On September 25th and 26th, Chaîne members from bailliages cross Queensland gathered in Brisbane, Australia to attend a Chapitre and the intronisation of 25 new members. This coincided with Riverfire, a highlight on Brisbane's social calendar. The River City was alive with energy and vibrancy, a befitting backdrop to a Chaîne programme filled with camaraderie and culinary delights. Although the official programme began on Saturday, guests arriving on Friday were invited to join our Bailli Delegue Norm Harrison and Bailli Serena Harrison to a private dining experience at the Emporium South Bank, our venue hotel.
On Saturday, the stage was set! Guests arriving for Intronisation were met by our resident paparazzi photographer on the red carpet, capturing the anticipation, glamour and fashion that accompanies such happy events. Following the intronisation of 25 new members and 15 OMGD participants, a group photo was taken on the hotel’s grand spiral staircase, reminiscent of our Grand Chapitre in 2019. Celebrating in a safe environment has been challenging during the pandemic. Brisbane is most fortunate to be in a position to invite members to celebrate in pre-pandemic style.
Between Intronisation and the gala dinner, members and guests enjoyed Charles Heidsieck Champagne in river view rooms as fireworks lit up the night sky. Ahead of the pyrotechnics, the C17A and Army Aviation helicopters performed selected manoeuvres to the delight of all. Chic black masks with the Chaîne logo were gifted to all guests as a reminder that despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Chaîne values of fraternity and hospitality continue to shine a guiding light whenever two or more Rôtisseurs gather.
The four-course gala dinner showcased Queensland’s fresh produce while our Vice Echanson’s, new and Honoraire, together with our Professionnel du Vin matched wines that comforted the palate completely. A warm tribute and toast was given to Vice Charge de Mission John Griffin QC who passed away unexpectedly earlier in the year. He was much loved by our local members and was always a stalwart defender of Chaîne values. After much merriment and some well-placed trivia around the wines, the evening closed with the traditional appreciation to the chefs and the kitchen brigade by rousing applause.
On Sunday, members and guests were taken by private coach to Auchenflower House, a heritage landmarked country winery for a light lunch before continuing on to the Polo where a gourmet afternoon picnic complemented the excellent Polo play on the field. The polo players were invited to join us after the match when the Salisbury Cup trophy was presented. Our members along with several polo players tried their hand at Sabrage. With varying degrees of success, sabre and polo mallet alike were wielded toward magnums of champagne.
After a full afternoon of fine food, fun and frolic at the polo, guests were returned to the hotel’s Private Terrace Dining Room in time for farewell refreshments in the form of canapés, French pastries, Cru wines and gin cocktails. This was an appropriate finish to an enjoyable day. Members from adjacent bailliages throughout the state, having enjoyed time together all weekend, emerged as newfound friends. The legacy of this successful Chapitre will be the increase in inter-bailliage events already in the planning for 2022.
Vive la Chaîne!