Events

Chicago’s First Lady Boat Cruise on Chicago River

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Review

Chicago CHAÎNEOISERIE On The Lake

By Jane Tracy, Vice-Chargée de Presse

Chicago CHAÎNEOISERIE On The Lake
By Jane Tracy, Vice-Chargée de Presse

The imaginative style of “CHAÎNEOISERIE” reflects a fascination by gastronomes with the luxurious side of the culinary arts reaching back to Thirteenth Century France. With temperatures and heat index over 100 Degrees our traditional boat cruise on Chicago’s First Lady brought out the dedicated who regularly rejoice in embracing those fanciful poetic notions that accompany the eating of fine foods and the drinking of intelligent wines.

It had not always been that way, of course. The taste for Chicago Chaîneoiserie faded during both the various Revolts and ultimate unfortunate dominance of the Fast Food style, but a revival in the mid-20th Century, led by stalwarts, lakeside, then began to produce opulent fare. The lure of French menu designs based on classic models produced timeless symbols for the heartland chefs. They took the ball and ran.

Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Heinz Kern was one of them. He was there right from the start of the renaissance. Intimately involved with management of Hyatt Hotels over many incarnations and many years, he fostered a cultural exchange between Europe and America and became a leader in the demanding culinary circles of our city. Heinz enriched our summer evening by serenely crafting and honing a menu and a professional team to conclude this current Chaîne season.

A refreshing, yet sentimental sweetness evoked the character of the chilled Peach soup opening the menu and was served in a glass cup. This was followed by vibrant dinner platters, which created fantasy scenes comprising arched shrimp clutching Kumquats amid swirling shapes of balsamic sauce. There were seared scallops behaving perfectly upon mirrored trays, surreptitiously hiding the kick of jalapeno! Opulent lobster medallions haughtily cast looks of disdain trying to avoid the clamor of our enthusiasm. Luminous colors were paraded across the deck - orange, bright pink, mauve, yellow, red. Capricious pieces of beef and pork tenderloin lounged in the sultry air happily invigorated by high-colored purple vegetable figurines evoking the extravagant excesses of the Rococo. Bin ends from the cellar comprised the wine choices and we rummaged good-naturedly among the treasures.

An Italian duo gustily sang in their native tongue reminding us just who, in fact, taught the French their art. And so, in the shroud of humidity, The First Lady of The Lake slipped quietly back toward the shore in truly Americanesque fashion facing the compelling skyline after having treated us to a sumptuous feast of images and sensations.