December 19, 2009

Christmas Chapître, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

December 19, 2009

Mel Miners, Vice-Chargé de Presse

This year our Chapître was held in conjunction with our Christmas event and returned to The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Our evening started with the Intronization ceremony and was held in the Alhambra Room.  Originally, it was scheduled for the Ivor Petrak Room and apparently, David had a wonderful speech prepared for the occasion.  However, with the change in rooms, he modified it slightly.

Roger Baekeland, Echanson, Commandeur Honoraire introduced each of the intronees, while Cindy Findlay, Bailli Régional, presented the ribbons.  David Tetrault, Bailli Délégué intronized each member, while Fritz Painsi, Bailli Provincial des Prairies, Commandeur supervised the proceedings.  Mel Miners, Vice Chargé de Presse acted as recorder to ensure each member received their certificates and signed the appropriate documentation.

Two members of our Council received promotions (or at least exchanged positions).  Mark Wilson is now the Vice Echanson, while Jürgen Bahr became Vice Chancelier-Argentier.

Martin Luthi, Chef Rôtisseur – Executive Chef of The Fairmont Banff Springs, was promoted to Maître Rôtisseur.  Gerhard Erler, Chef Rôtisseur received his 20 year Commandeur pin.

Five new members were inducted this year:

Amanda Rebec, Dame de la Chaîne
Richard Cowen, Chevalier
Francisco Gomez, Maître Hotelier, Fairmont Banff Springs
David Houghton, Maître Restauranteur, The Ranchmen’s
David Landage, Chef Rôtisseur, Willow Park G and CC

Following the Ceremony, we moved to the magnificent Mount Stephen Hall for the reception and dinner.  The reception was held in the foyer of the Hall.

Veuve Cliquot Non Vintage Brut Rosé was served to lubricate the throats and three appetizers were served to stimulate the palate and tummy:

Beef tenderloin on a blue cheese mousse
Smoked salmon tartar in a cucumber barrel
Duck confit in a profiterrole

The hall was hung with vertical pennants of the Chaîne Emblem on two of the hall pillars and a large flag was displayed at each end of the hall.  To greet the members, a special gingerbread model of the Banff Springs Hotel was placed in front of the Chaîne flag at the entry to the Mount Stephen hall on the second floor.  A wreath of forest greens decorated with a set of mischievous Santas arced gracefully over top of the hotel.

Photographs were taken in the foyer and around the huge Christmas tree.  To take a picture of the tree was a challenge itself, as it stood the full height of the hall.  However, Peter Findlay, Chevalier and Shelly Vandervelde, Dame de la Chaîne along with your Vice Chargé de Presse rose to the occasion with many great photos.

The personal photos are stored on the here and may be downloaded at your pleasure.  These are relatively small pictures.  They have not been retouched, as we did not wish to change any details.  If you wish to receive a large photo suitable for editing, or if you wish us to edit or retouch if you do not have the appropriate program, please contact me at: and I will try to do my best.

Occasionally, during the proceedings, various passers-by would stop to admire our feast.  In one case, they just happened to be Fong and Norma’s grandchildren.

Deborah Nyack entertained us with her beautiful harp during the reception and dinner.

The Hall was set in a large U-shape, with the head table joining the two sides of the U.  Magnificent candelabra were placed along the tables.  They were tall enough so that the guests did not have to “dance around” when conversing with their mates on the other side of the table.  The candelabra also alternated with either a candle in the centre or a beautiful flower arrangement.

At each setting, was a gold envelope which acted as the place card.  It was sealed with a wax seal and contained a Christmas card printed with the menu.  Also, on the table was another Christmas card that held the wine list.

The dinner started with Butter Poached Lobster neatly stacked over a sweet corn and fennel galette interlaced with a pickled remoulade and topped with a lobster cracker.  The soup was a Nage of Oregon Pine Mushroom Velouté swimming around a Halibut and Scallop Ballotine and assisted by a caramelized cipollini onion foam.  Next up was a Warm Espresso Lacuered Muscovy Duck Breast with a  roasted beet carpaccio and served with a frisée and mache salad.

The granité was of Riesling and Lemon Grass served in an ice bowl over a slab of Rundle stone.  At this point in the evening, we were surprised by a bearded gentleman in red robes with an attendant staff.

The main course was indeed the hit of the evening.  Roasted venison loin (farm raised White Tail Deer from Rocky Mountain Game Meats) with a candied walnut crust, surrounded and slightly overlain with a black currant merlot reduction.  It was accompanied by a chanterelle ragout, baby vegetables and a fantastic potato and rutabaga goat cheese filo tart.

The cheeses came au natural from Ontario.  From left to right they were Blue Jay, grand chouffe and le cendré and served with a piece of bread and a bit of fresh fruit.

Dessert was a bold move – a Soufflé Duet – Grand Marnier in one cup and Chocolate in the other.  A spiced raspberry kirsch coulis was served on the side in a silver pitcher.  As a reminder of our event, a chocolate emblazon of the Chaîne was also present on the tray.

Finally, the Mignardises arrived – a chocolate Christmas tree with a grouping of gelées and chocolates.  Ours was greeted by a smiling newly promoted Vice Chancelier-Argentier.  As a testament to the wonderful dinner, I leave you with a parting shot of the tree – decimated, but still in its glory.

The Chaîne plates of appreciation were presented to Executive Chef Martin Luthi, Chef Rôtisseur and Steven Stefaniuk, Director, Food and Beverage.

My personal thanks are extended to the staff of The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel for a great weekend.  The service from the moment of arrival to the final moment of departure was exemplary, as befits a Chaîne Establishment.

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