Monday, December 13, 2004
David Danielson*- Executive Chef
Chicago’s Torch Passes in The Empire Room
The Empire Room of the Palmer House in Chicago is no stranger to the historical. Napoleonic themes of leadership, décor and impact dominate the imperialistic atmosphere of The Palmer House’s famed Empire Room of the 1930’s where leading celebrities came to add prestige to their illustrious careers such as Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack and Liberace to mention but a few. Vice-Chancelier Argentier and Palmer House General Manager/Area VP Hilton Hotels Gary Seibert’s remarks explained the extensive refurbishments that had restored the gold leafing, the chandeliers and original Tiffany window handles to their former glory.
Bailli Délégué David Wilson and his roasting spits elevated and inducted a baker’s dozen during the dinner itself. It was an historic moment for the Chicago Chapter’s Holiday Dinner as it heralded in a new Bailli, a new Vice-Chancelier Argentier and a new Vice-Conseiller Culinaire . After ten years of passionately leading the Chicago Chapter, Bailli Roger Tracy solemnly placed the Bailli ribbon on the shoulders of Heinz Kern, anointing his leadership to carry the Chapter on its way. The freshly elevated Bailli de Chicago sensitively recognized the hard work and dedication of Roger Tracy’s contribution to the Chapter. This was complemented by Bailli Délégué Dave Wilson amplifying the international ambassadorial aspect of Roger Tracy’s work for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and awarded him with the Gold Star of Excellence. Amid applause Roger responded with typical English humor announcing that he had actually run out of recipes!
The waitstaff - in tails - expertly served Chef Rôtisseur David Danielson’s series of carefully crafted dishes for this significant evening which included a salt cured salmon tartar and a captivating Garretson Viognier “The Chumbra” 2003. A 1990 Premier Cru Vosne Romanée “Les Suchots” paired well with the juicy winter truffles accompanying the roasted fillet of veal. The cheese course gave us the privilege of being able to swirl, smell, breathe and savor a 1982 Chateau Palmer Margaux.
Throughout the dinner, music evoking Franz Bentler and his Strings created an atmosphere of nostalgia as we listened to six violinists playing renditions of Anything Goes, I Could Have Danced All Night, Wunderbar, Edelweiss and selections from The Phantom of the Opera. It was magical.
Finally, the Executive Chef, his staffs, the waitstaffs, Officers of the Chicago Chapter and Palmer House management assembled on the stage amidst much applause and recognition.
A quote from the toast summed it all up - “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away”. This was one such evening.