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A Chaîne Dream Cruise

BY MICAELA CHOO, Salt Lake City Dame de la Chaîne

IN JULY 2016, fifty Chaîne members embarked on a seven-day epicurean cruise from Athens to Rome, making memories to last a lifetime. Before the group embarked in Athens, Jurisconsult Paul Haar, who organized the Chaîne maiden voyage aboard the SeaDream I, led off the festivities with spectacular dinners at two Michelin starred restaurants: Varoulko Seaside, owned by Chef Rôtisseur Lefteris Lazarou, and Funky Gourmet, owned by Chef Rôtisseur Georgianna Hiliadaki. Displaying the characteristic warmth and camaraderie of the U.S. Chaîne, Jurisconsult Haar presented each owner with a commemorative Chaîne plate. He also gifted Greece Bailli Délégué Tassos Kioulpapas, who attended the Funky Gourmet dinner, with a cutting board featuring the Chaîne logo. In addition, Tim Ananiadis, who is managing director of the Hotel Grande Bretagne—the host hotel in Athens—was honored for ensuring that participants enjoyed world-class cuisine and service during their stay. Immediately after boarding the ship at the Port of Piraeus, confrères gathered for a welcome reception, complete with delicious
Mediterranean appetizers, Jacquart Champagne, and live music. Some indulged in the Thai massages that were being offered. During the voyage, shared adventures helped foster Chaîne friendships. Shore excursions included the sun-kissed beaches of Hydra; the archaeological sites of Delphi and Pompeii; Capri’s Blue Grotto; and many dine-arounds, including at Ristorante Marina Grande with Sorrento and Amalfi Coast Bailli Piervittorio Tione. On board, participants enjoyed a sommelier-led wine tasting, lounged by the pool, played blackjack in the casino, and sang in the piano bar until the wee hours of the morning. Dinners were yacht-casual, often on open-air decks. On July 4, as the SeaDream I transited the Corinth Canal, the group celebrated U.S. Independence Day. Near Mount Etna, in Taormina, a Chaîne event was held at the Cooking Lab at the Sicilian Food Academy, owned by acclaimed Chef Pietro D’Agostino. Palermo and Southeast Sicily Bailli Roberto Vivaldi, Dame de la Chaîne Anna Vivaldi, and Cantania and Sicilia Orientale East Bailli Honoraire Giuseppe Ignoto welcomed all. Chef D’Agostino shared his passion for the farm-to-table movement with such regional specialties as warm octopus salad with onions, risotto with seafood sauce, and traditional Sicilian cannoli made with Marsala dough. 
On the last night at sea, Jurisconsult Haar presented SeaDream I Executive Chef Ondrej Havlicek with a Chaîne-logo cutting board and distributed service pins to his wonderful staff. 
Jurisconsult Haar was joined by Argentier National Rufus Cressend and Argentier National Honoraire Michael Parmet in inducting Chevalier Karl Schneider, Chevalier Andrew Roach, Dame de la Chaîne Jennifer Raisbeck-Roach, and Dame de la Chaîne Pamela Toczek Tobias.
Upon reaching their destination, participants attended a “Welcome to Rome” induction dinner organized by Italy Chargée de Missions Anna Accalai at Ristorante Mirabelle. In an effusive display of international Chaîne spirit, Chevalier Paul Voinis, Dame de la Chaîne Deborah Hallard, and Chef Rôtisseur Stefano Marzetti were inducted in a joint U.S.-Italy induction ceremony. Chef Marzetti prepared a lovely five-course meal, paired with two stellar wines donated by Asolo Bailli Enrica Baron. The group’s time afloat on the wine-dark sea was nourishing to the spirit and inspiring to the palate.