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Sunday, September 29, 2013

CHAINE DES ROTISSEURS: Gala Induction Dinner

Chaine des Rotisseurs celebrated a Gala Industion Dinner at the Hualalai Ballroom of the Four Season on the Big Island.  The induction ceremony was formal and exalted:


The two gentlemen are the #2 (Harold Small) and #1 (George Brown) grand leaders nationally, while being inducted was Tai King, with the Big Island Bailli (Kim Matar) presiding.  George, also known as Keoki (see posting of yesterday), does this almost weekly, as he has to suffer from something similar in Europe next week.  I can empathize, for with two more events left, I'm already jaded, and would rather go to Zippy's.  They also wore courtly costumes:


The two guys to the left are Bailli Provincial (biggest boss of Hawaii) Bruce Liebert and Bailli (leader of Honolulu Chapter) Sydney Lee, with Small and Brown.  Keoki indicated, while Chaine tolerates no speeches, he did go on to say that we are not totally decadent, for our fees also go towards supporting and encouraging young chefs and sommeliers.  We sponsor annual competitions to honor them. While most of the men wore tuxedos, meaning black tie, I wore white and blue:


There is a story to this attire, of course.  It was, perhaps, two decades ago when on one of my Bangkok stops I had this suit made...for less than a hundred dollars, and maybe much less.  For balance, I purchased a Jim Thompson Thai silk tie...for $150 (the average cost of a decent tie on the streets went for about a buck).  This was a lengthy trip, and by my final stop in Tokyo, everything else I had was wrinkled, so I chose to wear this white suit for a formal dinner in my honor, with that blue tie.  This is not uncommon, but a typical sitting would be everyone on one side of a long table, and the dozen or so guests were facing me when I walked into the room.  I wish I had taken a photo, for they were aghast.  This I did not then know, but the only people who wear a white suit with a bright blue tie are Yakuza (Japanese mafia).  I'm not sure if I fully convinced them that ignorance was my excuse, but I did point out that I had all my fingers and no tattoos. The next day, while walking to one of my meetings, I saw a 50-foot poster of a new movie, with a Yakuza gangster all in white with a blue tie.

Anyway, when I was packing my tux for this trip, I noticed this white suit which I had not worn for 20 years, so in a moment of mischief, I decided to also bring it.  It was a kind of relief that no one at the dinner took any offense, and, in fact, I seemed to get mostly compliments.

These were my dinner companions:

George and Kristie of Hilo on the left and Adele and Lucille from Maui to the right:











Nicole and her mother Lee from Hilo (the Hiloans are from the same family):






The dinner was not particularly spectacular, but okay.  My allergies meant substitutions, while the temperatures of the dishes were long after peak because of the banquet nature of the servings.  The evening began with canapés (Kampachi Jalapeño and Huli Huli Pork Belly) with an Ayala Brut Majeur NV champagne.  The first two courses: Keahole Lobster "Duet" plus Dungeness Crab and Coconut Consomme.  As I need to be careful about crustaceans, I instead got a mushroom something (left) and soup (below) with no crab, which, actually, was terrific, for the soup was served in a young coconut, with a thin layer of tender and translucent "meat."


The first wine was a fine Cakebread Sauvignon Blance.  The rolls looked like coal (squid ink) and were almost as tough:


The next course was Hualalai Duck Peking:


The skin was heavenly.  Came with a Castello di Neive Barbaresco.  Followed the Intermezzo of Poha Berry and Meyer Lemon Sorbet:


The main course was Truffleyaki Short Ribs with Hamakua Mushroom, Puna Chevre (goat cheese) Sphere, Kekala Farms Beets and Truffle Crisps.


The wine was a nice Pahlmeyer Merlot.

The cheese was goat, dessert Pineapple Melba and Mignardises an assortment of Kalamansi Vanilla Pate de Fruit, Meyer Lemon Financier, Cotton Candy Macaroon and Grand Marnier Marshmallow Pop with a Fonseca Panascal Port and coffee.  By now I had too much to drink, but I felt compelled to try the 18 year old Highland Park scotch (a bottle costs $110):


Sydney Lee introduced Chris Bateman, the Executive Chef of the hotel:


The evening concluded with a DJ, flashing lights and dancing.  Kimi, I was very impressed.  Thank you.

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