The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Today
Today La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the world's oldest and largest gastronomic organization. More than 80,000 persons participate annually in its activities worldwide. Bailliages (Chapters) in more than 110 countries coordinate their programs through La Chaîne’s international headquarters in Paris. La Chaîne has approximately 140 local chapters and over 7,000 members in the United States. The National office is located in New York City.
Underlying La Chaîne’s growth is the organization’s sense of purpose. A key criterion distinguishing 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 well-traveled backgrounds, are in a position to enjoy the pleasures engendered by good cuisine, good wine, and good company.
History of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
In the year 1248, under Saint Louis, King of France, the Guild of Rôtisseurs was formed. Limited initially to roasters of geese (“Ayeurs”), the Guild expanded in scope and 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 the rank of deserving members). One of the most prosperous of the Guilds, La Chaîne comprised many members attached to the noblest of families in France. This proved less advantageous during the French Revolution, for La Chaîne suffered a significant loss of membership and was dissolved along with most other Guilds.
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 lost during wartime shortages. That year, La Confrèrie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was officially incorporated, and the Act of the French Government restored the seal and coat of arms of the predecessor Guild.