The Bailliage de Salt Lake City was established with 25 members in May 1976. Tom Taylor was the founding Bailli. The initial board consisted of Gil Shelton, Todd Eager, Jack Daniels, Marcel Oberlin, and Joseph Rosenblatt, all well-known names in the community. John Ryan, Sun Valley Bailli, was invited to the initial board meeting on April 16 to instruct the new board on general procedures and the first installation dinner was held May 27 at Marcel Oberlin’s Fleur DeLys restaurant.
The dinner was described in a June 4th article in the “Lifestyle” section of the Salt Lake Tribune as an “exclusive black tie affair,” with an ambiance of “flickering candlelight coupled with lilting strains of soft harp music.” Allen Chase the deputy Bailli Delegue du West, traveled from Los Angeles to conduct the ceremony where everyone was inducted.
Charter members also included Calvin A. Behle, Arthur E. Benning, Robert H. Bischoff, John V. Browning, Val A. Browning, Hayden M. Calvert, F. Carsten Dahnken, Jules S. Dreyfous, Ezekiel R. Dumke, Lewis T. Ellsworth, John W. Gallivan, Walker Kennedy, Max B. Lewis, Upton Ramsey, Eugene F. Sanguinetti, D. Brent Scott, James E. Steele and Norman Tanner. Tom Taylor, who died in 1984, was succeeded as Bailli by Stuart G. Cross, then general manager of Salt Lake City’s Hotel Utah. By the end of the summer, Mr. Cross had passed the mantle to Ashby S. Decker who served as Bailli for an incredible 23 years.
Chaîne Salt Lake City
History of the Chaîne des Rotisseurs
It was in the year 1248, under Saint Louis, King of France, that the Guild of Rôtisseurs was formed. Originally limited to roasters of geese (“Ayeurs”), the Guild expanded in scope and in numbers, and in 1610 it received the present coat of arms by royal warrant. (Note the crossed broches, or turning spits, on this seal. A symbolic broche is used during the Chaîne’s induction ceremony for new members and elevation in rank of deserving members). One of the most prosperous of the Guilds, La Chaîne comprised many members who were attached to the noblest of families of France. This proved less advantageous during the French Revolution, for along with most other Guilds, La Chaîne suffered significant loss of membership and was dissolved. Gastronomically speaking, 160 uneventful years passed until the revival of La Chaîne in 1950. Following recovery from World War II, three gastronomes and two professionals joined in Paris with a common goal – to restore the pride in culinary excellence which had been lost during a period of wartime shortages. In that year La Confrèrie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was officially incorporated, and the seal and coat of arms of the predecessor Guild were restored by Act of the French Government.
The Bailliage grew in stature and membership, with a waiting list of applicants often straining the 50-member limit. Ashby took a well-deserved rest from his responsibilities in 2007 and Victor Ayers was inducted as Bailli. Vic served the Bailliage for two years before resigning in 2009.
On February 9, 2009, Robert A. Miller became the 5th Bailli in the 34-year history of the Bailliage de Salt Lake City at a gala induction at Little America Hotel. Far West Regional Bailli Heinz Hoffman presided over the induction of new Officers, three Chevaliers and 1 Dame de la Chaine.
Our members remember fondly their favorites among the hundreds of events the Bailliage has hosted in Salt Lake, Park City and other wonderful venues in Utah.
On April 14, 2017, Martin Perham was elected Bailliage de la Salt Lake City, becoming the 6th Bailli in the 41st year of the Bailliages existence. Martin served as Bailli for three years.
The Chaîne Today
Today La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the oldest and largest gastronomic organization in the world. Tens of Thousands of people have participated in Chaine events annually in its activities throughout the world with 6,000 members in the USA alone. Bailliages (Chapters) in more than 80 countries coordinate their programs through La Chaîne’s international headquarters in Paris. In the United States, La Chaîne has approximately 130 local chapters. The National office is located in Madison, New Jersey on the Farleigh Dickinson University Campus. Underlying La Chaîne’s growth is the organization’s sense of purpose. A key criterion which distinguishes La Chaîne from other organizations involved in wine or food is the interrelation between amateur and professional. In La Chaîne we strive for balanced membership representing professionals involved in food preparation, service in hotels, private clubs and restaurants; wine, food and equipment suppliers and world- renowned lecturers, writers and critics, as well as knowledgeable laymen who, due to their interest in learning and/or well-traveled backgrounds, are in a position to enjoy the pleasures engendered by good cuisine, good wine and good company.