Gastronomy has been the joy of all peoples through the ages. It produces beauty and wit and goes hand in hand with goodness of heart and a consideration of others. – Charles Pierre Monselet
For years, the wine and food societies in Las Vegas have been the domain of the giant hotels and the booze wholesalers/distributors who love them.
Which is another way of saying that the true meaning of these hallowed organizations have often been perverted by commercial purposes.
Bucking this trend, and trying to inject some true fellowship into our food and wine culture, two small bore societies: the Sous Commanderie of the Confrerie du Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Escoffier Society, have recently formed and sought to re-establish the connection between their venerated past and the present.
That connection is to celebrate the rich food and wine culture of France, and bring together people over great food and wine who truly appreciate it, and aren’t just using it to make a buck.
Eating Las Vegas recognizes the unabashedly elitist nature of these groups — centered as they are around the well-heeled winos among us — but also thinks they deserve kudos for bringing something special into our midst, and for stressing all that France has done for American (and Las Vegas) gastronomy.
The Chevaliers had their inaugural membership swearing in last month at Caesars Palace — complete with cameos by Caesar and that snake of a temptress he fell for:
It started out as a tasteful repast — celebrating the best of Burgundian food and wine — and ended up being a roast of one John Mathew Smith (Grand Senechal of the organization and An Official Friend Of ELV) as the new Chevaliers supped on Caesar’s Executive Chef Eric Damidot’s superb, wine-matched cuisine — perfectly suited to the well-chosen Burgundies.
We at ELV ain’t exactly to the manor born, so it was fun to press our nose up against the glass and hobnob with a bunch of rich folks for a while.
Not a week later, we received an invitation to dinner at Guy Savoy for the Des Amis D’Escoffier (The Friends of Escoffier):
…a smaller group of serious gourmands, chefs, and food and beverage execs, who gather every other month or so, at a top restaurant, to commune and kibbitz over serious food and wine.
Which means the evening began with a moving reading from Auguste Escoffier’s autobiography, which then led to some wine and food education from M.S. Steve Morey, to finally getting acquainted Pascal Sanchez (Chef de Cuisine at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire).
Throughout the evening, the strictly observed rule was: No business, just pleasure…and the lively discussion thereof.
Would that all such sipping, supping and sustenance societies, in our meretricious midst, be so moved.