The Ritz-Carlton

Dinner Amical

Monday, September 27, 2010

Regional VP Patrick Ghielmetti* & Executive Chef Mark Payne



by Ethel Gofen, Officier Dame de la Chaîne

The first dinner of the new season—-a grand culinary journey through the deca Bar, the Kitchen, the Concorde dining room, and on to the Terrace/Pond of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago—-had some ecstatic diners naming this the best yet of all the Chaîne feasts they have enjoyed together. Canapés, some from the deca restaurant menu and some specially prepared for our group, included a Mediterranean fish soup, duck rillettes, oysters with orange and lavender jelly, leek and Vidalia onion tart, scallop ceviche, and Burrata cheese with fresh figs and aged balsamic vinegar, all paired with Champagne, Demoiselle Vranken Epernay NV and Champagne, Drappier Brut Carte d’Or Reims NV. 

On to the Kitchen, where many special wines from our cellar waited to be paired with foie gras and chicken liver pâté with orange Muscat , a glossy slow-roasted,marinated suckling pig and its dressing, delicate pan-seared scallops in black truffle butter with parmesan and polenta, perfect venison/juniper berry and also rabbit/apricot/pistachio charcuterie, and crisp calamari. Stunning screens with scenes of fall foliage and blooming flowers surrounded us in a friendly, casual setting where old friends caught up with one another and befriended newer members. All the glorious tastes thus far were merely leading up to two seated courses, for which we moved into the newly remodeled dining room. There Executive Chef Mark Payne welcomed us to enjoy his branzini and fennel confit flavored with lemon and salsa verde and also a rack of Colorado lamb with porcini mushrooms, butternut squash, and shaved Burgundy truffles. Vice Chancelier/Argentier Simeon “Mon” Roldan discussed the Château Pichon Baron, Pauillac 1995 and the Domaine des Perdrix, Nuits-St. Georges 1996 and explained that he and the chef had disagreed on which wine suited the meal better, and thus we could argue the merits of each among ourselves. What a delightful task! At this point, Chef Payne introduced his staff to much applause. Bailli Jane Tracy thanked Maître Hôtelier Patrick Ghielmetti for arranging this dazzling evening for us, and he introduced his team, of whom he is justly proud.  Our Bailliage has been dining at the Ritz-Carlton since 1985, and many members of the staff have been here for more than a decade during which we have enjoyed their gracious and skillful service.

Moving out to the Terrace, we discovered a grand assortment of artisanal cheeses:  Banon goat cheese, Cantal, Roquefort Carles, and Robiola Langhe.  Wines selected for sampling with these included:  Sancerre, Domaine Vacheron 2007; Touraine Sauvignon, Jacky et Pascal “Les Pillotières,” Loire 2006;  Riesling, Howarth’s Pycantha Hill, Clare Valley, Australia 2000; Crozes-Hermitage, Paul Jabolet Aine 2004; St. Joseph, Paul Jabolet Aine “Le Grand Pompee” 1994; and Vosne-Romanée, Daniel Rion “Les Charmes” Premier Cru 1980. Elegant desserts ranged from pot de café and pot de chocolat to lemon, apple financier, strawberry-pistachio and pear almond tarts. “Deca” chocolate cake honored the new name of deca Restaurant (“as in ‘10’ for the year 2010”), where Chef Payne offers brasserie selections featuring local and seasonal products and where we hope to come back frequently to a favorite neighborhood spot, sophisticated but never stuffy, and not just for “special occasions” but making every occasion truly special!


The Chicago Chaine Chapter is no stranger to the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and we have always been most fortunate to be so well represented within the management team of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts of which Ritz-Carlton Chicago is a part. Maître Hôtelier Patrick Ghielmetti, Regional Vice President for Four Seasons Hotels will be our host for the evening and we have planned something new and fresh.

We will open our Fall season 2010 with a Chaine “Diner Amicale”. Chapters of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs across the world often get together for these less formal gatherings – the aim of which is to encourage camaraderie without compromising our high culinary standards. The atmosphere is casual, invariably one of renewal with members meeting up after – as in our case – the summer months. The Ritz Carlton’s Executive Chef Mark Payne has put together a menu that reflects the philosophy and new thinking of dining well in today’s world – recognizing that we are in a different time.

Spring 2010 saw the début of the new ‘deca restaurant and bar’ at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and our menu will reflect the strong identity of the contemporary American/continental twists espoused by ‘deca’ and Chef Payne. We will move to various different spaces during our dinner enabling members to be able to catch up with everyone. The Champagne reception will be in the Deca Bar. Interactive appetizers will be served in The Kitchen with chef and his team. Vice- Chancelier/Argentier Mon Roldan will bring an interesting selection of cellar wines enabling members to try different pairings to encourage discussion and interaction with Chef Payne and fellow members.

Two seated courses with pairings will take place in ‘Concorde’ (formerly The Dining Room). We will move to The Terrace/Pond area for an array of artisan cheeses and desserts – again duplicating the idea of a selection of wines to accompany the cheeses and desserts for you to choose from.

Join us for our very first Diner Amicale that will propel us forward into a memorable beginning of our Fall Season! Space is limited to 65 so please sign up early!

This would be a wonderful opportunity to introduce serious potential members to meet us and us them.