting out of reach for many of them and they’re having to make some very hard decisions that are going to affect the rest of their lives. So what your doing is of monumental importance because you are changing lives and letting students change their lives.
“The history presented to the students is sort of a bright beacon light that gives them some direction that says there’s more to this than reading through 500 pages of Escoffier. There is a depth to this, there is a tradition to this, there is an importance to what you are doing and pursuing. The association with the Chaîne allows us to do that and for that I am also extremely grateful and I couldn’t be prouder to have the Chaîne associated with Kendall College.”
Bailli de Chicago Jane Tracy also provided some remarks. “Our contribution to the scholarship fund, the named Chaîne des Rôtisseurs scholarship, allows us to give back to an industry that has given all of us so much dining pleasure and it also allows us to prepare a concrete path to the future.”
After introducing us to the three scholarship recipients who were preparing their own creations for the event, the Bailli welcomed Patrick Belsanti, the very first recipient of a modest Chaîne scholarship. Recently graduated scholarship recipient Joe Gancarz attended with Patrick Belsanti. After announcing that Chef Patrick is now employed at Alinea, Chicago’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, there was a round of applause.
“This is the reason why we have to be down here in the trenches. Patrick is tangible evidence of why we must do this. It not only says a lot about the dedication of his skills, but also the level of education that he got here at Kendall, and our scholarship is the vehicle that helped make that happen,” concluded the Bailli.
Bailli Tracy also announced that in June the national Chaîne has invited the Chicago Bailliage to host the finals of its Young Chef Competition at Kendall College, and proudly reported that the national organization will provide “an additional $24,000 for hosting the national finals of the Young Chef Competition.”
Finally, it was the moment we were all waiting for. On behalf of Kendall College, Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Koetke led the cutting ceremony. “As a member of the Chaîne and one of the employees here at Kendall, I’m sort of in both worlds, and tonight I couldn’t be prouder of what this chapter of the Chaîne has done with our students and what they will continue to do with our students and the kitchen you are about to see….And I will also say that an organization that understands education and the future and invests in it is a healthy organization. So to that I want to say a big thank you.”
After noting that the Chaîne and Kendall College share a common bond—the pursuit of excellence—the Vice-Conseiller Culinaire officially opened the Chaîne Kitchen. But it wasn’t a ribbon that was to be cut; rather, it was a heavy chain, a nod to the medieval French guild of roasters who used chains to turn their meat. Using enormous metal cutters, Koetke easily snapped the chain in two and guests eagerly strode into the Chaîne Kitchen.
All in attendance were delighted by the fascinating displays of the beautifully framed Chaîne memorabilia—awards, ribbons, buttons, articles, magazine covers and the prominent banner looked stunning in the space. As Bailli Jane Tracy proclaimed, “From this point on, the students will be constantly surrounded by, exposed to and reminded as they are educated in the culinary arts, that the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Chicago, in the United States and around the world is a gastronomic society that seriously recognizes young culinarians as they prepare to propel themselves into the future.”
This will be the very first time that a Chaîne kitchen has been established at a culinary school in the United States!
This unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony will cement our relationship with Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts. There is much excitement as we plan for this reception for Chaîne Chicago members, Kendall leadership and the development of our relationship with the students. For those of you who have not heard, our first scholarship student now has a full time position in the ALINEA kitchen.
Please do come and join us! We are planning that this Champagne reception take place between 6:30 and 8:30 pm on Tuesday 22 January. The students will be preparing and serving hors d’oeuvres. There will be a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and an unveiling and viewing of the Chicago Chapter’s Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Kitchen.
The kitchen will prominently display a large, framed Bailliage de Chicago banner. There will be framed ribbons depicting the various ranks – professional and non professional. Important Chicago Chaîne menus of special dinners over the years will serve as an historical documentation of the life of our chapter. Framed Gastronome articles will be strategically positioned around the kitchen as well as other Chaîne memorabilia.
From this point on, the students will be constantly surrounded by, exposed to and reminded as they are educated in the culinary arts, that the Chaîne des Rotisseurs in Chicago, in the United States and around the world is a gastronomic society that seriously recognizes young culinarians as they prepare to propel themselves into the future.
Please join us in support of this unique occasion to simply raise our glasses in support of Kendall College and our Chaîne kitchen!