49th International Grand Chapitre de Grande Bretagne - London, 26-28 September 2008
Sunshine, Ceremonial and Camaraderie
The 49th International Grande Chapitre de Grande Bretagne was blessed with perhaps the best weather that London has had to offer for months!
It was based besides the River Thames, in all its glory, at the Four Seasons Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands, where the cultures of the old and new worlds meet.
Today Canary Wharf is a leading financial and insurance centre and many members took the opportunity to wander round the newly developed area with shops, riverside cafes, and architecture to rival cities around the world. Delegates too came from around the world, including South Africa, Egypt, USA, Turkey, Australia and Bermuda. Marie Jones, Bailli Delegue Honoraire and M. Conseil d’Administration, also attended the weekend.
The opening dinner on the Friday night was held at the Honorable Artillery Company’s headquarters since 1537. Two ceremonial guards greeted us on arrival and the dinner was a culinary delight, served with the precision that befits a military establishment. The dinner also featured the presentation of the Young Commis Chefs Competition winner, Robert Taylor of the Swinton Park Hotel and Restaurant in Yorkshire Bailliage.
With a departure from traditional timetable, the induction of 58 new and newly promoted members took place on the Saturday morning. This was to ensure that as many of the professional inductees were able to attend before returning to their establishments for their busy Saturday evenings. The Inducting Officer Karim Henein, from the Bailliage of Egypt, made a wonderfully balanced introduction including the history of the Chaîne spiced up with some amusing anecdotes.
Most members and guests took the opportunity on Saturday afternoon of taking the planned boat trip in glorious sunshine up the Thames as far as the Houses of Parliament and then downstream to the National Maritime Museum.
In the evening, the Gala Dinner took place at the Four Seasons Hotel with Maitre Rotisseur Bax in charge of the kitchens. The presentation of the winner of our first Young Sommeliers Competition was Laura Rhys of the TerraVina Hotel and Restaurant, and she took the best wishes of the members with her, as she prepared for the international final in Vienna. Again with a departure from tradition, but welcomed by our members, was a short recital from soprano Rosie Bell during a break in service. Her voice was glorious and we were fortunate to have such a talented singer join us for the evening.
The weekend concluded with a sumptuous brunch held in a Tuscan Village at the Quadrato, in the heart of the Four Seasons, featuring a dazzling array of hot and cold dishes. A wonderful weekend in the best traditions of the Chaîne was the popular concensus.
Download the Gala Dinner Menu (.PDF 172KB)
Download the Brunch menu (.PDF 228KB)
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