As the year progresses, we gathered for the Annual Banquet where we visited Ironmongers Hall once again. The Hall being the home of the Worship Company of Ironmongers, one of the Great 12 Livery Companies (there are 111 in total) of the City of London whose links to the Iron trade reaches back over 700 years. This historic country house nestling in amongst the modern metropolis of the Barbican.
Leaving Aldersgate Street through a narrow alley into the Courtyard the entrance beckoned us to enter a huge reception area dominated by the Main staircase. We were directed up the staircase to be greeted by the President, Bill Brogan, Vice President, Paul Evans and Past President, Alison Frith. Then onto the Drawing Room where the gathering was served with bubbling glasses of Champagne Philippe Brugnon Brut 1er Cru NV and Canapés
The gathering was called to order and summoned to the Banqueting Hall for the start of dinner. The Banqueting Hall an impressive room by any standards. The windows, ceiling chandeliers and oak panelling conjure up heraldic imagery and the fine stained-glass windows record the rooms connections with the monarchy and past Lord Mayors of London.
The toastmaster called upon the President Bill Brogan who welcomed all. He went on to welcome new Gastronomes Gopi Chandran and Mark Lewis – In addition Mark Lewis, Hospitality Action was made an Honorary Member. Gastronome Chris Moore then said grace and the room seated.
The Hall staff were complimented by students from Westminster Kingsway College helping with Service and in the Kitchen and gaining work experience.
The Fare started with Cromesquis de Pate accompanied with Cherrier Pere et Fils, Sancerre, Loire, France 2020. We then went onto Salmon Gravlax, Hot Smoked Salmon Roll, Fennel Tops Salad. Our next course a Banana Leaf, Pan-Seared Scallop, Mango Salad, Coconut Ginger Sauce.
Then onto the Main Course Duck à l’Orange, Boulangerie Potato, Apple Purée, Baby Carrots & Harika Beans which was served with Domaine la Boulandière Syrah, Languedoc, France 2022.
To further stretch our palates the dessert was Rum Baba, Spiced Raisin Chutney, Crisp Honeycomb and Almond, Vanilla Ice Cream served with a delicious Champagne Philippe Brugnon Rosé Brut 1er Cru NV.
All finished with the customary Coffee & Petits Fours
The evening then continued with a presentation given by the Chair of Judges, Gastronome, John Cousins who introduced the three finalists of the Gastronomes Annual Award 2023. The finalists were. Aurelia Idy Assistant Food and Beverage Services Manager, Pulman London. St. Pancras. Abdul Sharief Padinaram, In Room Dining Manager. Hilton Bankside Hotel and Gianluca Sebis, Restaurant Manager in Charlie’s, Brown’s Hotel. The entrants had been excellent, and it had been very hard to chose this years winner. To be announced later!
‘The King’ – proposed by the President.
The Toast – Sante du Chef and Service proposed by Gastronome Janet Wigley-Clarabut. Continuing – the Toast to the Guests proposed by Vice President, Paul Evans. The response by Mark Lewis Chief Executive of Hospitality Action who proposed the Toast to the Reunion des Gastronomes.
We were also addressed by Gastronome, Ruston Toms Chairman of Trustees for
The PM Trust. The Reunion des Gastronomes are official supporters of the Trust along with the Association of Catering Excellence (ACE)
Then to the Award for the Best event of the year – the nominations – City of London Club, L’Escargot and Oriental Club
The winner: L’Escargot.
The Reunion des Gastronomes Award 2023 was awarded to Aurelia Idy, Assistant Food and Beverage Services Manager, Pullman London St Pancras.
Additionally, a raffle was held, offering guests a chance to win numerous prizes, adding an element of anticipation and thrill to the conclusion of the evening.
Overall, the “Reunion des Gastronomes Banquet” at Ironmongers Hall was an unforgettable experience. The combination of Good Fare and Wine, good service by the Kingsway College students, the President’s award, and the raffle made it a truly memorable and enjoyable event for all attendees.
And so into the night air once more to wend our way home till our next gathering.