Australia Chapitre

Bailliage of Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane, September 25-26, 2021

Bailliages come together for the weekend
" Our resident 'paparazzi' photographer was in position on the red carpet as guests arrived "

Members from Bailliages across Queensland gathered in Brisbane to attend a Chapitre which would see the induction of 25 new Chaîne members and 15 joining the OMGD (Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs).

The event coincided with Riverfire, a highlight on Brisbane's social calendar. The “River City” was alive with energy and vibrancy, a befitting backdrop to a Chaîne programme filled with camaraderie and culinary delights. Although the official programme began on Saturday, guests arriving on Friday were invited to join our Bailli Délégué Norm Harrison and Bailli of South Australia Serena Harrison-North to a private dining experience at the Emporium South Bank, our venue hotel.

On Saturday, the stage was set! Our resident “paparazzi” photographer was in position on the red carpet as guests arrived to capture the anticipation, glamour and fashion that accompany such happy events.

Celebrating in a safe environment has been challenging during the pandemic. Brisbane is most fortunate to be in a position to invite members to celebrate in pre-pandemic style albeit following the “new normal”. Accordingly, chic black masks with the Chaîne logo were gifted to all guests as a reminder that despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Chaîne values of fraternity and hospitality continue to shine a guiding light whenever two or more Rôtisseurs gather.

Following the Induction Ceremony, which was presided over by Norm Harrison, a group photo was taken on the hotel’s grand spiral staircase, reminiscent of our Grand Chapitre in 2019.

Between the Ceremony and the Gala Dinner, members and guests enjoyed Champagne Charles Heidsieck whilst overlooking the river as fireworks lit up the night sky. Ahead of the pyrotechnics, a C17A transport plane and Army Aviation helicopters performed selected manoeuvres to everyone’s delight.

The four-course Gala Dinner showcased Queensland’s fresh produce whilst our Vice-Échansons - new and Honoraire - together with our Professionnel du Vin, matched wines that comforted the palate completely. A warm tribute and toast were given to Vice-Chargé de Missions John Griffin QC who unexpectedly passed away earlier in the year. He was much loved by our local members and was always a stalwart advocate of Chaîne values.

After much merriment and some well-placed trivia around the wines, the evening closed with the traditional appreciation to the chefs and the kitchen brigade by rousing applause.

On Sunday, members and guests were taken by private coach to Auchenflower House, a heritage landmarked country winery for a light lunch. After which we travelled to the nearby polo ground where a gourmet afternoon picnic was enjoyed complemented by an excellent polo match.

The polo players were invited to join us after the match when the Salisbury Cup trophy was presented. Our members along with several polo players tried their hand at “Sabrage”. With varying degrees of success, sabre and polo mallet alike were wielded toward magnums of champagne.

After a full afternoon of fine food, fun and frolics at the polo, guests were returned to the hotel’s private terrace dining room in time for farewell refreshments in the form of canapés, French pastries, Cru wines and gin cocktails.

This was a very appropriate finish to a most enjoyable day. Members from adjacent Bailliages, having enjoyed time together all weekend, emerged as new-found friends. The legacy of this successful Chapitre will be the increase in inter-Bailliage events already in the planning for 2022.

Vive la Chaîne!

Majella Pugh

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