Chaîne Garden State Baillage

The Garden State Chapter of the not-for-profit Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is a dynamic group of food and wine enthusiasts, in excess of 60 members, with discerning palates who share a common interest in a passion for fine cuisine and wines based in education, camaraderie and fun around the table

Contact Information

George Staikos
Garden State Bailli

Social Distancing Picnic on the 18th Hole

Garden State Baillage

Social Distancing Picnic on the 18th Hole

By Victor S. Sloan, MD, Vice Chargee de Presse

(908) 968-3804;


On Sunday July 19, 2020 the Garden State Baillage came together (really) for the first time in 7 months for a Social Distancing Bastille Day Picnic on the 18th Hole at the Upper Montclair Country Club. Professional member Chef Ryan Foo welcomed us with a reinvention of the menu that he served to the Baillage in 2014. Despite temperatures approaching 100°F and an orange alert for air quality, it was wonderful to be truly together. Everyone took appropriate precautions, including wearing masks except while eating or drinking, seating at least 6 feet apart and temperature checks before entering by yours truly.

Rickford “Ryan” Foo began his career in food service by apprenticing in his father’s Asian restaurant while still in high school. He then attended The Culinary Arts Institute at Hudson County Community College, graduating from the program in 2002. Chef Foo joined the NNJ Chapter of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) as a student and participated as a member of the Junior Hot Foods and Knowledge Bowl Teams. These opportunities became the foundation of Ryan’s passion for knowledge and competition. While achieving his apprentice hours at Brooklake Country Club, Chef Foo quickly worked his way up the ranks being promoted to Executive Sous Chef. Chef Foo then took a Chef de Tournant position at the exclusive Five Diamond Hilton at Short Hills, until he was recruited as Chef de Cuisine for the prestigious Shackamaxon Country Club in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. In just a few short seasons, Ryan earned a promotion gaining his first Executive Chef position. After 7 years at Shackamaxon, he was recruited by Troon Golf, where he served as the regional Executive Chef for their properties. After a stint at Paramount Country Club in New City, New York, the Upper Montclair Country Club (UMCC) recruited Ryan to become Director of Culinary Operations.

Chef Foo and his team (Kirk Richardson, Chef de Cuisine, Melis Taskoy, Banquet Chef, and Stephanie Foo, Chef de Tournant) did amazing things to work within the constraints of an incredibly hot day and COVID 19. For example, the reception, which 6 months ago would have been passed hors d’oeuvres was now individual picnic baskets filled with cheese and charcuterie, and incredible steak tartare served with sushi rice and kimchi, and a surprise chilled bouillabaisse. Our Bailli, George Staikos, chose wines that were French, in keeping with the Bastille Day theme but also would pair well with the food and not be overwhelming on an incredibly hot day. For example, the main course was Wagyu strip steak, which the chef paired with black summer truffles and gremolata. Whereas normally one might have chosen a Bordeaux, today we had a lightly chilled 2018 Henri Boillot Bourgogne.

While the Garden State Baillage has been a pioneer in innovative virtual events, it was extra special to be together in what has become an annual tradition (the celebration of Bastille Day). It is our hope that come Bastille Day 2021, we can gather together in health and safety.