With more than 750 years of history and nearly 25,000 members in over 80 countries around the globe, La Chaine de Rotisseurs is a force to be reckoned with, also in Phuket. But what is it and why should you care?
What is La Chaine de Rotisseurs?
The written history of the guild of “Les Oyers” or “Goose Roasters” has been traced back to the year 1248. At that time King Louis IX, assigned Étienne Boileau, the Provost of Paris, with the task of bringing order into the organization of trades and guilds, developing young apprentices and improving the technical knowledge of guild members. He gathered together the charters of more than 100 of these trades, among them the Goose Roasters.
Over the years, the activities and privileges of the Goose Roasters Guild were extended to preparing and selling all kinds of meat, including poultry and venison.
In 1509, during the reign of King Louis XII, some new statutes were introduced, which resulted in the change of the name of the guild to “Rôtisseurs” and its activities were restricted to poultry, game birds, lamb and venison. In 1610, under King Louis XIII, the guild was granted a royal charter and its own coat of arms. The arms consist of two crossed turning spits and four larding needles, surrounded by flames of the hearth on a shield encircled by fleur-de-lis and a chain representing the mechanism used to turn the spit. The outer chain along with the legend was added in 1950 to represent the bond which unites the members of our society.
For over four centuries, the “Confrérie” or brotherhood of the Roasters cultivated and developed culinary art and high standards of professionalism and quality—standards befitting the splendour of the “Royal Table”—until the guild system was disbanded, together with all others, in 1793 during the French Revolution. The Rôtisseurs were almost forgotten until 1950 when Dr Auguste Becart, Jean Valby and “Prince” Curnonsky, and chefs Louis Giraudon and Marcel Dorin resurrected the Society and created La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
La Chaine today
Today La Chaine de Rotisseurs has a presence in more than 100 countries on 5 continents, with nearly 25,000 professional and amateur members. Of these nearly 7,000 are prestigious professionals encompassing all disciplines of culinary arts and the remaining 18,000 are Non-professional members who are passionate about culinary arts and fine wine.
These chefs and sommeliers work in more than 2,200 restaurants around the world, including famous names in the culinary world. In addition, there are senior Managers of some 3,000 high-end establishments around the world
But the community is wider than that with nearly 180 Private Clubs, more than 200 International conferences, facilities & services companies, more than 200 prestigious universities, hotel and cookery schools, 250 vineyards in some of the most beautiful winemaking regions and wine wholesalers and nearly 90 Cruise Lines and Airline companies
Baillage Phuket 2003 – 2018
La Chaine was established in Thailand in 1974 and 2003 in Phuket
La Chaine Phuket was the idea of the late Tom McNamara, owner of Baan Rim Pa group, as he had attended a number of Chaine events in other countries and thought it was time Phuket had a high-end gourmet association dedicated to great food and wine.
La Chaine in Phuket was then founded in 2003 by Geoffrey Bond (his father Michael Bond still attends dinners in Bangkok after almost 40 years in the Chaine). The first Intronization ceremony which is the induction of new members was held in December 2003 at the Evason Resort, Rawai.
The first Bailli was Tom MacNamara, and together with some of his staff from Baan Rim Pa such as Stephen Roberto, the Sommelier and our own Sue Altmann, was a driving force to get the Chaine going. They were supported by Chaine members from Hong Kong and Australia. Tom sadly passed away in late 2008.
Of the original 15 members there are some still here; Peter & Joyote Smith, Thomas Brack and Sue Ultmann.
In 2004 the Bailli was Peter Hourighan, the General Manager of The Phuket Hilton but he transferred to Perth in 2005. A new council was appointed in 2005, led by Howard Digby Johns as the new Bailli. Peter Smith became Vice Chancelier in April 2005
Peter Smith was promoted to Bailli in June 2012 and he retired in April 2015 after almost 10 years on the Phuket Council. Peter was presented with a Bronze Medal for his service to the Chaine at the Intronization dinner held at Banyon Tree on April 22, 2016
Ian Lancaster became our current Bailli in April 2015 at the Chapitre dinner at the Hyatt Hotel.
Today the Phuket Bailliage has 53 members and www.lachainephuket.com gives full background and a list of members. Members are issued with a membership card and in 2019 it can be used in over 20 locations as a loyalty card attracting special discounts of 15-20% for members
In 2018 we established our OMGD group of 16 members with the first event being a Gin dinner held on 19 October 2018 at The Boathouse Resort. It is planned to have 2 events a year.
Phuket, being a tropical resort and retirement destination, has evolved a more relaxed dress code although dinners remain committed to food excellence and wines that complement the food. As you would expect from the climate, smart resort casual is the standard dress although there are usually one or two formal dinners in a year. Events can include a lunch or even a cruise on Pang Nga Bay.
The real difference for members of La Chaine des Rotisseurs (as compared to attending the many wine dinners held in Phuket) is the camaraderie from meeting with a regular group of like-minded gourmands and the ability to travel the world to participate in events. Members from Phuket have travelled to Sydney, Macau, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Myanmar, Kuala Lumpur Bangkok and Pattaya as well as London, Geneva, Paris and Berlin