A Brief Introduction

It was in the year 1248, under St. Louis, King of France, that the Royal Guild of Oyers Rôtisseurs was established. Limited at first to the "masters" in the art of roasting geese, the object of the Guild was to perpetuate the standards of quality befitting the royal table. Soon the craft of "Rôtisseurs" encompassed the preparation of all the various meats and fowls destined for the spit or rack, and the activities of the Guild, always under royal patronage, enlarged to include the development of an apprentice program, wage and work standards, and the conferment of appropriate honors. In 1509 the official Coat of Arms was awarded to the Guild by King Louis XII.

As recorded by Hozier in L'Amorial, the components of the coat of arms are two crossed turning spits in juxtaposition with four larding needles. Flames indicate the hearth fire surrounded by the fleur-de-lis. The inner chain recalls the pulleys used to turn the spit and the outer chain represents the bond which brings together the members of this ancient order. The increasingly wealthy monopoly continued until 1776, when Louis XVI declared freedom of work laws in an effort to forestall the French Revolution. As his efforts were in vain, in 1791 the Chaîne was disbanded. Gastronomically speaking, 160 years passed until three amateurs and two professionals met in Paris in 1950 with a common goal -- to restore the pride in culinary excellence lost during a period of wartime shortages. La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was reincorporated and the Coat of Arms of the ancient guild was restored by the French Government to which the year of incorporation of the modern Chaîne, 1950, was added. Among the founders were Jean Valby, Grand Chancelier, and Curnonsky, the justly renowned "Prince of Gastronomes."

History

The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the largest gastronomic organization in the world and, in the second of its two karmas, can lay claim to being the oldest. The Society was originally founded in Paris in the year 1248, and today, more than 70,000 persons participate annually in its activities. Members include many of the crowned heads of Europe as well as other persons of highest talent and distinction. Bailliages (national chapters) in more than 130 countries coordinate their programs through the Chaîne's International Headquarters in Paris.

In the United States the Chaîne has approximately 145 local chapters with almost 7,000 members and associates. Our National Executive office is located in the Chaîne House at Fairleigh Dickenson University, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ   07940-1099

Underlying our phenomenal growth is our sense of purpose. That which distinguishes the Chaîne from other organizations involved in wine or food is the interrelation between amateur and professional. In the Chaîne, we strive for a balanced membership representing knowledgeable men and women who, due to their interest in learning or their more traveled backgrounds, are in a position to enjoy the pleasures engendered by good cuisine, good wine, and good company; world-renowned lecturers, authors, and critics; professionals involved in food preparation, service and administration in hotels and restaurants, and wine, food, and equipment suppliers. Other societies, by comparison, tend to promote the wines of a given region, restrict their membership to a single social stratum, or are active in a limited number of cities or countries.

Mission Statement

The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Bailliage des Etats-Unis, 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. Based on the great traditions and high standards of the medieval French guild of rôtisseurs or "meat roasters," our confrérie celebrates the pleasures of the table, encourages the development of young professionals by awarding scholarships and sponsoring competitions, and, as part of an international organization, fosters friendships among members around the world.