Sofitel Chicago

Monday, February 22, 2010

General Manager Maitre Hotelier Nicolas Pesty*, Chef Rotisseur Martial Noguier*



By Ethel Gofen, Officier Dame de la Chaîne

Vive la France!  Executive chef Martial Noguier’s hors d’oeuvres were so delectable at our Sofitel Chicago Water Tower dinner that one could happily have made an entire meal of them: foie gras torchon with shallot jam, Kumamoto oyster with cucumber gelée, “Martial French Sushi” with enoki mushrooms and mushroom foam, quail egg with sea urchin and lobster foam, and peekytoe crab on croustade, all paired with versatile NV Champagne Duval-Leroy “Cuvée Paris” Brut. With our Chaîne logo projected on the walls, we reveled in warm welcomes first from Bailli Jane Tracy and then from our toastmaster for the evening, Maître Hôtelier Michel T. Lama, who completed his culinary poem with “Vive la Chaîne” and a toast to the chef.

Chef Martial gave the food commentary, while Vice-Chancelier/Argentier Simeon “Mon” Roldan discussed the all-French wines chosen to complement these dishes. As the 2005 Pernard-Vergelesses, Château de Chorey “Les Combottes” was poured, Mon suggested tasting the wine first alone and then paired with the cold marinated Alaska salmon to notice the subtle interplay between the two. Caviar, avocado, smoked onion purée, and lemon vinaigrette enhanced this elegant dish. Next, a ballottine of Swan Creek rabbit encompassed bacon and artichoke in the roulade and was garnished with colorful pickled vegetables, all miraculously balanced by a 2006 Chassagne-Montrachet Château de la Maltroye. Australian suzuki (akin to the French loup de mer) was flavored with parsley purée and carrot foam and matched with the 100% chardonnay 2006 Gevry-Chambertin, Rossignol-Trapet. While savoring these treats, we discussed the unique pairing of red wine with the fish and white wine with the rabbit, as had been urged by Chef Martial.

Hudson Valley wild duck was plated with a ragout of black trumpet mushrooms and duck confit, sunchoke purée, black truffles and hints of chocolate and was matched with a favorite wine of the evening, the 1996 Musigny, Prieur Grand Cru. Another fabulous red, the 1989 Cos d’Estournel St. Estèphe, accompanied the delicious cheese course—-shaved Petit Basque served with fruit compote, homemade hazelnut bread, and a port wine reduction. Finally, a beautiful arrangement of spiced financier, orange ginger cremeux, mandarin sorbet, and candied kumquat merited an equally gratifying Banyuls, Vial-Magnères ‘Tradition Age 4 Ans.’

Traditional jellied fruit squares completed the French banquet of fascinating dishes not on the regular menu of the Café des Architectes, the popular restaurant in this hotel. Bailli Jane Tracy praised Chef Noguier for his superbly executed “Martial Arts” (pun intended).  Michelle Willey, the Banquet Director, introduced her staff and Chef Martial thanked his talented assistants. We applauded them all as Vice-Conseiller Gastronomique Deborah Gross gave each one our Chaîne pin. Jane commended Chef Martial on winning great accolades for the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower and presented both him and Michelle with crystal decanters, hoping they will remember this night with as much pleasure as we surely will.


We are pleased to announce that our February Chaîne dinner will take place at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. It was in June 2004 that the Chicago Chapter first held a dinner at the Sofitel in Chicago. This will be our third Chaîne dinner in this world-class and leading establishment.

The General Manager, Maître Hôtelier Nicolas Pesty, is an enthusiastic part of the professional membership body of our Chapter, and is highly supportive of our organization. This, together with Director of Catering Michelle Willey ensures a most memorable evening for us.

Our Chapter is very familiar with Sofitel Executive Chef, Chef Rôtisseur Martial Noguier and the success he has brought to the Café des Architects. Martial’s culinary philosophy reflects an amalgamation of classic French cuisine and contemporary sensibility. Martial brings many years of experience to the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower team.

Exemplary wines will be chosen from our cellar to complement a menu designed uniquely for our dinner. It is certain that we will together witness another display of talent, kitchen orchestration and synchronous service. The hard work and artistic love that goes into Chaîne events is something most unique to our organization.

I look forward to welcoming you to another evening of elegance, grace and high culinary excellence.