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Le Bailliage du Greater Washington, DC Chapter

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An Elegant Induction Gala Ends on a Sweet Note at the Metropolitan Club

April 2, 2014

By Judith Mazza, Vice Chargée de Presse, Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.

April is a riotous month in Washington, full of promise and beauty. After what seemed like an interminable winter, the cherry blossoms finally made their appearance, and the Washington, D.C. Bailliage had its annual induction gala dinner at the prestigious and very exclusive Metropolitan Club, just a few blocks from the White House. Chef Rotisseur Michael Redmond, General Manager of the Metropolitan Club, and Ben Hales, Assistant General Manager, were gracious in hosting us in one of the most beautiful venues in our nation’s capital. Executive Chef Vincent Horville created a lovely spring menu which was elegant, delicious and sometimes surprising.

Our induction gala began with a champagne reception with four delightful passed hors d’oeuvres: a Bloody Mary sphere atop a crab salad in a spoon, a chicken liver mousse on brioche, a country ham on persillade on crostini and profiteroles stuffed with snails, mushrooms and garlic butter. These tasty treats were enjoyed with Gosset Brut Grande Reserve NV (Champagne France). As confreres gathered during the reception, the excitement built. Although he had presided at other chapters’ inductions, this was the first time that Mid-Atlantic Chambellan/Bailli Paul Haar was going to be an inducting officer for his own Bailliage!

As the ceremony began, Mid-Atlantic Chambellan/Bailli Paul Haar explained the history and rules of the Chaîne and administered the oath to the eight inductees in a most lively and amusing way. We were pleased to induct Maître Rotisseur Scott Drewno, Executive Chef for the Source Restaurant and Maître de Table Restauranteur Evangelos Mitsotakis of Mykonos and Nostos Restaurants; and delighted to welcome Dames de la Chaîne Jamie Lee Baldinger and Kathryn Van Wyk into the Chaine, along with Chevaliers Joseph Baldinger, Richard Restak and Robert Ringdahl. With an eye toward the future, we inducted John Burns as an Ecuyer. The inductees were individually called to the front to receive their ribbons. In addition, Mid-Atlantic Chambellan/Bailli Haar presented the Bronze Star of Excellence to Gastronomique Thomas Walsh in recognition of his hard work and contributions over the past year. Tom was totally taken by surprise, especially since his wife, Dame Kendall Houghton had supplied Mid-Atlantic Chambellan/Bailli Haar with Tom’s biographical details but kept the secret of the upcoming award from her husband.

With smiles of congratulations, we took our seats in the beautiful “red room” adjoining the induction and reception space, and were soon served a refreshing deconstructed chilled lobster thermidor with a salad of baby kale, yellow pea shoots, salsify crisps and porcini oil. This light yet decadent salad was paired with Murgers-Colin Saint Aubin 2011 (Burgundy France) and was followed by a course of lemon-roasted sable fish served with oven-dried cherry tomato and fennel coulis with a fennel salad and baby greens. The Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emil 2005 (Alsace, France) Riesling was light and delicious with the fish, picking up on the lemon and citrus notes in the dish.

Chef Horville presented us with a surprise course (unbeknownst even to our Tasting Committee) of a slow roasted smoked American Bison with watercress, crisp green apple and bacon slaw and horseradish foam. This was perfectly paired with a Chateau Beaucastel, Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2011 (Côtes du Rhône, France). Everyone was talking about this lovely course. Many of us had tasted bison, but few had ever tasted a slow roasted smoked bison before! It was tender and flavorful, and enjoyed by all.

The surprise course was followed by a rosemary roasted lamb loin served with truffled polenta, ratatouille and wilted greens. This was the perfect course for early spring. The Bodegas LAN Culmen Reserva 2004 (Rioja, Spain) was intense with a bright cherry color. The berry and spice notes of the wine not only paired beautifully with the lamb course, but also paired with the cheese course which followed.

While we were enjoying the cheese course (consisting of slices of Mimolette, Grayson and Isiazabal), it became clear that it was time for the Mondiale induction! Mid-Atlantic Chambellan Paul Haar, Vice Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Honoraire Chef Francois Dionot and Argentier David Burka all appeared in traditional Mondiale robes, carrying the grape vine stock, to the delight and merriment of all who were assembled. Chevaliers Taner Gokmen Bolayir, Marc Jasper and Mark Lewonowski were inducted into Société Mondiale. Everyone lifted their glasses in support as they took the oath.

This very sweet evening was about to end with a sweet dessert of an almond cherry tart and house-made crème fraîche ice cream. The dessert was perfectly paired with the Massolino Moscato d’Asti 2012 (Piedmont, Italy). The dessert’s playful presentation had a hazelnut tuile artfully and architecturally standing up in the ice cream. Its beautiful looks were only exceeded by its delicious taste.

Chef Vincent Horville and his staff came out to enthusiastic applause as Vice Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Honoraire Chef Francois Dionot praised the dinner, noting that as lovely as the tasting dinner was when we paired the wine, the dishes served at the grand induction gala were even better. That is no small feat, and is a testament to the skill of Chef Horville and his staff. It was a perfect ending to a perfect evening.

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