Palm Springs Chapter of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
Organized in 1983, the Palm Springs Bailliage is an active and engaging group of 50 local businessmen and women, doctors, lawyers, club managers, hoteliers, chefs, wine distributors and retirees from the Coachella Valley as well as members from other Bailliages across America. Our Bailliage unites professional and amateur gastronomes in a private, not-for-profit society, committed to promoting the culinary arts and those of enology and hospitality through example, education and camaraderie.
We organize five exceptional events per “season”, at which we engage the most creative chefs of the Coachella Valley who prepare their very best dishes, each of which our wine experts match with outstanding wines from our Bailliages’ private cellar. Dinners are normally held on Monday evenings in the months of November, December, January, February and April.
History of the Palms Springs Bailliage
In the mid 1970’s, Conseiller Gastronomique des Etats Unis (United States), Harry Breslau, retired to Palm Springs from New York. He along with Anthony Consentino, Bailli de Moriaine Valley, Illinois, who wintered in Palm Springs, contemplated forming a Bailliage in the Coachella Valley. While traveling in the South of France, on one if the many memorable Chaine trips organized by Harry and Muriel Breslau, they approached Bailli des Etats Unis, Roger Yaseen for permission to form a chapter. That request was granted. Around this time, Edwin Stempler, a chevalier if the New York Bailliage, moved to Rancho Mirage and met with Harry Breslau to offer his assistance with the founding of the Palm Springs Bailliage. At first, it was thought that the area would not yield the sort of venues appropriate to support a Chaine Bailliage. Dynamic growth in the 1980’s brought new hotels and restaurants and the quality of the food and service increased tremendously.
In 1981 the time had come, and Harry Breslau hosted a luncheon at the Racquet Club to set the wheels in motion and the new bailliage was formed. Harry asked Anthony Consentino to be the first Bailli and Edwin Stempler to be Conseiller Gastronomique.
The first induction dinner was held on November 16, 1981 at Cattails in Cathedral City, and was attended by fifty five members and guests. The eight-course dinner and professional service that evening was at a level before unseen in the Palm Springs area. The next dinner followed in March 1982. More dinners were planned as new hotels and restaurants opened their doors.
On December 14, 1983, Edwin Stempler became the second Bailli of the chapter. No longer was the Palm Springs Bailliage a seasonal refuge for members of the snow belt to enjoy exceptional dinners while wintering in Palm Springs, it has become a viable Bailliage of 55 members, and has remained so ever since.
In 1991, Bailli Edwin Stempler retired as Bailli and Argentier Heinz Hofmann became our third Bailli at the induction dinner in January of that year.
In February 1998, Heinz Hofmann moved to Scottsdale, Arizona and appointed his Argentier, Marty Rakowitz to succeed his as Bailli. Marty Rakowitz served as Bailli for fifteen years with the ever supportive assistance of his wife, Charge de Presse and then Argentier, Annette.
Marty retired as Bailli on January 13, 2014. The induction dinner at The Reserve Club to honor Marty and was attended by Harold S. Small, Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis and several other National officers. It was a true tribute to the great contributions made to the Bailliage by Marty and by Annette. Argentier and General Manager of The Reserve Club was appointed by Marty, and ratified by the Bailliage, as the fourth Bailli of the Palm Springs Bailliage.
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.