March hails a time of year for Gastronomes to gather for their Annual General Meeting, historically held at the National Liberal Club but this year hosted by Gastronome Edward Plunkett at the City of London Club. The Club tucked just around the corner from London Wall in Old Broad Street and founded on 29th February 1832. Several refurbishments have taken place since then adapting to the changing marketplace and requirements of members.
Members of the Gastronomes were delighted to return having last visited 29th April 2019.
The customary Committee Meeting took place before members mustered for the AGM. Mind one would have hoped for sunshine as the day marked the Spring Equinox and the official start of Spring. Sadly, members travelled through rain and grey skies. On arrival members were directed to the Drawing Room on the first floor. Officers took their places at the head of the room and order was called by President, Alison Frith. Formalities were undertaken with approval of the Minutes of the previous AGM apologies were advised and the business of the day undertaken. New Officers were announced having been nominated, elected, and endorsed by the gathered members.
President: W.A. Brogan (Bill)
Vice President: Paul Evans
Secretary: Vic Laws
Assistant Secretary: Mark Emmerson
Treasurer: Martin Dibden
The President, Alison Frith gave a synopsis of her three-year tenure highlighting the struggles that had been endured during the Covid 19 Pandemic and the hardship that many colleagues had had and continued to have on the road to a recovery. A vote of thanks was expressed for the way that she had held the helm of the Reunion during this difficult time.
Business concluded members withdrew to the downstairs bar for a reception where sparkling glasses were poured of Ridgeview Cavendish NV , England accompanied with Cheese Straws, Honey and Mustard Sausage, Quail’s Egg, Leeds Blue Cheese and Watercress Tartlets.
Dinner was called and members were summoned to take their places in the magnificent main dining room where two long tables dominated the room for places to be taken. The new President welcomed all and introduced two new members – John Herity, Caledonian Club, and Raoul De Souza, Hilton Bankside. Grace was said by newly elected Vice President Paul Evans, FIH – Places were taken.
Staff arrived with a demi-tasse of Wild Mushroom Velouté, Truffle and Thyme Crème Fraiche – this complimented with a Mâcon-Lugny. Domaine Rochebin, Burgundy 2021. All followed by a Parfait of Chicken Liver and Foie Gras, Blood Orange Gel and Nettle Emulsion.
The Fare continued with delightfully Roasted boned and stuffed Quail, Confit Mushrooms, Parsnip and Hazelnut. Served with glasses of Côtes du Rhône, E. Guigal, Rhône, 2018.
Onwards came pudding to further extend our taste buds, a Rhubarb and Custard Mille-Feuille, complimented with a Seigneurs de Monbazillac, Monbazillac, Dordogne, 2014.
We were not to be disappointed either as the AGM traditional Souffle appeared next. Individual pots of Poached Pear and Old Winchester Soufflé and Kopke Late Bottled Vintage Port – Coffee and Petits Fours.
We rose to the cry ‘The King’ raised our glasses for the Toast proposed by the President.
Past President Philippe Rossiter FIH toasted the Town Members, Gastronome Paul Wenham toasted the Country Members, Gastronome Chris Hogan FIH toasted the Retired Members.
The President stood – outlined thoughts about the way forward and some ideas that needed to be explored in the coming months. A lively and interesting calendar was under way which would appeal both to existing members and hopefully attract more new members.
We had of course toasted the team – Santé du Chef and Service and sincere thanks were expressed to Edward Plunkett for his hospitality at the Club.
Members were reminded of our next gathering at Revolve on 24th April. Good wishes for a safe journey home to all. Some lingered a little before heading out into the evening air and wending their way home, looking forward to the next repast.