A Celebration of Spain
Article by Christina Ostrander, dame de la chaine
Photos by William M. Harris, bailli
Spain is the land of fiestas. Fiestas encourage the local folks to come out and celebrate with neighbors, friends and strangers alike. We didn’t exactly have the Pamplona running of the bulls, but it was exciting nonetheless. On Sunday October 9, 2016, over 40 members and guests of the Albany Bailliage took part in our own fiesta called “A Celebration of Spain” at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC). It was a formal black tie affair although traditional Spanish costumes were also welcomed and admired. The school of Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism at SCCC is ably headed by Dean David Brough, a proud member of our Bailliage. Other Albany Bailliage instructors at the school are Chef Rotisseur Michael Stamets who was the creative force behind our dinner, Rotisseur Giovanni Lontoc and two Professionnels de la Table, Kimberly Otis and James Larkin, both of whom deftly supervised the front of the house. Other Chaine chefs in the kitchen were Maitre Rotisseur Michael Niccoli and Chef Rotisseur Adam Foti.
Our fiesta began with a cocktail reception in the Casola Dining Room situated in the culinary wing of the school. The backdrop of colorful linens, dimmed lighting and scents of Spanish delicacies set the mood, while music by the Alegria Trio transported us to a land far away with a gentle sea breeze. Guests mingled while enjoying an assortment of butler passed hors d’oeuvres and a stunning stationary display of tapas items prepared by Chef Rotisseur Adam Foti. A delightful quaff of Segura Viudas Brut Cava Reserva perfectly complimented Chef Foti’s offerings.
The drapery doubling as a room divider was drawn, as if to open a secret passage, revealing a dining room filled with vibrantly colored linens filling the room with an infectious fiery energy. During our seven course meal, we eagerly continued our Spanish journey while enjoying the unique drumbeats of Brian Melick and the virtuosity of guitarist Maria Zemantauski. In addition, our eyes were entertained by “La Nina” the amazingly talented flamenco dancer who between dances came to our table and showed us the inner workings of castanets and divulged how subtle movements of the Spanish fan could indicate interest or lack thereof to a potential suitor.
Todos las cosas buenas deben llegar a su final (all good things must come to an end) as did our fiesta. Our male members gathered their energies for the trip home, our lady members collected their beautifully decorated souvenir Spanish fans and we departed with filled bellies and fond memories of a splendid evening. Viva La Espana!