San Diego Attorney Harold S. Small, a Rancho Santa Fe resident, represented the local Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Chapter at the organization’s annual Grand Chapitre held Oct. 17-19 at the Fairmont Hotel Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Small, who is the Chancelier des Etat-Unis (Executive Vice-President) of the organization and also its membership chair, reported at the National Council session that the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs has 22,000 members and chapters in more than 80 countries, including 130 chapters in the U.S. with a combined membership of nearly 6,000. It is the world’s oldest and largest food and wine society.
When the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs held its annual “Grand Chapitre” in Washington, D.C. in October, it demonstrated that the world’s oldest and largest food and wine society does not just enjoy the delights of farm and vineyard but also possesses both civic responsibility and an appreciation of those who have achieved success in a variety of professions. The organization spotlighted notable members of the judicial and legal professions and diplomatic dignitaries, as well as culinary celebrities, and also donated funds to help support people and families dealing with hunger every day.
At a gala at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Chaîne honored His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, with induction into the organization with the rank of Grand Officier d’Honneur, a title the organization bestows only on governors and heads of state. Chef Michel Richard was named the eighth “Maître d’Honneur” of the society. Marie E. Jones, Bailli Délégué Honoraire of the United Kingdom and Vice President International, was the inducting officer. Also participating in the induction ceremony was Chancelier/Executive Vice President Harold S. Small of Rancho Santa Fe. The evening was made especially festive by guests who donned costumes of the Louis XIV “Sun King” era.
At Saturday evening’s banquet at the Fairmont Hotel in Georgetown, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was the Guest of Honor and featured speaker. He received a Chaîne des Rôtisseur “plate” commemorating the occasion. The rarely awarded Chaîne’s Gold Star of Excellence, reserved for those who provide exceptional service and commitment to the organization, was presented to three members (including two of the men who masterminded the weekend’s program): to D. C. attorney Paul Haar, Esq., who chaired the Chaîne’s weekend conference and is also Chambellan Provincial of the Mid-Atlantic Region and Bailli of the Washington Chapter of the Chaîne, and to François Dionot, Vice Conseiller Culinare, Washington, D.C. Baillage, and founder and owner of L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, MD. Third recipient was Tulsa, OK, Bailli Sue Gerkin.
The 2013 International Best Young Sommelier competition was held in D.C. during the Grand Chapitre. Loic Avril of the United Kingdom took first place honors as the Best Young Sommelier in the world. Bobby Conroy of the United States was in second place. Jarrod Mills of Australia finished third.
In a separate ceremony, Shelly Margolis, Chair of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Foundation, presented a check for $5,000 to Nancy Roman, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank in support of the organization’s outstanding programs. “The Chaîne Foundation’s gift will enable us to provide 12,500 nutritious meals to those most vulnerable,” Roman said.
Two important programs of the Chaîne are a Young Sommelier competition and a Young Chef competition at the regional, national and international levels. Both encourage younger members of the hospitality industry. The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’ Foundation contributes to organizations within the community that assist those facing poverty and hunger and supports educational programs for individuals pursuing careers in the food and hospitality industries.
Additional information about the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is available at its U.S. website,
, and international website,