It was a night of culinary excellence at the Villa Rosa Kempinski which was a more than suitable venue to host the inaugural induction of new members to one of the oldest gastronomic food societies in the world, La Conférie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (Chaîne des Rôtisseurs). With its remarkable European flair, extravagant chandeliers and beautifully styled banquet halls, the mood was set for what was to be a night of fine dining on delectable cuisine.
The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950 though it originally traces its roots and traditions back to 1248, to the old French royal guild of goose roasters, whose authority gradually expanded to the roasting of all poultry, meat and game. It is dedicated not only to fine cuisine but promoting gastronomic values, promoting table art and excellence in hospitality and the culinary arts.
Our evening began with the Bailli (leader) and induction officer, Madam Shabnam, of the Mombasa chapter leading the induction ceremony of new members. This was done in a systematic process where the inductees first recited the Chaîne Oath. A sword was then placed on each candidate’s shoulder, followed by an accolade and handshake. The fifteen inductees and guests ranged from high profile guests from all sectors of the economy to celebrated hoteliers, refined restaurateurs, award-winning executive chefs, seasoned sommeliers and other food industry practitioners, a clear sign of the openness and diversity of this society that at first glance may seem slightly aristocratic and even ritualistic.
After the induction ceremony, we were led to a banquet where a host of servers waited on us. We feasted on an exquisite seven course meal fit for a stately dinner. From gratinated “Fin de Claire” oysters imported from France as the starter to a special flavored and textured Truffled Foie Gras Torchon (a luxury food product made of the liver of a duck or goose specially fattened), we dined like kings. The main course featured the acclaimed 19-hour slow-cooked short rib, with an assortment of baby root vegetables, potato mille feuille and organic honey-lavender jus. The short rib was paired with a vintage edition of 2011 Côtes de Castillon Bordeaux red wine a delicate blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, subtle aromas of red berries finished with well balanced tannins.
The highlight of the dinner was the lemongrass infused ginger sorbet topped with wasabi flavoured caviar. As a sign of respect to the chef’s heavenly creations we were not provided with salt nor pepper to season the dishes, a message to us that his wonderful creations were perfect as they were and indeed they were!
Artisanal cheese flown in from Switzerland was served for dessert with a strawberry rhubarb paired with a light, sweet, fruity moscato to wash it all down.
By the end of the night most of us were not only stuffed by the seven course dinner but it would be an injustice to the chef and his team (Chef Pietro Lunghi, Chef Alphonse Muok and Chef Amit Pratap) to not mention that our culinary horizons had truly been expanded.
To wrap up the prestigious occasion Mr. Manish Nambiar, the General Manager of Villa Rosa Kempinski and newly inducted Vice-Conseiller of the Nairobi chapter of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, was gifted the Plaque of Knowledge. A beacon to inform all future visitors of Villa Rosa Kempinski, that the venerable Chaîne des Rôtisseurs society was once hosted there under his guidance and that the members, like myself, walked away enlightened of mind and satisfied of body.