Inside the hidden world of European gastronomic orders with Bernice Liu

The celebrity and wine entrepreneur sheds light on what it’s like to be inducted into the many historic fellowships of which she is a member

Food and wine often speak a language beyond words—the best meals often become treasured memories, forever linked to important life occasions—birthdays, anniversaries, celebratory gatherings or simple meals with loved ones. As someone passionate about food and wine, my own story is a proof of the power of such language.

While much of Hong Kong might recognise me for my career in entertainment, my family has roots in the culinary world. My grandfather and his cousins were skilled pastry chefs and my father used to own cafés and restaurants in British Columbia, Canada. Meanwhile, his two brothers also found success in the catering business.

From a young age, I was exposed to Chinese dining culture—especially the flavours and traditions of our native Shunde in Guangdong province, which is often deemed the cradle of refined Cantonese gastronomy.

Through the years, my love for food and wine has connected me with like-minded individuals around the world. Some of them were even gracious enough to welcome me into their esteemed communities with open arms. My recent induction into the prestigious Chaîne des Rotisseurs is one such example. This international gastronomy association boasts a rich history dating back to 1248, a time when gastronomy already played an important role in the life of the French royal court and aristocracy.

Bernice Liu is inducted into the Chaîne des Rotisseurs at a traditional ceremony in Nice, France (Photo: Handout)

Chaîne des Rotisseurs was founded on the traditions of the old French Royal Guild of Goose Roasters—which existed during French King Louis IX’s reign (1226-1270) and focused on perfecting the art of roasting goose. Over time, it expanded its expertise to cover various meats and poultry, thereby earning the name Chaîne des Rotisseurs.

Membership to this organisation is no casual matter; it involves a careful selection process. Current members vote on potential candidates, ensuring that new members genuinely embody a passion for gastronomy. The Chaîne community has very high standards, admitting fewer than ten new members each year.

One might question the desire to be part of such an exclusive group. For me, the journey into Chaîne des Rotisseurs was unexpectedly serendipitous. The process began over a decade ago, with a chance encounter with Kinsen Kam of Yung Kee Restaurant at a food tasting event. I was presenting my wines to industry professionals, unaware that this meeting would lead to lasting friendships within the industry. Over time, these bonds of friendship grew stronger. When Mr. Kam passed away, his cousin Jacky Kam and Chaîne member Steven Kahn (who holds the ranks of Bailli Délégué and Conseil Magistral within the order) reached out to me and they began to engage me in the various events.

As a junior member of their group, I learnt the intricate art of appreciating roast goose. It wasn’t just about its delectable flavours and its role in Hong Kong’s culinary heritage, but also what it symbolised: family values, persistence, conscientiousness and the preservation of gastronomic traditions.

Bernice Liu attends a Chaîne des Rotisseurs event at Kamcentre Roast Goose in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, many members of Chaîne des Rotisseurs are chefs of Michelin-starred establishments and five-star hotels, or work in the wine industry. Non-professional members known as Chevaliers must attend Chaîne events throughout the year and must go through an interview process by a committee member.

I was already being observed by the industry professional members; hence my sponsorship was approved a few years ago, but I was unable to attend events due to Covid and my travels for further education. However, I was finally inducted and officially became a Professionnel du Vin member of the Chaîne at a full ceremony held in Nice, France, in which Mr. Kahn was also present.

Beyond Chaîne de Rotisseurs, I count myself fortunate to be a part of several other notable societies that have withstood the test of time, such as Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, an organisation celebrating Champagne; Le Grand Conseil du Vin De Bordeaux and Commanderie du Bontemps, both known for promoting Bordeaux wines; Order of the Knights of the White Truffle and Wines of Alba, which highlights the produce of Alba; and Institut Disciples Escoffier, a culinary institute named after legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier.

Each of these societies carries a unique legacy, and membership is a distinguished honour granted to individuals who have significantly contributed to the promotion and preservation of culinary heritage. As I raise my glass to toast to the enduring spirit of gastronomy, I am reminded that the love for food and wine is an eternal journey—one that unites us all in the most delightful ways.

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One comment

  1. Hi an it’s a great pleasure to meet you an watch your live shows.
    Congratulations on the passing of your exams too an il try and watch you an learn more about you and the fantastic brands of wines.
    Thank you so much an hope to see you soon God bless you kind regards Shaun.

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