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 was originally only open to owners, senior executives, and senior managers who are involved in the provision of professional food and beverage services. Membership is now also open to hospitality professionals at proprietor, senior executive, and senior manager levels, who are employed in establishments / organisations that provide food and beverage services, and aspiring proprietors, senior executives and senior managers who are on a career path in the provision of professional food and beverage services.
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.
The membership has been maintained around 150-170 members.
Download the Gastronomes Editor’s History HERE