Monday, June 07, 2004
Executive Chef, Chef Rôtisseur Frédéric Castan & Maître Hôtelier Patrick Filatre
Sofitel’s “Chicago-Paris” Induction Dinner
A most alluring feature of the Chicago Chapter’s June Induction Dinner at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower was that it was to be a collaborative affair between two executive chefs - Chef Rôtisseur Frederic Castan in Chicago and Chef Phillipe Pentecote from Sofitel Sevres in Paris. Chef Pentecote brought with him his one star Michelin credentials and General Manager, Maitre Hotelier Patrick Filatre, steadfastly adhered to French culinary principles in that what we experienced bore all the hallmarks of an inspirational culinary environment.
A Beaufort Carte d’Or Grand Cru Champagne and exquisite passed hors d’oeuvres welcomed Les Intronisés during the reception preceding the Induction Ceremony. The “Chicago” room had been prepared for the Induction and Bailli Provincial Jill Kummer gave salient, historical details of the Chaîne as well as a contemporary and dynamic overview of La Confrèrie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in the 21st Century.
A springtime dinner atmosphere in “Paris” had been interpreted by Food and Beverage Director Fredrik Nyborg and his General Manager, Maitre Hotelier Patrick Filatre. A poached then grilled tian of Maine Lobster opened the dinner and was paired with a 1ere Cru Domaine Remoissenet Chassagne Montrachet Clos St. Jean 1994. Applying an unconventional approach, Chef Pentecote then had orchestrated a dish of perfectly smoked eel - its form on the plate resembling a sailboat. As we moved through this Induction Dinner it became evident that these were no ordinary chefs and that the technique worked. Chef Rôtisseur Frederic Castan epitomized the modern celebrity chef whose work promises long-term value and influence, and Chef Pentecote’s philosophy that, alongside culinary preciseness, inherent talent ultimately must be accompanied by a joy of sharing the table, and of promoting the humanity and conversation between family and friends that inevitably take place around that same table. These passionate men from France were adamant that dining exquisitely represented more than a means to nourish the diner – it became an artform; a vehicle of generosity of spirit, all in celebration of a sublime gastronomic landscape.
There was a very special energy behind the whole team that Monday evening, and the service was impeccable - never missing a beat. We had been in Fredrik Nyborg’s trustworthy hands. His attention to detail and desire to achieve perfection was impressive. Maître Hôtelier Patrick Filatre, who had opened this brand new Sofitel in Chicago, had inspired this effort and devotion. We left remembering the panoply of colorful dishes that had been set before us and the ideals of Phillipe Pentecote from Paris on his first visit to the U.S.A.