The opulent Restaurant L’Olivier in the Sofitel Ho Chi Minh City saw the Chaîne welcomed to the storied gastronomic mecca of Vietnam. With flawless white-glove service the staff served hors d’oeuvres and five courses from the many-medalled Chef Marko Rankel. Dress was “black tie”, with full ribbons for members, creating a stunning and impressive tableau of attendees.
As the centrepiece to our Bailliage’s first-ever dinner Chef Marko chose a duck breast with a sauce of foraged morels accompanied by truffle cauliflower mousse and Parisienne potatoes.
Other courses included world-famous, locally-sourced, wild Vietnamese cod complemented by an Alsatian melange of smoked apple and red cabbage, a sashimi-inspired langoustine tartare with ginger caviar spheres, a decadently rich green asparagus cream with artichoke and truffle quenelles, and finally white chocolate cake with caramel crème brûlée ice cream and raspberries. The beauty of the plates cannot be praised highly enough, and the flavours were as sophisticated and delightful as the presentation.
Jean-Bernard Baudron from The Warehouse Wines chose the wines to accompany each course, ranging from South Africa to Australia to France, and treated guests to his pairing notes.
Concluding the dinner, in his accolade Chargé de Missions Rajesh Taneja highlighted the exceptional service and outstanding execution by front-of-house staff as well as the hard-working professionals in the kitchen. He presented Chef Marko and the Restaurant L’Olivier Restaurant with a commemorative plate executed in traditional Vietnamese lacquer.
Afterwards everyone adjourned to the hotel’s Boudoir Lounge to meet Ms Ildaray Munoz, a veteran torcedor from the El Laguito factory in Havana, Cuba, where Cohiba cigars are rolled. Ms Munoz was kind enough to roll cigars, using Cuban tobacco and impeccable skill, for all members wishing to enjoy the after-dinner activity.
Notable guests at the dinner included Donald Hall, Member of the Conseil Magistral and Bailli Délégué of Macau, and Peter Brongers, Bailli Délégué of Cambodia. Let us hope it is the first of many glorious events pampered by such excellent staff in these beautiful surroundings.
All in all, it was an unforgettable gastronomic and social occasion - an outstanding welcome to Vietnam for the Chaine and its members.
Rajesh “Raj” Taneja
Chargé de Missions