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by Gail Gabel, Vice Argentier, Victoria

On April 22, Villa Eyrie Resort hosted the Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver Bailliages for a celebration of International Chaîne Day, which was being observed around the world by thousands of Members of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

Dr. Jane Ruddick, BC Provincial Bailli, and Mme Susie Sirri, Nanaimo Bailli, organized what was a memorable event in a spectacular mountain setting. The 80 attendees included 18 Members of the Vancouver Bailliage.

The Resort accommodation was fully booked by Chaîne Members and all facilities at the property were dedicated to producing a truly enjoyable evening. A surprise guest was M. David Tetrault, Canada’s Bailli Délégue, who made the trip from Calgary to share in our celebration.

Venturing about 30 minutes north of Victoria you find yourself 1,880 feet above sea level at the Malahat Summit. In the forested heights of the Malahat Ridge, the Villa Eyrie mountainside retreat and spa, together with its superb Summit Restaurant, overlook the beautiful waters of Saanich Inlet.

The guest culinary team that produced the Amuse Bouche for the Champagne Reception included internationally acclaimed chefs Bruno Marti (Vancouver), Hubert Scheck (Nanaimo) and Takashi Ito (Victoria).

The pâté de foie gras and the slivers of herring roe on kelp were particular favourites. When harvested, this herring roe is typically found attached to long branches of kelp and is a prized Haida delicacy named “K’aar.”

Moving to the dining room from the reception meant a short walk into the main hotel building past a waterfall-fed pond and spring flower gardens, not forgetting the view over Finlayson Arm and the valley below. All 80 in the group were quickly seated by hotel staff and welcomed by Susie Sirri.

As is normal at Chaîne functions, the Summit Restaurant’s Executive Chef Terry Pichor introduced each course, highlighting his choice of local produce and the various preparation techniques used. Nettles, stripped of their notorious sting, were the unique ingredient incorporated into the angnolotti pasta second course. This was followed by a rabbit loin wrapped in pork, and then a sturgeon nugget plated to appear like Osso Bucco and served with Risotto Milanese.

Dessert, naughtily named “Chocolate Fourplay,” was a suite of four chocolate confections that some suggested might have been more aptly named “Death by Chocolate.” The dinner’s wine pairing selections included three from BC and one each from France, Spain and Chile.

The evening concluded with the entrance of the Kitchen Brigade led by Executive Chef Terry Pichor. The Accolade was unusually lengthy and was shared by three Chaîne Members as it did highlight not only the excellence of the food, its preparation and service, but also the value of, and reason for, holding the event: International Chaîne Day. ”

Vive la Chaîne!