62nd Grand Chapitre, Oxford 29 September – 2 October 2022

Our 62nd Grand Chapitre was a wonderful return to meeting with friends from all over the country and from all over the world.

Thursday evening’s Diner Amical started with drinks in the Italian Courtyard of the Old Bank Hotel, before moving into the Gallery and Red Room for dinner. The evening was packed with members enjoying the best of camaraderie. Chef Rohan Kashid prepared a classic British start to the weekend with a goat cheese and beet salad followed by a generous sirloin steak and sticky toffee pudding.

Photos from the Welcome Dinner, St John’s College:


For more photos of the 62nd Grand Chapitre visit the gallery.

A full complement of members set off early the next morning for Blenheim Palace for a tour and lunch in the Marlborough Room – dodging the heavy rain between various parts of the estate. The feedback was definite – the Duke of Marlborough, lucky man, certainly built a stunning palace! Others went on a Walking Tour of the city centre. Highlights included the Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library and a wander through New College in the steps of Harry Potter.

Time then for the Welcome Dinner in St John’s College, when again the rain contrived to put a damper on the planned reception in the Front Quad, so we wended our way to the shelter of a marquee in the Thomas White Quad. Then it was back to the candlelit Dining Hall, which was at full capacity. Members were served a dinner that students could only dream of! This was a particular pleasure after the lean years of Covid-impacted events. Finally, Chaîne GB was able to welcome some 70 members from 17 countries to its Grand Chapitre.

Dating back to 1555, the beautiful buildings provided the backdrop to this first experience of Oxford Collegiate dining for the majority of members. A couple of highlights of the dinner prepared by Chef Paul Barnes were, first, seared scallops, celeriac purée, tomato salsa, lemon and vanilla oil matched with Joseph Mellot, Sancerre La Chatelaine 2020. Then the main course of Herb crusted rack of lamb, Dauphinoise potatoes, chanterelles, tender stem broccoli, braised heritage carrots, roast plum and port jus – accompanied by the beautifully smooth Antinori, Badia a Passignano, Chianti Classico Gran Seleccione 2016.

Photos from the Induction Ceremony:

For more photos of the 62nd Grand Chapitre visit the gallery.

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning two groups visited Stratford-upon-Avon. Ahead of them was the choice of either a leisurely boat trip on the river or a behind-the-stage tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, plus guided tours of the town under the guidance of Blue Badge Guide Helen Smith. Lunch in the theatre’s Rooftop Restaurant was concluded by an impromptu Santé by Penny Lamb.

Also taking place that day was our Induction Ceremony in the magnificent University College Church built in 1280. Proceedings proceeded swiftly under the baton, or should we say the sword, of our Inducting Officer Norbert Simon, Bailli Délégué of Austria and Membre du Conseils d’Administration et Magistral. The newly inducted or promoted were able to join friends in a celebratory reception. Certainly, a memorable location for all our inductees. A view, considered to be the best of the city centre, awaited those who ventured up the 127 steps of the tower.

Gala Dinners are all special but this year’s was VERY special. It was held in Keble College, the first of the ‘new’ Colleges in Oxford when it was constructed in the late 19th century in the towering Victorian Neo Gothic style. The Dining Hall was built just a little longer than that at Christchurch so making it is the largest in the University, seating some 300 people.

The University team led by Senan Symonds are very obviously experts at putting on large, private, multi-course dinners. They could not have been more helpful. The results showed in the stunning execution of each course by the ever-enthusiastic Head Chef Sarfraz ‘Freddie’ Husain. Highlights included the English farm compressed ham hock terrine with homemade piccalilli and a mustard emulsion gel, paired with Louis Jadot, Chateau des Jacques, Moulin a Vent 2019 and the exceptional Main course. Pepper and herb infused, slow cooked venison loin, braised shoulder croquette, beetroot gratin, heritage carrot and a port wine red pepper jus, all superbly matched with Vina Real, Rioja Gran Reserva 2015 in Magnums.

Photos from the Gala Dinner, Keeble College:

For more photos of the 62nd Grand Chapitre visit the gallery.

After such a glorious evening with so many friends, it somehow felt a let-down to be going home the next morning. However, we were again blessed with sunshine and a goodly crowd turned up for lunch and squeezed into the Cherwell Boat House. Final Adieus were made mid-afternoon, with members promising to meet again next year in Warwickshire for the 63rd Grand Chapitre.

For more information, please email: events@chaine.co.uk

Induction – University College Church, Oxford
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Gala Dinner
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Linda Lou Bearne and James Bearne
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