The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the world’s oldest gastronomic association; cited by the Book of Trades of Paris (1248) in chapter 69, paragraph 8, where “Corporazione degli Ayeurs” (“Goose Roasters”) it appears under the patronage of King Louis IX of France. The following centuries saw the expansion of the “School of Cooks” when, in 1610, King Louis XIII issued a royal proclamation that recognized the corporation as official when he designated a formal coat of arms for it: a fire-red shield with swords crossed in the center, surrounded by spikes on a sky blue background that recalls the fleur de lys of the noble family d’Orleans.
The order was abolished during the French Revolution, and only in 1950, thanks to the passionate and dedicated research of various Master chefs and food writers, the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was established again among professional and amateur chefs, first in France, then Europe, and finally throughout the rest of the world. Today, the society’s emblem, inscribed on a medallion (the actual Chaîne), shows the two dates of its foundation, 1248 and 1950.
The spirit of conviviality that characterizes the activities and creates friendships in the society strives to join together at the table people of all ethnicities, ideologies, political backgrounds, and religions. The presence of the Chaîne in Italy began in 1960, but in 1954 some Italians received the ordinance in Rouen during a Chapitre in France. Among its organizers, the Grand Official Cesare Rinaldi of Milan was assisted by Claudio Scavone and Angelo Pozzi, the owner of the restuarant Savini in Galleria, Milan. This official first national Chapter was held on November 30, 1963 in Milan.
Almost every year the society is celebrated, bringing together increasing numbers of Amateurs and Professionnels alike under the prestigious coat of arms of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, who then disperse throughout all different regions. They form groups in territorial delegations, in provinces and tegions (Bailliages), guided by the National Council of Bailliage. One notable event was the Private Hearing in the Vatican with S.S. Pope Paolo VI on February 23, 1974 for the constitution of the Bailliage of Rome.
Giorgio Aleardo Zentilomo, who joined the Chaîne in 1963, assumed responsibilities at a national level from the end of the 1970s through the 1990s, officially becoming Bailli Delegué d’Italie (National President) from 1983-2005. Born in Milan in 1938 with Venetian ancestry, Zentilomo pursued a career in air travel and tourism. He graduated with a Political Science degree and is a journalist, earning the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Grande Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana) and receiving the Gold Medallion of the City of Paris as well as an honorary citizenship from Dallas.
Under Zentilomo’s leadership, the Chaîne grew and developed to organize numerous partnerships with foreign delegations and to contribute to the diffusion of the gastronomic tradition in Italy, as well as supporting many humanitarian initiatives in response to natural disasters and other calamities. Today, after passing his title to his successor, he is Bailli Honoraire d’Italie. In honor of the fortieth anniversary of the society, Zentilomo made the generous donation of more than three hundred menus to the Gastronomic Library of Academia Barilla, which will be at the disposal of study and research.