The day-to-day running of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in the United States is managed by national, provincial and local officers. The word bailliage is from the Middle French word baillir meaning to administer, and bailliage, meaning an administrative district. The medieval equivalent of bailliage in Middle English is bailiwick. The Bailliage des Etats-Unis is managed by a Bailli Délégué (National President) assisted by a Board of Directors and an Executive Director. Regional officers (who have provincial titles) oversee local bailliages managed by local officers. New members of a local bailliage are inducted at an annual Induction Ceremony followed by a black-tie dinner. Members wear ribbons at this and other events to denote their rank and type of membership.
Here is a statistical overview of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs worldwide. For more information, please click on the video link below or open this link to our international brochure.
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 was 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.
What precipitated interest in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs at that time? According to Ruth Kinyon Whiteside Fisher, who served as Bailli from 1987 to 1990, “In the late 1970s, there were those who took pleasure in commenting that Naples was a cultural wilderness, a remark which most often brought forth vehement retorts that people came to Naples to enjoy the pristine beauty of the natural environment as a restful change from a more hurried, urban existence.”
“In 1980, there was an undercurrent of interest in fine dining. Stirrings for more experience with fine foods, their preparation, and presentation, their study and direction, bubbled to the surface in the form of a group that became the founders of the Naples Bailliage of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs,” she noted.
The core of the group was Eli Strassner, a former Bailli of the St. Louis Bailliage. On May 3, 1981, the first induction dinner, a black-tie, eight-course menu was held at The Mirabelle. The Bailliage, known then as the Bailliage of Naples-on-the-Gulf, was formed by Edward Davis, manager of Royal Poinciana Golf Club, who assumed the duties of Bailli, Wendy Harcourt Davis, Vice Chancelier-Argentier, and Eli Strassner, Bailli Honoraire.
The Bailliage de Naples is one of the largest in the country with more than 120 professional, non-professional, associate and international members. We host events most every month in the year. Our membership includes about 60% men and 40% women; up to 75% attend events as couples, whether or not their spouse or partner is a member.
Established in 1993, The Chaîne Foundation raises money each year that is distributed in the form of scholarships not only for young chefs but also for young aspiring professionals in the oenological field. The Foundation has raised and given away more than $3,000,000 since its inception.
The Foundation’s grants to culinary and oenological students provide welcome financial aid to our young confrères and consoeurs who someday will be staffing the restaurants and hotels we enjoy during our Chaîne and Mondiale events. At this early stage of their careers, even a few dollars can ease financial strain allowing them the peace of mind to passionately pursue their studies.
The Foundation depends primarily on the $35 check-off boxes on the annual Chaîne dues notices. During the past decade over 80% of Chaîne members each year choose this method of support, making these funds the mainstay of the Chaîne’s fundraising efforts.
These voluntary contributions from our members, our annual auctions, and the occasional grant or bequest have historically been the principal funding sources. All donations are tax-deductible.
The Bailliage de Naples conducts Foundation fund-raising at selected events during the season and has agreed with the Foundation to direct the funds raised, plus a matching contribution, to a hospitality non-profit organization of our choice in our local area.