Monday, February 20, 2012
NEW CHEF DAZZLES IN TRUMP TOWER’S SIXTEEN
Our third visit to Sixteen combined an inspiring induction of 16 new members, two elevations, and two membership transfers presided over by Conseiller Gastronomique des États-Unis Honoraire Roger H. Tracy with an elegant dinner produced by Trump Tower’s newly arrived Chef Thomas Lents. Bailli Jane Tracy thanked our professional members whose passion makes Chicago’s dining scene so vibrant and welcomed especially the new younger members moving us boldly into the 21st century. Maître Hôtelier Colm O’Callaghan, the Vice President and Director General of Trump International Hotel & Tower, gave the traditional toast to members and their guests. Bucking a trend of casual hotel dining rooms, Chef Lents brilliantly demonstrated how he upholds the traditions of fine dining that we cherish.
The hors d’oeuvres highlighted dayboat scallops and then crispy pork belly with pickled black trumpets each served on a spoon, beef carpaccio with truffle fondue in a pastry shell, and lastly a glass of potato and leek soup, all matched with NV Champagne Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs d’Ay. An oyster amuse bouche was paired with 1999 Champagne Bruno Paillard Brut, while Alaskan king crab with ossetra caviar, fennel salad and citrus vinaigrette was paired with a memorable 2006 Paul Pillot Chasssagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos St. Jean. A ragout of morels and crawfish was bathed in a luscious Chateau Chalon emulsion and was paired with 2007 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Forgetting our cholesterol counts, we next eagerly tucked into poached duck foie gras in a ginger and leek bouillon stylishly poured from a Chinese teapot – heavenly! 2008 Martin Schaetzel Gewürztraminer Cuvée Réserve provided its very good match. A 1995 Arnoul Clos de Vougeot Crand Cru accompanied the sturgeon which was generously enhanced with black truffles and artichokes.
Beef cheeks with brussel sprouts, bone marrow and oxtail jus was paired with a great vintage 1990 Château Cos d’Estournel. The cheese course—-blue d’Auvergne with quince vinegar and pistachio shortbread—-brought forth a Washington State Bordeaux blend, 2005 De Lille Cellars Chaleur Estate Proprietary Blend. Finally, a German Riesling—-2007 Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Auslese—- paired well with almond cake garnished with poached cranberries, sour cherry jelly, and redcurrant ice milk. Vice Échanson/Caviste Simeon “Mon” Y. Roldan presented the wine commentary throughout the dinner. Bailli Jane Tracy welcomed Chef Lents back to Chicago and thanked his team on our behalf for a wonderful evening that, as we noted on the Wrigley Building clock that forms part of the stunning panoramic view from Sixteen’s windows, ended on the stroke of midnight.
The Induction Dinner is the high ceremony of our gastronomic year – and this gala event is a tradition for our Chapter where high ceremony, elegance and gastronomy depict the hallmarks of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Our host for the evening will be Trump International Hotel & Tower. This property has been very supportive of our organization led by long time Chicago Chaine member Vice President/Managing Director Maître Hôtelier Colm O’Callaghan. I am certain that we all enjoy a stunning and memorable evening.
As you have no doubt read and as we posted on our Facebook page, Trump International Hotel & Tower has recently appointed Thomas Lents as the Executive Chef exclusively for Sixteen. Chef Lents began his career as executive sous chef of Chicago’s Everest. After a five-year tenure, he moved to Dublin, Ireland, where he worked as a sous chef in charge of the wild game and seafood departments at the Michelin two star-rated Thornton Restaurant inside the Fitzwilliam Hotel. During his time abroad, Chef Lents took advantage of his proximity to England and staged in several acclaimed kitchens, including the Michelin three star-rated Waterside Inn in Bray and Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons in Great Milton.
Upon returning to the United States in 2007, Thomas accepted a position at the Michelin three star-rated, five- diamond Joel Robuchon at The Mansion inside Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. Following a stint at San Francisco’s Michelin-rated Quince Restaurant, he then became the first American to serve as chef de cuisine of Joel Robuchon’s namesake restaurant.
This gala evening promises to be in the true tradition of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs worldwide. Please join us to welcome new members, discover a new and exciting chef in Chicago, and to celebrate friendship and conviviality.