The early title of the organisation was “Les Gastronomes” later changed to Réunion des Gastronomes. The first meeting was held in August 1899 at the Queen’s Hotel, Leicester Square. There had been meetings before that date, but no records were kept.
The purpose was to meet monthly in members establishments, to wine and dine and to discuss matters of common interest connected with the Hotel and Catering profession. The cost to members at that time for supper including wines, was 15 shillings per head.
The principal objectives of the Reunion des Gastronomes are:
- To protect in every way possible the interest of the members.
- To develop, support and promote the culinary art in every way possible.
- To promote, principally by its social re-unions, mutual understanding, exchange of ideas and opinions between colleagues which may be of value on all questions concerning their profession.
Establishments where meetings took place in the early days were the well known hotels and establishments in London such as Hotel Cecil, Princes Restaurant, Palmerston Restaurant, Queen’s Hotel, Café de Europe, Hotel de park, Hotel Bristol, St James’ Restaurant and the National Liberal Club. The managers of these establishments were early members.
Since then we have visited most London Hotels and many Restaurants and Clubs and on occasions visited many out of town establishments, where we are always well looked after in a superb manner.
Our members over the years have included such illustrious names within the industry as Oddenino, Escoffier, Ritz, Quaglino, Lyons, Lord Forte, Sir Maxwell Joseph, four generations of the Gorings, and many other distinguished caterers, far too numerous to mention.
Membership is by invitation only and restricted to Managing Directors and Managers of Hotels and Restaurants and other senior professional caterers who possess a high degree of knowledge and experience in hotelkeeping and catering and who have at least 2 years working experience in a first class kitchen. Lady members were admitted in 1997.
There has been a very special Annual Banquet where members endeavour to entertain their guests in spectacular style. The society maintained an active Benevolent Fund however the funds were transferred to Hospitality Action in 2007 whose values and management met similar criteria.
In 1980 members of the Reunion formed a Golfing Society to enable those members who play, to meet and compete for trophies and to enjoy one another’s company in a more relaxed atmosphere.
The membership has been maintained around 150-170 members.
Download the Gastronomes Editor’s History HERE