Seattle Chapter of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
The Seattle Bailliage was founded in 1975 by Westin Hotels Chairman Lynn Himmelman and a group of hoteliers, restaurateurs, purveyors, wine distributors, and foodies that shared the same passion for the pleasures of the table. The Seattle Bailliage is one of the largest in the States with 130 members (about 7,000 members Nationally) and is under the current leadership of Bailli (President) Robert Cugini.
Bailli Robert Cugini is surrounded by a dedicated Board of Directors whose goal is to providing every six weeks high quality culinary events, ranging from black tie multi-course gastronomical dinners at the areas finest restaurants and hotels, to casual summer picnics at which the Bailliage raises money from an auction to support local culinary scholarships programs.
What makes our Society so unique are our members. They are the soul and the foundation of this solid and venerable structure that was built centuries ago.
Most of our memorable time usually starts around the dinner table, with a few good bottles of wine, authentic and delicious food and a lively conversation that heats up as the dinner goes on. Also it is often a time where passion, romance and friendship are sealed. This is what we are all about, a gastronomical Society where members understand these values and like to share with each other their passion and strengthen the bond that brings our members together.
History of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
It was in the year 1248, under Saint Louis, King of France, that the Guild of Rôtisseurs was formed. Originally limited to roasters of geese (“Ayeurs”), the Guild expanded in scope and in numbers, and in 1610 it received the present coat of arms by royal warrant. (Note the crossed broches, or turning spits, on this seal. A symbolic broche is used during the Chaîne’s induction ceremony for new members and elevation in rank of deserving members). One of the most prosperous of the Guilds, La Chaîne comprised many members who were attached to the noblest of families of France. This proved less advantageous during the French Revolution, for along with most other Guilds, La Chaîne suffered significant loss of membership and was dissolved. Gastronomically speaking, 160 uneventful years passed until the revival of La Chaîne in 1950. Following recovery from World War II, three gastronomes and two professionals joined in Paris with a common goal – to restore the pride in culinary excellence which had been lost during a period of wartime shortages. In that year La Confrèrie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was officially incorporated, and the seal and coat of arms of the predecessor Guild were restored by Act of the French Government.
The Chaine Today
Today La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the oldest and largest gastronomic organization in the world. Tens of Thousands of people have participated in Chaine events annually in its activities throughout the world with 6,000 members in the USA alone. Bailliages (Chapters) in more than 80 countries coordinate their programs through La Chaîne’s international headquarters in Paris. In the United States, La Chaîne has approximately 130 local chapters. The National office is located in Madison, New Jersey on the Farleigh Dickinson University Campus. Underlying La Chaîne’s growth is the organization’s sense of purpose. A key criterion which distinguishes La Chaîne from other organizations involved in wine or food is the interrelation between amateur and professional. In La Chaîne we strive for balanced membership representing professionals involved in food preparation, service in hotels, private clubs and restaurants; wine, food and equipment suppliers and world- renowned lecturers, writers and critics, as well as knowledgeable laymen who, due to their interest in learning and/or well-traveled backgrounds, are in a position to enjoy the pleasures engendered by good cuisine, good wine and good company.
National Competitions & Further Learning
Visit our national website for competitions or more general information.