International Grand Chapitre & AGM
Strasbourg, June 15-18, 2017
Professional members' performance delighted participants
" I would particularly like to thank everybody in the Bailliage Provincial of Alsace without whom the four days would not have been possible "

This year the International Grand Chapitre and Annual General Meeting were held in Strasbourg, right in the heart of Alsace, a particularly vibrant region when it comes to fine food, wine and a unique architectural heritage.

Thursday, June 15th

A guided tour of the historic centre of Strasbourg and the cathedral was organised early in the afternoon. This was followed by an exclusive chance to taste the gingerbread of Mireille Oster, whose international reputation speaks for itself.

The first dinner took place at the Restaurant Les Haras in Strasbourg. The brainchild of Marc Haeberlin, 3-Michelin-starred chef at the Auberge de l’Ill, Les Haras is run by Maxime Muller, Director of Operations and Maître Restaurateur, and François Baur, Executive Chef.

It was in this unique setting, under impressive 18th century wooden beams, that dinner was served.


Halibut carpaccio with passionfruit
Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Kastelberg 2011 - Remy Gresser

Monkfish medallion osso bucco
seafood jus, crunchy vegetables, citrus polenta
Vacqueyras Melodine 2013 - Domaine de Montvac

Veal filet mignon with morel mushrooms
green asparagus mousseline
Ladoix 1er Cru La Corvée 2010 - Michel Mallard

Selection of cheese
aged by Maison Lohro (Meilleur Ouvrier de France)
Château Peyrat Fourthon 2009 - Haut Médoc

Raspberry and mint mousse
jelly lightly fragranced with balsamic vinegar
raspberry sorbet

The quality of the dinner and the performance of the service brigade were unanimously admired by all members.

Friday, June 16th

For members not attending the meeting of the Conseil Magistral, a number of activities and a lunch were organised throughout the day.

First stop: a visit of the Spindler marquetry, in the hamlet of St-Léonard near Obernai, and a chance to meet Jean-Charles Spindler, the great man’s grandson.

Participants then made their way to Mittelbergheim, recognised as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”. Here they were given the opportunity to taste some wines from the Domaine Albert Seltz, whose origins date back to 1576.

Members stopped for lunch at Am Lindeplatzel, where Sylvie Arbogast (Maître Restaurateur) and Thierry Baltzinger served us some hearty dishes in a trendy, welcoming setting, combining the charm of a former winegrower’s house with an urban atmosphere.

At the same time, the meeting of the Conseil Magistral took place in the Orangery of the Hilton Hotel. The Conseil was chaired by President Yam Atallah, assisted by International Vice-President Marie Jones, Members of the Conseil d’Administration and Secretary General Philippe Desgeorges.

A detailed report of the membership statistics for the 2016 financial year was submitted, followed by an overview of the projects completed, underway and in the pipeline, with a particular focus on the rollout of the national websites. A presentation of the 2016 accounts concluded the proceedings.

Drinks and dinner were served at the Bœuf Rouge in Niederschaeffolsheim, jointly prepared by the capable hands of François Golla, Chef at the Bœuf Rouge and Vice-Conseiller Culinaire of the Bailliage of Bas-Rhin, and Fabien Mengus, Chef at the Arnsbourg Baerenthal and Maître Rôtisseur.


Champagne Thienot Brut and Rosé


Large stuffed morel
celeriac purée, grated coffee
cep ice cream, nettle sponge cake
Sylvaner 2015

A 2017 twist on crayfish soup à l’alsacienne
Riesling, asparagus and herbs
Riesling Sélection de Vieilles Vignes 2014

Confit of cod
juniper mousseline, buttered spinach
salt-crusted fennel, bergamot cream
Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile 2009

“Trompe Bouche”
horseradish without the horseradish

Suckling lamb from Bischwiller
leg of lamb en croûte, confit of shoulder
saddle with a wild garlic crust, spring onion-stuffed breast
Pinot Noir Cuve 7 2015

A contemporary twist on
organic Munster cheese from Truttenhausen Farm
Gewurztraminer Réserve 2011 or Gewurztraminer Ribeaupierre 2011

Lime with white chocolate
green laurel sorbet, vanilla crumble
Gewürztraminer marc foam
Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 2011

All the wines served during the dinner came from the prestigious Maison Trimbach. Each food and wine paring was commented on by Julien Trimbach, Maison Trimbach’s 14th generation.

At the end of the meal, after a few words from Ira Falk, Conseiller Gastronomique from the United States, the chefs François Golla and Fabien Mengus, along with the kitchen and service brigades, were given a standing ovation for their performance.

Saturday, June 17th

On Saturday, a trip to Eguisheim had been arranged. This small market town with 1,600 inhabitants is recognised as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, and in 2013, was voted “Favourite French village”.

The trip to Eguisheim was enhanced by a wine-tasting experience, involving wines from four of Alsace’s most highly regarded estates:
- Domaine Emile Beyer, Eguisheim
- Domaine Josmeyer, Wintzenheim
- Domaine Sylvie Spielmann, Bergheim
- Domaine Zinck, Eguisheim

This was followed by lunch at La Palette in Wettolsheim, where the Chef, Henri Gagneux, Maître Rôtisseur, introduced members to his locally-inspired delicious dishes.

Meanwhile, the International Annual General Meeting took place in the Orangerie at the Hilton Hotel in Strasbourg. President Yam Atallah presided over the meeting, assisted by International Vice-President Marie Jones, Members of the Conseil d’Administration and Secretary General Philippe Desgeorges.

Following the agenda, the 2016 financial results and achievements were presented to the members present, with a particular focus on the launch of the national websites. Jacqueline Wolfovski, from Exponens, was also in attendance to present the 2016 annual accounts and offer any explanations required about the financial results.

The Induction Ceremony took place in the reception rooms of the Hilton Hotel. After a speech President Yam Atallah officiated with Maître Benoît Fragnière acting as Master of Ceremonies.

Among others, the ceremony included the following appointments:
- Thierry Blouet, Bailli Délégué of Mexico, as a member of the Conseil Magistral
- Jorgen Krenk, Bailli Délégué of Denmark, as a member of the Conseil Magistral
- Ivan Novak, Bailli Délégué of Hungary, as a member of the Conseil Magistral
- Raymond Pitz, Conseiller Culinaire and Conseiller des Professionnels for the United States, as a member of the Conseil Magistral
- Rosa Roman as the Bailli Délégué of Spain

After a Henri Giraud Ay Grand Cru champagne reception - served from magnums labelled with the Chaîne’s logo - the doors to the dining room were opened, revealing the tables laid for the gala dinner.

The menu was the creation of Maître Rôtisseur Pascal Bastian, Michelin 2-star Chef from the Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Lembach, and his team, with the help of Maître Rôtisseur Eric Bonnamant, Executive Chef at the Hilton Hotel.


Haimbach spring trout
summer celery and bergamot jelly

Brittany scampi
infused with beetroot and horseradish from Alsace
aromatic crust
Pinot Gris Le Fromenteau 2013 - Domaine Josmeyer

Line-caught hake in a herb crust
petits pois and mint oil, fish and Riesling jus

Chilled apple and celery
Sauer Valley apple juice emulsion
Crozes-Hermitage Mules Blanches 2014 - Domaine Jaboulet-Ainé

Pan-fried foie gras cannelloni with wild mushrooms
black truffle emulsion

Roast Challans duck breast
Black Forest style morello cherry gateau with a rich sauce
Coteaux Languedoc Cuvée Solen 2009 - Domaine les Orelles

Speculoos crisp with Alsace raspberries
Bourbon and vanilla cream, verbena sorbet
Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2012 - Domaine Paul Buecher

At the end of the meal, the kitchen and service brigades made their entrance, led by the Chefs, Pascal Bastian and Eric Bonnamant, to the applause of all the guests. This was followed by a few words from President Yam Atallah and from Ira Falk, Conseiller Gastronomique of the United States.

Sunday, June 18th

On this sunny Sunday, the remaining members met for brunch at the restaurant Un Café à la Campagne, run by Isabelle Hausser, Vice-Conseiller Gastronomique. With her unfailingly warm welcome, Isabelle gave the guests a wonderfully relaxing time under the Alsace sun, serving up all sorts of specialities, including homemade sweet and savoury Kougelhopf, potato waffles, a selection of brioches, streusel and chocolate petits pains.

I would particularly like to thank everybody at the Bailliage Provincial of Alsace without whom the four days would not have been possible, especially Bailli Provincial Jean-Claude Donatin, Benoît Ghestem, Bailli of Bas-Rhin, and Vice-Échanson Bruno Marret.

And of course, I must not forget the professional members from Alsace, who worked so hard to make sure the occasion was a success.

Maxime Muller – Restaurant les Haras – Maître Restaurateur
Sylvie Arbogast – Restaurant Am Lindeplatzel – Maître Restaurateur
François Golla – Restaurant Au Bœuf Rouge – Maître Rôtisseur
Fabien Mengus – Restaurant l’Arnsbourg – Maître Rôtisseur
Valérie Beyer – Domaine Émile Beyer – Professionnel du vin
Henri Gagneux – Restaurant la Palette – Maître Rôtisseur
Pascal Bastian – Restaurant Le Cheval Blanc – Maître Rôtisseur
Eric Bonnamant – Chef at the Hilton – Maître Rôtisseur
Jean Philippe Hubau – General Manager of the Hilton Hotel – Maître Hôtelier
Laurent Schenk – Food and Beverage Manager at the Hilton Hotel – Sommelier
Isabelle Hausser – Restaurant Un Café à la Campagne – Vice-Conseiller Gastronomique

Philippe Desgeorges
Secretary General

All photos © Christophe Jehl

To view all the photos from programme of events, please click this link: International Grand Chapitre images