december-20-2015

Intronization and Diner Amîcal
“The Christmas Bells are Ringing”
December 20, 2015

Juergen Bahr, Chargé de Presse

It has been a tradition at the Calgary Chaine to celebrate the Christmas Diner Amîcal and accompanying Intronization of new members at the Banff Springs Hotel. This venerable tradition dates back to the very beginning of the Chaine in Calgary and the celebratory Diner Amîcal in Mount Stephen Hall is in the memory of the last three generation of Chaine members. This year we returned again to continue this tradition, and as we were also blessed by snow the Banff Springs Hotel glowed in a veritable post card gleam to welcome us again.

Everyone gathered in the Ivar Petrach room for the Intronization. Bailli Mark Wilson offered some opening comments and the Intronization proceeded under the direction of Bailli Délégué David Tetrault.

After the spoken oath of allegiance to the Chaine, the new members were intronized. Also two established members, Hans Sauter, excecutive Chef, Post Hotel and Fong Seto, Charge de Presse honoraire were given deserved promotions.  A special tribute to Roger Baekeland was celebrated with the presentation to Lee Baekeland of a photograph of Roger and Lee at the Diner Amîcal at the Post Hotel, the last function Roger attended. We remember Roger so fondly and wish Lee and family all the best.

The members than rose and proceeded to the Mount Stephen Hall, which was decorated in a wonderful and impressionable Christmas theme.  The tables were arranged in a large U-shape which was the table arrangement of the first Chaine Christmas Dinner Amîcal held there some 50 years earlier. The colours of the table were gold and white with the Chaine symbol projected onto the wall at the end of the hall.  A huge Christmas tree placed in the corner of the hall radiated the spirit of Christmas throughout the space.

The reception took place in the colonnade of Mount Stephen Hall where we were treated to a generous selection of appetizers and a wonderful bubbly. A whole spit-roasted pig was carried into the hall and everyone enjoyed the wonderful bits of meat and crackling skin served on puffy little Chinese buns.

We were all asked to be seated and the feast begun.

Wildrose Elk Tartare
Fingerling Skins, Pickled Yolk, Scallion Aioli
Paul Jaboulet Aine Les Jalets
Crozes-Hermitage Syrah, Rhone Valley 2011

Charred Sudo Farms Squash Velouté
Cider, Walnut, Hare Porchetta
Tantalus Riesling, Okanagan Valley, 2014

White Apple & Calvados Sorbet

Birch Smoked Veal Tenderloin & Sweet Scallop
Pork Belly, Brown Butter Mash, Ox Tail Shallot Jus
Chateau Branaire Ducru, St. Julien, 2005

Farmhouse Cheese
Chutney, Almond,Quince, Fig Toast
Tawny Taylor Fladgate, Oporto, 20 years

Petit Croquembouche
Grand Marnier Custard, Valrhona Chocolate Crème Anglais
Quady Essensia Orange Muscat, California, 2013

Coffee, Tea
Macaroon, Pâte de Fruit, Madelaine

swirl

Our dining experience was made so much more festive as we were accompanied by a wonderful harp player, who played music that was delicate and festive. Thank you.

And finally the dinner was over, the members and guests sated, time for Bailli Mark Wilson to rise and deliver the accolades. First of all our Bailli praised the service brigade, full regimental service, great timing, always cheerful and helpful and all full of that Christmas cheerfulness that marks great service. Outstanding , a performance to be remembered by us all.

Mark Wilson then praised the kitchen brigade, which delivered the food in a timely manner.  The dishes were excellent and the matching wines superb.  It is not easy to prepare food for that many diners in such a big venue so far away from the main kitchens.  The dishes were visually delightful and had great flavours.  Thank you Chef Foster for a great debut here with us in Banff.

As it is the custom two plates were presented. Executive Chef Foster received the plate representing the kitchen brigade and Mr. Bill Bowden received the plate for the service brigade.

A wonderful evening in a great venue was had by all, unmatched with its medieval splendor and style, a perfect place to celebrate this venerable evening of celebration and friendship.
Thank you Banff Springs Hotel.

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