On Thursday 27th April 2017, the hijinks of the Entrepreneurs’ Appreciation Supper returned to the Guildhall Club. This annual supper, where Freemen Entrepreneurs and their guests are given the opportunity to rehearse some of the more peculiar customs of City dining in an informal setting, has become noted as much for its jocular atmosphere as its educational aims!
Freemen and guests enjoyed lashings of prosecco on arrival and then the Senior Warden (Alderman Peter Hewitt, resplendent in his bright blue Warden’s robe) and his wife introduced the evening. Their instructive remarks on conversational etiquette (including, crucially, how to politely detangle from a conversation!) were followed by a practice session – with the emboldened guests now fearlessly engaging (and disengaging) with the Wardens and Court Assistants.
The Appreciation Supper is also a highly musical affair, although there was a good deal of laughter at the various equipment malfunctions that befell the doughty pianist – unused to the particular model of early 1990s synthesizer that had been procured for the occasion!
The procession was re-run (without the rhumba beat that had mysteriously interrupted the initial attempt), and supper ensued, with two delectable courses to the Guildhall’s usual high standards. The Senior Warden and Mrs Hewitt continued to punctuate proceedings with a lively double-act that covered thorny dress codes with the seriousness that they deserve.
The Rose Bowl was then demonstrated and circulated, which, for many of the Freemen and guests, was the first occasion on which they had experienced the custom. Most everyone present was astonished at its genuinely refreshing effects, and the Clerk was encouraged by more than one diner to make time for this to be incorporated into the Guild’s Summer Banquet.
There was more than a passing resemblance to ‘The Generation Game’ as the Loving Cup then began its journey, and, to the accompanying strains of the pianist’s medley of Gilbert & Sullivan and TV cop show theme tunes, the Freemen and guests were, in turn, cheered and refreshed by the Cup’s sparkling cocktail.
Toasting and the singing of Grace ensued, with several of the more experienced guests indulging in a lusty rendition of the Laudi Spirituali – the City’s most widely-used Grace. In spite of a fine effort (which the pianist described in glowing terms as ‘better than expected’), the Senior Warden demanded a second attempt, and it is fair to say that both volume and accuracy were much increased with repetition.
Most of the evening’s formality concluded, and the Senior Warden then delivered his closing remarks. It was then left to the Middle Warden to respond, with thanks to Alderman and Mrs Hewitt, to the caterer and staff, and in particular to a generous Livery Company (from whom the Rose Bowls and Loving Cups were on loan). The Middle Warden ended with a reminder that the Summer Banquet at Cutlers’ Hall was fast approaching.
More details about this year’s Summer Banquet can be found HERE
The Appreciation Supper 2018 will be on Thursday 19th April