Naples Chapter of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
In the late 1970s, there was a widespread opinion that Naples was a fine dining wilderness. So much so, that by 1980, discontent was beginning to bubble over. Eli Strassner had moved to Naples from St. Louis, where he had been a wine consultant and a food and wine columnist for a St. Louis newspaper. Most important, he had served as the Bailli of the Bailliage de St. Louis. He decided to host a series of cooking classes here in town that were so popular a group was encouraged and motivated enough to become founders of a bailliage.
On May 3, 1981 the Bailliage of Naples-on-the-Gulf as it was first known, hosted an eight-course, black tie Dinner and Induction of about 25 candidates at the Mirabelle restaurant. A marching band and a visiting international entourage of Chaîne representatives, including 46 members from the North Rhine Westphalia Bailliage, attended the inauguration ceremonies. Fischer Brooks, host and Chargé de Missions of the Westphalia bailliage, brought Chef Bertold Siber from Germany to prepare the inaugural dinner.
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.