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France Chapitre

Le Touquet, November 26, 2011

For too many years Chaîne activities have been dormant in the North, but Raymond Bilger, the new Bailli of the Côte d’Opale, undertook with much resolve to bring about a revival. His success with the challenge is evidenced by his having recruited a group of new members and straight away organized this Chapitre in the historic surroundings that is the Hôtel Westminster in Le Touquet.

November fog did not exactly encourage travel to this part of the English Channel coast, but nevertheless it is an area of outstanding beauty even in an autumn mist and 50 participants, including many from Belgium, braved the weather to attend what was a wonderful Chapitre.

The opening event to welcome everyone was a visit to the covered market of Le Touquet, a mecca of gastronomy and fine living. This was followed by a tasting of generous platters of seafood in the fish market. Then, in the early afternoon, we had a guided tour at Beussent, one of the last companies to manufacture high-quality chocolate in the traditional way from beans out of the pod.

The Induction Ceremony took place in late afternoon. It was presided over by Philip Evins, Member of the Conseil Magistral from Great Britain. He was assisted by Bailli Délégué of France Michel Cottray, also a member of the Conseil Magistral, in the presence of Albert HanKenne, Member of the Conseil Magistral, Bailli Délégué of Belgium, and Mrs. Heike Cottray, Bailli Délégué of Monaco.

Another highlight of the event was the signing of a twinning charter between the Bailliages of France and Belgium confirming the establishment of a close collaboration between the two national Bailliages. The speeches on this occasion by Michel Cottray and Albert HanKenne reflected their willingness to support this policy and inspire the necessary dynamism for the partnership to flourish.


The aperitif of Champagne Taittinger accompanied by exquisite cocktail savouries was the prelude to a gourmet Gala Dinner prepared by Chef William Elliott who lived up to his Michelin star. The wines had been selected by Yann Satin, Best Sommelier of Belgium in 2005.

The excellent service provided by Mr Petit and his team was entirely appropriate to the exceptional heights achieved by this gastronomic event. At the end of the dinner we took the opportunity to heartily compliment the key players and their brigades for the quality of their respective contributions.

At the conclusion of the event, Bailli Délégué of France Michel Cottray presented the Professionals’ Plaque of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs to Gilles Grattepanche, General Manager of the Hôtel Westminster, now that it is a worthy member establishment of our Confrérie.

             Written by Bernard Seignat, Chancelier
                                and Raymond Bilger, Bailli of Côte d’Opale