The Innholders hall

Monday 9th January at The Worshipful Company of Innholders’ Hall, 30 College Street
London EC4R 2RH.
Background to the event
Fifty years ago in 1967, nine new members were elected to the Réunion des Gastronomes. Of these, three are still members Alan Fairbrass, George Goring, OBE, and Chris Briere-Edney. The supper was held to recognise a century and a half of membership, commitment and support of the Réunion.
Apart from Michael Day who joined in 1961 and was made a Life Member to mark his 50th anniversary, from the archives there has only been one other person to have served fifty years and that was W G (Billie) Cox who was President for five years 1923 to 1928.  It was he who ran Frascati’s Restaurant in Holborn which was the second home of the Réunion from 1923 until it closed in 1955 and where, apart from the Annual Banquet, the monthly suppers were regularly held. Billie Cox, who died in 1968 and became a member in 1918 at Frascati’s, was also honoured by a dinner given by the Réunion to mark his retirement in 1955.
Past President Alan Fairbrass 1978-1980
Alan Fairbrass was elected at the Westbury Hotel in December.  He has been the Hon Almoner since 1992.  He entered the profession at Westminster Technical College and after varying experiences in London joined the Westbury fourteen years later and spent nineteen years at what was the first hotel to be built in London (on a bomb site) in 1955.  He hosted the Réunion 11 times and whilst at the Charing Cross Hotel, arranged Annual Banquet number 42 on 2nd December 1959, where the guest speaker was the famous actor Charles Laughton.
Past President George Goring OBE 1988-1990
George was born in the Goring Hotel and from 1962 to 2005 ran the hotel in succession to his father Otto. George is the third generation of the Goring family. His grandfather was elected as the 55th member in January 1904 and his father Otto Gustave, the thirteenth President through the difficult war years of 1940 to 1942 was elected in January 1929 and both served 45 years as members. George sat for the first time as a committee member in 1970 with his father Otto at the meeting.  He was voted Hotelier of the Year in 1990 and was honoured with the OBE in 1992. His son Jeremy is now responsible for running the hotel and the Gorings have hosted us 38 times – more occasions than many other organisations. They have always been staunch and generous supporters.
Past President Chris Briere-Edney 2001-2002
Chris joined the Réunion when he was a hotel management trainee with J. Lyons and Company. Later in his career he was Catering Adviser to Debenhams before joining the John Lewis Partnership as General Manager – Catering in 1969. Since then he has held a goodly number of catering consultancies.  Chris’s father known as “Buster” joined in 1954 and was also a member for 45 years and served as Secretary/Treasurer.
Menu and Wines
The menu has been specially prepared by Fellow Gastronome Herbert Berger to reflect dishes of the sixties.
Champagne Reception
A selection of canapes was served, including Devils on Horseback, Smoked Salmon on Brown Bread, Quiche Lorraine, Chipolatas in Worcestershire Sauce, and Liver Pate on Toast.
Champagne Charles Vercy Cuvée de Reserve Brut NV
Charles Vercy champagnes are produced by the award winning H.Blin & Co, founded in 1947. It is a great quality dry champagne, well balanced, powerful and elegant with rich, savoury aromas, good mousse and flavour.

Grace was said by: Michael Thatcher, Master, Worshipful Company of Cooks


First Course


Potage Saint Germain

With Ham Hock and Golden Croûtons
Very tasty traditional creamy green pea soup.  It was good enough to have been served, as it had been originally, to Louis XIV of France, at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye after which the soup is named.


Trimbach Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France, 2014

This impeccable, crisp and elegant wine, with a perfect sense of balance, is made with about 70% Auxerrois, a distant relative of Chardonnay. Trimbach has remained a family-owned operation over the centuries with twelfth-generation cousins Jean and Pierre presently in charge. This wine also followed through to the fish course.


Fish Course


Fillet of Dover Sole Veronique

Gloriously reminiscence presentation of the classic fish dish.  The grapes garnishing the dish had has been peeled, binging back memories for those of us who had spent hours doing that in the past.  A special treat was to have the traditional garnish of a fleuron (crescent shaped puff pastry).


Main course


Supreme and confit of blackleg chicken 

Supreme and confit of blackleg chicken
Very tender chicken set in a velouté of morels in Vin Jaune (‘yellow wine’ made from the Savagnin grape in the Jura) and accompanied by leeks, carrots Vichy and superbly creamy truffle oil mash.    Black leg free range chickens are French chickens bred for flavour, farmed using traditional methods and fed a natural diet.  Also known as Poulet Noir, these birds are recognisable by their distinctive black legs, and are known for having a game-like texture and very little fat.


Jaffelin Pinot Noir, Vin de France, Pays d’Oc, 2014 

This wine is made with 80% of the Pinot Noir coming from the warmer southern climate of the Pays d’Oc which gives colour, roundness and the fruit, and 20% from the cooler climate of the Loire which gives minerality and acidity.  This unoaked wine exhibits a ripe expression and nuances of dark fruits such as blackcurrant, blackberry and black cherry.




Soufflé Grand Marnier

Silver served from large soufflé dishes this delightful soufflé was complemented with a bitter chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.


Lapeyre Jurançon, France 2015 

Made from a blend of the grape varieties Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng which are unique to the region of Jurançon in south west France.  The grapes are used for both sweet and dry wines with the sweeter styles exhibiting richer notes of banana, honey and fruit cake.


Coffee, Petites Fours and Port


Barão de Vilar Vintage Port,  2000

Made from a blend of traditional Port grapes this wine comes from Barão de Vilar – Vinhos, SA, which was established in January 1996. Smooth and soft, this Port is entering its prime but will also develop further over several decades. Taste was luscious, rounded and complex with hints of dark spice, chocolate, plums and red berries.


The Loyal Toast was proposed by: Past President Phillipe Rossiter

Following the meal the President read out the citations of the three Past Presidents who were being celebrated.  Each was also presented with a specially commissioned commemorative gilt version of the Past President badge.


Great appreciation was shows by those attending to: 
Fellow Gastronome Herbert Berger and his team and Paul Slylianou and his service team in the room.
Grateful thanks for their help and support in creating the evening were also given to:
Enotria & Coe for the Champagne Charles Vercy Brut NV and the Trimbach Pinot Blanc; Hayward Bros. (Wines) Ltd for the Jaffelin Pinot Noir, and Mark Grove, the Cook & the Butler for the Barão de Vilar Vintage Port.
Pictures and word by Gastronome John Cousins