It was when it was announced that there would be no condiments in the table, that I realized we were in for a spendid evening of amazing gourment food. After all we were at the Chaines Does Rotiseeur, which is basically an organization that's all about celebrating food in all its forms.
From simple to gourmet, it's a centuries old organization that has united lovers of fine food the world over. It's the oldest and largest food and wine society in the world.
Founded in the 13th century by King Louis IX, it's all about "preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table and to promoting excellence in all areas of the hospitality arts."
It was revived in the 1950s and renamed the La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs , inviting lovers of gourmet cuisine to be unashamed of their love for fine food.
It made its way to our shores in the 80s and it has grown to be one of the most prestigious organizations that chefs and those who appreciate good food, are members of.
We recently attended a gathering of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga. Hosted by Philip Mostert, the Bailli Délégué (national president), it was an enlightening evening where members celebrated, not only their final gathering of the year.
The invitation had come from Chef Shaun Munro who is, as the Bailli, one of the senior office-bearer of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in the region. He is known as the The executive chef of Elangeni Maharani, he was decked in his chaines with multiple badges. So were many members, including noted chef, Jackie Cameron of the Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine.
It was Cameron's student from her academy who had earlier in the day, won the region's Young Chef competition, where she competed against four other young chefs from various hotels in Durban. The Jeunes Chef Rôtisseurs Competition is an annual event which offers young chefs the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary skills in a competitive environment with their peers.
She now goes on to the national finals of the competition, where she stands to represent South Africa in the world wide Chaîne des Rôtisseurs competition, where some of the best young chef talent get to test their skills.
Back to the food- we were treated to a four course meal prepared by Chef Prenolan Naidoo of the Berverly Hills Hotel.
We had crocodile carpaccio, tomato confit, sherry glaze, citrus gel and rocket. With crocodile being game meat and it's always interesting how chefs intepret it. It was delicious and tender, and the citrus gel and tomato confit set it off nicely. It was a taste of the amazing food we had to look forward to. The meal was served with the Waterford Sauvignon Blanc 2017, which was a hit with the members.
Next on the menu was goat cheese and langoustine gnocchi, brunoise tomato, sage and salmon roe. The gnocchi was soft and you could taste it was freshly made.
We were really looking forward to the main course and we weren't disappointed. We had a duo of beef fillet and bolo, pickled savoy cabbage, buttered tender stem broccoli, onion and apple puree, crispy polenta nuggets and gremolata bone marrow butter. Heavenly. The fillet was tender and juicy. The broccoli was crispy and the nuggets? We wanted more of them.
*sigh* A dream! The picture looks gorgeous already, now imagine the taste? The dessert was a bitter dark chocolate mousse, chocolate mud cake with a liquid orange curd centre (divine!), orange macaroon (probably the best we have ever had) and orange dust. It was a masterclass on dessert creations and we couldn't have enough of it.
Being a member of the chaines is a big deal. Not everybody can be a member. You have to be recommended by an existing member and you are vetted by the organization head quarters in France. So being a member is not only prestigious, but something to brag about.
We loved how unapologetic the members of the organization are about their love of fine food and wine. We can't imagine how great they are in the kitchen.
The evening ended with confering of tokens of gratitude to members of the organisation, the chef and his team and with the words that no Chaîne des Rôtisseurs event is complete without: Vive Le Chaîne!