Australia Grand Chapitre
Brisbane, May 24-26, 2019
Three days of outstanding gastronomy
" The highlight of the afternoon's programme was the Induction Ceremony full of pomp and splendour "

For this prestigious event in the National Bailliage’s calendar, members and their guests came not only from all over Australia but also from as far afield as California, Singapore and New Zealand (a sizeable party led by Bailli Délégué Ian Pharaoh). The hosts of this Grand Chapitre were Shymal Dhar, Bailli of Brisbane, together with his team who had choreographed the outstanding event.

The first day of the three-day programme commenced with a fabulous evening event at The Brisbane Club launching the Grand Chapitre. Bailli Délégué Norm Harrison welcomed everyone, with a special mention for Inducting Officer Harold ‘Hal’ Small, Member of the Conseil d’Administration from the USA (where he is Bailli Délégué), and his wife Susan.

During the evening Maître Sommelier Tyson Stelzer, author, wine expert and international wine communicator, imparted his phenomenal knowledge of all things Champagne. Maître Rôtisseur Josh Lopez, Chef Caleb Bilewicz and Chef Samuel Lee curated the courses on the degustation menu.

The next day the National Council met. This was followed by the National Bailliage’s AGM. At the meeting Bailli Délégué Norm Harrison was delighted announced the appointment of two new National officers: Petra Hammer-Shrowder as Chargée de Presse and Katrina Hiltbrunner as Chargée de Missions.

The highlight of the afternoon’s programme was the Induction Ceremony full of pomp and splendour. A total of 47 members were inducted into the Chaîne and 17 members into the Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs (OMGD). Inducting Officer Small was assisted by our Bailli Délégué. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Chancelier Sam Giddings.

In the evening we attended a lavish reception on the Penthouses terrace of the Emporium Hotel South Bank. A glorious Gala Dinner followed. Comprising seven courses with paired wines the menu was conceived by the Emprium’s Executive Chef, Maître Rôtisseur Chris Norman, and Executive Sous-Chef (pastry) Alex Liddle.

Concluding the programme, on the last day 40 members experienced a magnificently exciting lunch at Lutèce Bistro and Wine Bar overseen by Chef/Owner Romain Bapst. He is a Maître Rôtisseur in the Chaîne, an Australian Maître Canardier of L’Ordre des Canardiers, Past-President of Bocuse d’Or and President of the Académie Culinaire de France in Australia.

Chef Romain has been a guest chef around the world and is famous for his restaurant’s duck press. The lunch was well designed, I particularly enjoyed, as did many attendees, his signature dish of sand crab lasagne with a creamy crustacean sauce. Simply delicious! I followed the seafood theme with the petite bouillabaisse with red emperor and scallops: the depth of the sauce was exceptional. The matched wines were superb, in particular the Chateau Bel Air Gassies 2014 from Bordeaux.

Whilst lunch was taking place the serious examination for the National Jeunes Sommeliers Competition was in session.

The competition was overseen by Échanson John Studdert in his capacity as Chair of the Jury. He was assisted by Chancelier Sam Giddings, Conseiller Gastronomique Dr Dennis Mather, and external judges Adrian Filiuta MS, Tyson Stelzer MS, and Sebastian Crowther MS.

The finalists were Roberto Lombardo, Andres Aragon, Miguel Giteau and Riccardo Molfetta. It was a close competition with only half a point between them but in the end the winner was declared to be Andres Aragon from Merivale. He received an AUS$3,000 cash prize, a trophy and a sabre from Le Cordon Bleu, as well as a fully-paid trip to Seoul, Korea, where he will represent Australia in the International Final in September.

Article based on a report submitted by Petra Harmer-Shrowder, Chargée de Presse