Kendall College Dinning Room

Magnificent Wine Dinner

Monday, March 12, 2012


A New Recipe for Raising Funds for Culinary Arts Education

By Jane Tracy, Bailli de Chicago

The generosity of the members of the Chicago Chapter towards Kendall over the years has resulted in the Kendall College Charitable Trust allocating a named scholarship to us.

The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Scholarship Chicago Chapter

The mission of this trust is 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.

A novel way for raising scholarship funds was crafted by Chicago members Conseiller Gastronomique des Etats Unis Hon. Roger Tracy and Officier/Commandeur Stephen Kaplan.  The idea was to create several sources of scholarship funding and at the same time have a fun evening with Chaîne members and guests, Kendall faculty and students and members of the Kendall College Charitable Trust. 

A five-course culinary dinner was prepared in the Dining Room of Kendall College by final year students on March 12. 

Kendall was asked to supply the dinner at no cost to Chaîne members (except raw material costs).  The students were coached by Maître de Table Restaurateur Christopher Koetke (Executive Director of the School of Culinary Arts) and Maitre de Table Restaurateur Hon. Pierre Pollin (Chef Instructor at Kendall).  Craig Schoettler, Executive Chef at Grant Achatz’s “The Aviary” offered his services to prepare cocktails for the reception in conjunction with some students who are following mixology classes.

We believed we could charge $395 for the dinner if we could incorporate some excellent wines with the menu.  We approached Chicago Chaine members with reputed deep cellars and an enthusiasm for supporting culinary education, to make donations of some great vintage wines.  We needed at least 60 fine bottles for the expected attendance and we were not disappointed. 

We worked on three angles for raising scholarship funds:

• 40 Chicago non professional members paid $395 each to attend the dinner.  It was established that $275 of the dinner price was tax deductible.

• We approached all our professional members and asked their establishments to buy one ticket for $395 and to send an appropriate member of their staff to the dinner.  Our professionals responded with enthusiasm and purchased 21 dinner tickets and included GM’s, Chefs, and Kendall alums who are on their staffs.

• We asked all our members who were not attending the dinner if they would like to make a cash contribution to the Chicago Chaîne’s Scholarship Fund.  A further $13,000+ was raised in this way.  These donations were 100% tax deductible. 

• Some donor members work for companies who provide matching funds for charitable contributions. The Chaîne USAS Foundation also provided its customary $1000 matching contribution.

The event provided a significant educational element for the students involved.  As usual we conducted a tasting/pairing exercise about five weeks before the event illustrating to the students that they could adjust their dishes, sauces etc. to take account of the wines’ characteristics.  Other students made up the wait staff and learned about complex fine wine handling and service under the tutelage of Chicago’ Vice Echanson Mon Roldan.

The event raised $35,000 for culinary education scholarships.  This will provide seven $5,000 Chaîne des Rôtisseurs scholarships which we have restricted to top junior and senior year students.  Two Chaîne members, Maître de Table Restaurateur Al Capitanini and Chevalier Allen Kutchins serve on the Kendall College Charitable Trust Board.  Al Capitanini also serves on the Kendall College Board.  It was a team effort.

Great satisfaction was derived raising scholarship funds whilst enjoying a fine dinner and magnificent wines!  Both students and guests had a fun and memorable time.  We might not do it every year, but I anticipate that we will do it again in the future.


Kendall College Dinning Room
900 N North Branch St
Chicago, IL

Reception: 7:00pm
Dinner: 7:45pm

Dress Code: Black Tie Optional with Decorations
BYOB Optional

On Monday March 12 2012, the Chicago Chaîne is organizing a culinary dinner at Kendall College to enjoy the culinary capability of some of Kendall’s top students together with a selection of the finest wines from several Chicago Chaîne members’ personal cellars. No one involved with the dinner will charge for any services; all receipts from the dinner except food raw material costs will go directly to the Kendall College Charitable Trust for student scholarships. In addition, Chaîne members who are not contributing wines are being solicited for a cash contribution to the scholarship fund – please see the attachment to this invitation – page 3. Tax relief on all donations is being organized to the maximum extent the law will allow.

Now for the fun part! The five course culinary dinner will be held in the Kendall Dining Room. The students preparing the dinner will be directed and coached by Chef Instructor John Stranick and supported by Chaîne member Kendall instructors past and present, Chefs Rôtisseur Marc Magiera and Pierre Pollin. Our Chaîne member wine collectors have been digging deeply into their cellars to contribute some old and mature, very fine and hard to find wines for your enjoyment. All the wines are from cellars with excellent storage conditions. The wines will be prepared and handled for serving at each course by Vice-Echanson Mon Roldan and Gastronomique National Hon. Roger Tracy to ensure you will enjoy these wines under optimal conditions.

In addition, Craig Schoettler - who is the Executive Chef at Grant Achatz’s The Aviary and who was recently nominated Beverage Professional of the Year by the Chicago Tribune - has agreed to prepare special cocktails for our dinner reception. This is a unique opportunity both for the Chaîne and for the Kendall students who will be involved.

You are invited to attend this special Chicago Chaîne event and support a culinary institution that prepares young men and women for a profession which has given and will continue to give much pleasure to all Chaîne members. The Board of the Chicago Chaîne together with Kendall Executive Director/School of Culinary Arts, Maître de Table Hôtelier Chris Koetke and Chaîne members of the Kendall Charitable Trust Chevalier Allen Kutchins and Maître de Table Restaurateur Al Capitanini look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the dinner. Seating will be limited so please respond early.