The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950. It is devoted to promoting fine dining and preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table. The Chaîne was originally based on the traditions and practices of the old French royal guild of goose roasters – the goose is a type of poultry that was particularly appreciated during the Middle Ages. The Chaîne authority was gradually expanded to include the roasting of all poultry, meat and game.
The written history of the guild of “Les Oyers” or “Goose Roasters” has been traced back to the year 1248. At that time, King Louis IX, later to be Saint Louis, assigned Etienne Boileau, the Provost of Paris, with the task of bringing order into the organisation of trades and guilds, developing young apprentices and improving the technical knowledge of guild members. He gathered together the charters of more than 100 of these trades, among them the Goose Roasters. Over the years, the activities and privileges of the Goose Roasters Guild were extended to preparing and selling all kinds of meat, including poultry and venison.
In 1509, during the reign of King Louis XII, some new statutes were introduced,which resulted in the change of the name of the guild to “Rôtisseurs” and its activities were restricted to poultry, game birds, lamb and venison. In 1610, under King Louis XIII, the guild was granted a royal charter and its own coat of arms.
The original coat of arms consists of two crossed turning spits and four larding needles, surrounded by flames of the hearth on a shield. For over four centuries the “Confrérie” or brotherhood of the Roasters cultivated and developed culinary art and high standards of professionalism and quality – standards befitting the splendour of the “Royal Table” – until the guild system was disbanded, together with all others, in 1793 during the French Revolution. The Rôtisseurs were almost forgotten until 1950 when Dr. Auguste Becart, Jean Valby and “Prince” Curnonsky (elected Prince of Gastronomes*), and chefs Louis Giraudon and Marcel Dorin resurrected the Society and created La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
The international headquarters (Siège Mondial) remains in Paris where the society was founded and the present day Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is still based on the traditions and practices of the ancient French brotherhood but now in a truly international and contemporary context. A number of Bailliages ( or local, national associations ) have been formed worldwide since its creation in 1950.