The Cincinnati Bailliage held its induction dinner – the first live event in six months – on a picture-perfect Sunday in May. This special occasion marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Cincinnati Bailliage in 1981.
The venue for the event was Pinecroft Mansion at the Powell Crosley Estate. More than 100 years ago, Powell Crosley bought a breathtaking 18-acre undeveloped property which included a five-acre lake. He built a stunning Tudor-style mansion and planted dozens of immaculate gardens. Born in 1888, Mr. Crosley made his fortune in the automotive parts industry and eventually became the world’s leading manufacturer of affordable radios. In addition to being a serial innovator, he also once owned the Cincinnati Reds.
Following Crosley’s death in 1961, the mansion and grounds fell into disrepair, creating an opportunity for Chef Michael Forgus of Funky’s Catering to acquire the property and restore its original splendor. A local celebrity chef and favorite of Cincinnati ChaÎne members, Forgus also operates two other event venues: The View perched high upon Mt. Adams overlooking downtown Cincinnati, and The Transept, an event space in historic Over-The-Rhine that Forgus transformed from a building once occupied by Old St. John’s German gothic church.
On a spectacular Spring evening, members mingled on Pinecroft’s gorgeous outdoor patio, sampling appetizers and enjoying glasses of Veuve Fourny Brut Grande Reserve Champagne (NV). Chef Forgus’ tantalizing creations included Rosé Poached Pear with Whipped Brie served in a cone, Summer Melon with Prosciutto and Manchego, and Sakura Flank Steak with Blue Cheese and Blackberry Compote. The conversations rippling across the group centered on how wonderful it was to resume the social interaction we all have craved after the dark months of the pandemic.
The induction ceremony for new members welcomed in both 2020 and 2021 was set outdoors surrounded by blooming gardens. Mr. Greg Wallis, Bailli Provincial Midwest, led the ceremony, and was assisted by Bailli George Elliott and Vice Chargé de Mission Clint Haynes. Ten people were inducted into the Chaîne, five members into Mondiale, and three members received advancements. Mr. Elliott recognized members who were original members of the inaugural bailliage of 1981: Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Marilyn Harris and Chevalier Pat Gaito.
A five-course meal was presented smoothly by Funky’s excellent staff in a lavishly decorated outdoor pavilion. The five courses included Deconstructed Tuna Niçoise served with a Provençal Rosé; Citrus Arctic Bass and Summer Vegetable En Paillote served with a 2018 Chablis; Duck Breast with Blackberry Plum Jus; and Aged Kerwee Wagyu Beef with Smoked Red Chimichurri. These final two dishes were paired, respectively, with a 2017 Peay Vineyards Ama Estate Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, and a 2016 Château Les Ormes de Pez Saint-Estephe. Each course was meticulously paired with wines selected by Echanson Provincial Midwest Mary Horn and her wine committee.
The meal was topped off by an incredible Cardamom Short Cake laced with orange-scented mascarpone ice cream and paired with a stunning 2017 Royal Late Harvest Tokaji.
What a fine way to celebrate the return of fellowship among Chaîne members, and to set the bailliage back on the path of shared culinary excellence. Vive la Chaîne!
Graig Smith, Vice Chargé de Presse