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  NEWSLETTER of the Worshipful Company of Cooks of London                                                   Number 39
  Edited by Honorary Freeman Martin Armstrong                                                             Summer 2010

           E are now into the second half and moving into

                                                                                                                                Courtesy of Michael O’Sullivan
           the Summer recess period, so I’m more than half-
           way through my Master’s year, which inevitably is
passing very quickly. It is time to review... Nearly all
fictional time machines hurtle their occupants at extreme
speed throwing occupants around like clothes in a tumble
dryer. The first half was just such a tumble for Mary and
me. The air was full of invitations, letters, E-mails and
expletives as we endeavoured to master the Master’s
admin... Now all is starting to work like a well-oiled
machine on receipt of an invitation, checking the diaries,
responding, and filing, filing, filing... The many events that
the Master and Mistress are invited to are a huge pleasure
but the paper, real or virtual, is just extraordinary!

My monthly diary is available for all to see on the excellent
website that Assistant Gibson has recently updated. This
year I have added a bit more editorial ‘colour’ to the diary
which I hope makes the list both a little more interesting
and, for those approaching the time when they will be
called upon to be Master, a little more informative.

For those on that path, many ask me, “So what’s it really
like?” As a Master in full-time employment I have to juggle
work alongside my service to the Cooks. Initially I was
concerned how this might work. The answer is not without
receiving the kind support of the owners of Crystal Hotels.
I will give you a feel for what a busy day can be like: April
20th start with a stout breakfast (I check one breakfast per
hotel each month and award a prize for the best one) and
after hold a meeting with agents and introduce them to the
a new General Manager. Return to the office – luckily
most of the hotels are within 3 minutes walk - and check E-      Master with Lord Mayor Nick Anstee
mails and write thank you letters for previous day’s
function. Leave at 10.30 to get to Canary Wharf, the             not quite so jolly!! Return to Paddington (the office).
Jubilee Sailing Trust and see the Tall Ships Lord Nelson, -      Placate customer who has been taken by a taxi to the
get off at the wrong stop! Can see the blessed thing but         Kensington Court Hotel, Princes Square (very down
cannot get to it. Consider swimming. Eventually work out         market) rather than the same named Crystal Hotel at
the route. Arrive with blisters.Extremely interesting visit;     Nevern Place (highly superior!!). Sort out similar
the Lord Nelson is a fully operational square rigged             confusions and check contents of coffers for the rest of the
schooner (I may not have got the full technical terms            afternoon. Meet Mary at 6pm at St Paul’s (15mins down
correct) converted to enable those with impairment and           the Central line) and go to Mercers Hall for Musical
disability to enjoy full participation of such a ship at sea.    evening and buffet supper, an informal and relaxing and
The Cooks provided recent funding for the galley. She has        rather wonderful evening promoting young musicians. An
just been partially refitted including a new teak deck,          excellent day all round. Sleep very well!!
reclaimed as a donation from a fine country house in India.
Very enthusiastic helpers dishing out jolly tea and cakes        Of course not every day is like this but you have to expect
from the galley - Meet the Cook. He’s under pressure, so         two of these a week during most of the year.
Of course my day in the life pales into insignificance              enthusiasm and care for their participants. I am very
alongside that of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs so I was              proud that the Cooks’ can help such successful
particularly delighted that the Lord Mayor, Nick Anstee             enterprises.
and a full contingent of Sheriffs were able to join us in May
for our Court and Civic Dinner.                                     Secondly, I aimed to improve communication within the
                                                                    Livery. We held the Cooks’ Livery Meeting in June, which
The Lord Mayor’s schedule is very exacting but also                 judging from the feedback was a great success. I had
subject to last minute change – so it turned out that a             wanted to enlighten Liverymen about the workings of the
combination of Icelandic ash and the eve of Election Day            Company and to encourage participation from all
made the date a good choice after all – and was to our              members for the benefit of the Company. Attendance was
advantage. It was a very special honour and a great                 good and we listened to briefings on the Company
pleasure to welcome him and his sheriffs. His charity ‘Pitch        finances, Cooks’ Charities, Property and Investments, and
Perfect’, a combination of music and cricket – two                  Cookery Committee. I think we all learned something
favourites of mine - is progressing well and we have been           new. There were more questions than time allowed but
pleased to be able to support him.                                  these will be explored in due course. This was the first
                                                                    meeting of its kind and I hope it will become a regular
In April, we had the Services dinner and it was a delight to        feature in the future.
recognise the fabulous work that the Services do to train
raw young recruits into skilled cooks and chefs who provide         Thirdly, I wanted to increase the amount of charitable
that much-needed respite in the field of battle. I was              giving by the Livery to the Cooks Charity. I am pleased to
delighted to represent the Cooks at the return fixtures at          report it has increased. By the end of the meeting members
Deepcut, RAF Halton, and HMS Raleigh and of course                  had a greater understanding of the workings of the Cooks’
I’m already looking forward to Sandown Park – no not the            Charity and some were moved to complete a standing
racing - but the Combined Services Culinary Competition,            order. At present about 20% of the Livery donate but it
of course!                                                          would be marvellous to get this nearer 100%. A standing
                                                                    order of £3 a month or even £25 per year would make all
At the start of my year I set out three aims, so it is              the difference or please consider a donation when you are
important now to assess how they are progressing.                   replying to a dinner invitation.

The first, to further develop existing relationships with           Finally I do want to pay tribute to Past Master John
youngsters to give them an insight into the craft of                Balls. He was a friend of my father’s, they went to
cooking- I cannot praise highly enough the terrific work            school together, and he was especially kind to me,
of the Academy of Culinary Arts and the Chefs-Adopt-                particularly when I came onto the Court. He will be
A-School, Springboard and Future Chef, and the                      missed by us all.
London Hospitality Centre at Hackney Community
College. I pick these three particularly because they                                                           Graham Craddock
cover the range of ages from primary school through to                                                                   Master
adult education and the fact that their leaders have such

                                         COOKS WEBSITE
                      Y THE TIME you read this the ‘new-look’ Cooks website ( will
                      have been ‘switched-on’. Liveryman Ben Powell has ‘rebuilt’ and ‘refurbished’ it for
                      contemporary times - many thanks indeed to him for his last few months of effort. The
               website remains, importantly, one way of communicating what we do to those outside the
               Company - principally, our charitable activity and our support to cookery. Similarly, alongside the
               What’s Cooking newsletter, it allows us to communicate within the Livery - via the private
               ‘Members’ area - matters of mutual interest. This members area contains some useful material: a
               diary of events; Company contact details; an overview of accounts; committee composition;
               Company Standing Orders and so on. It also has an interactive blog, the Master’s Diary and
               Report, useful links, and other ‘live’ material. There is also an online shop for some WCC-labelled
               merchandise, as well as our own bespoke link to Amazon on-line (these two links generate small
               charitable donations when used for purchases). It is open to every single member of the Company
               regardless. However, not everyone is ‘registered’ yet. Should you wish to be registered then it
               would be most helpful if you first contact the Clerk with your e-mail address (so that he has it too)
               in order to receive a ‘username’ and ‘password’ from Ben or myself. Finally, the new website
               ‘engine’ has far more capability than the old one; but, doing more with it rather depends upon
               what you would like to see done with it; the same contacts apply - do let us know.
                                                                                                       Steve Gibson

                       CITY FOOD LECTURE 2010
                      “The biggest challenge mankind has ever faced”

                                                                                                                                       Plateau courtesy of John D. Liu, EEMP
                                                                                                                                       (Picture from ‘Earth’s Hope’ The Lessons of the Loess
Sir David King                                                       Radical terracing in Rwanda
         N 19 January 2010, in the grand surroundings of             implementation of recovery programmes can become

O        the Guildhall , Sir David King delivered this year’s
         City Food Lecture. Sir David is Director of the
Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment,
                                                                     unduly protracted and may take effect long after the
                                                                     identification of a problem, Sir David reported some
                                                                     significant and remarkable advances, notably in China and
University of Oxford and for 7 years was the UK                      Rwanda. In the former, reforestation has progressed so
Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the                rapidly that by 2020, it will rank the largest in the world. In
Government Office of Science. He is an international                 Rwanda, there has been a massive cultural change. A
strategic thinker of the highest calibre. The Lecture was            combination of co-operative farming, radical and highly
promoted by the seven City Livery Companies with their               successful hillside terracing, in concert with concerted
roots in food - Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers,                    water management initiatives, now contrasts sharply with
Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulterers.                              the ravages of deforestation and desertification in the
                                                                     Amazon. Here also, cattle density is the lowest in the world.
Sir David’s address focused on the worrying challenge of
matching resources to demand within a rapidly expanding              Throughout, Sir David spoke with conviction and clarity in
world population that is forecast to reach 9 billion by 2060.        what amounted to a wake-up call to alert us to the
He rated this as the biggest challenge mankind has ever              immensity and complexity of the many inter-linked
faced. Human life span doubled in the 20th century,                  challenges that have to be overcome if the world’s
resources are now being consumed faster than they are                burgeoning population and its limited resources are to be
being replenished and food production needs to grow by               brought back into balance and so assure the survival of
50% before 2030. At the same time, climate change has                future generations. As is customary, the lecture was
brought higher temperatures and drought, leading to falling          followed by a panel of experts, chaired by Sir Stuart
crop yields, while deforestation and acidification of the            Hampson, answering a variety of audience questions.
oceans have compounded the imbalance. At sea, the fish
                                                                                                                                           Picture courtesy of Sputnik Communications

harvest has declined by 70% and if fishing continues at the
present rate, supplies will be exhausted by the middle of the
century. In addition, misguided attempts to use food to
produce bio fuels, which offer no carbon savings, have
created further strains on food production and added
urgency to the need to find a suitable replacement for the
world’s limited oil reserves. Rising sea levels have prompted
the development of new flood-resistant varieties of rice, a
staple diet item for one billion people. However, this process
by natural means has taken 5 years, while the use of GM, to
which some would say there has been much blinkered
resistance, could have achieved the same end in less than
half the time and so saved many lives. Another major
agricultural concern is the inexorable spread of bovine TB,
a major problem that has yet to be resolved.                         Naturally, after such thirsty work, the evening ended with
                                                                     some much-needed refreshment and sustenance, courtesy
However, all is not ‘doom and gloom!’ Although adherence             of the generous sponsors – Nestlé, Lockwood Press, The
to democratic processes often means that the                         British Cheese Board and Seasonal Berries.

         2 FEBRUARY 2010

         NE of the most pleasurable and eagerly awaited                                      London to become Lord Mayor; to be born within the
         events of the Company’s calendar is the annual                                      sound of Bow bells was the sign of a true Londoner or
         Candlemas Service. Sadly inaccessible for many in                                   Cockney; and Bow Bell’s authority ends the medieval
2009 due to the dreadful weather, the opportunity for the                                    nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’.
whole Company and its guests to join together in worship
in 2010, was particularly significant. Significant too, was                                  Candlemas is a traditional Christian festival that
the fact that the Service had been moved from St Botolph’s                                   commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, forty days
to St Mary-le-Bow. A number of us wondered why, until it                                     after the birth of her son Jesus. On this day, Christians
was revealed that the Master’s father-in-law, Canon Gerald                                   remember the presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple.
Hudson, had been Rector at the Church from 1980 to                                           Forty days after the birth of a Jewish boy, it was the custom
1985.                                                                                        to take him to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to

                                                              Copyright St Mary-le-Bow

                                                                                                                                                             Copyright St Mary-le-Bow

Founded in c1080, St Mary-le-Bow, was the London                                             God by his thankful parents. The 2nd February was the
headquarters of the Archbishops of Canterbury. The                                           day of the year when all the candles that were to be used
Church survived three devasting collapses before being                                       in the church during the coming year, were brought into
destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Rebuilt by Sir                                        church and a blessing was said over them - so it was the
Christopher Wren, it was again destroyed during an air                                       Festival Day (or ‘mass’) of the Candles.
raid on 10th May 1941. Bow bells are probably the most
famous in the world and for many hundreds of years, have                                     Our service was conducted with his usual blend of
been woven into the folklore of the City of London. In                                       solemnity and humour, by our Chaplain, Past Master The
1392 Dick Whittington heard Bow bells call him back to                                       Revd Keith Powell. The address was given by the Rector of

St. Mary-Le-Bow, the Revd G.R.Bush. A superb choir,                Twelve, the Salters’ Company is ranked nine in the order
under the direction of organist Alan Wilson, sang two              of precedence and the present hall, built in 1976, is their
beautiful anthems and led the hymns. The lessons were              sixth residence. Designed by Sir Basil Spence with
read with loud voice and great conviction, by the Master           interiors by David Hicks, the hall is well worth a visit.
and the Learned Clerk, whilst Liveryman Simon Roberts,             Interestingly, the previous hall was destroyed during the
spoke the Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication with               same air raids as those which destroyed St Mary-le-Bow in
dignity. No doubt that the enthusiasm with which the               1941. Following a Champagne reception, we moved to the
whole Company joined in the singing ensured that the               magnificent ash-panelled banqueting hall for an
hymns could be heard all down Cheapside. Sadly, not as far         outstanding lunch. The food quality, wine selection and
out as Hackney Marshes, where the sound of Bow Bells               standard of service were of the highest order, just as we
could be heard prior to the development of ‘high-rise’             have come to expect of Liveryman Mark Grove’s ‘Cook
London. A most moving and uplifting experience.                    and Butler’ Company.

Following the Service, we made our way to Salters’ Hall,           Thank you Master and to all those who contributed to
with the more athletic walking the half mile from the              making this a most memorable day.
Church and the less energetic taking advantage of a special
London Routemaster bus, thoughtfully suggested by Mark                                                                 Bev Puxley
Grove and laid on by Sandy Thatcher. One of the Great                                                                Renter Warden

                        Menu                                                               Wines
                                        a sabayon
                          eel with vodk                                                Recep
                                                                                Champagne Jo tion:
           Warm smoked                                                                      sé Michel N.V
                               uffle potatoes
                Caramelised tr                                                   Morgadio Alb
                                                                                              arino 2008
                                   ire beef
                    Roast Lancash d foie gras                                            Rias Baixas
                             orels an
              stuffed with m
                                                                           La Chapelle de
                        Girolles sauce es                                                 St. Dominique
                    Selection of ve                                              Vin de Pays L
                                           ith berries                      Château Rolan
                            linder filled w                                               d Sauternes 20
           Dark chocolate cy                                                                            01
                                       ney                                    Bairo de Vilar
                      Kumquat chut                                                           Ruby Por t
                                ate ice cream                                   Hennessy VS
                  White chocol                                                               Cognac



                             The Prayer of
                      Thanksgiving and Dedication

           God our Father, we thank you for the rich                           If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
           inheritance we enjoy; for the lives and vision of
                                                                                Winter will have another fight
           our Company benefactors, Walter Mangeard,
  John Sheild, Edward Corbett, John Phillips, Samuel                       If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
  Birch, Robert Miller, Arthur Fordham, Sidney Bishop,
  Andrew Murdoch and others; and for the loyalty and                              Winter won’t come again.
  generosity of all who have dedicated their service and
  lives to the Company. We pray that we in our generation
  may be given the grace to use to the utmost all that we                     If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
  have inherited - so that by the way we work, the way we                  The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
  pray and the way we serve you and one another we may
  enrich our Company for the benefit of others, the                           If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
  fulfilment of ourselves and the honour and glory of your                    The half o the winter’s gane at Yule
  son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

                                      “Proud to be a Cook”
    N March, Sidney Herbage began his 65th year since               major road construction project in Norfolk before retiring
    admission to the Livery in 1946 - a remarkable innings          and travelling the world to visit his far-flung family.
    by anyone’s standards! His family has had a long
association with the company and the history of the WCC is          There is one stage in his early working days that Sidney
peppered with Herbages serving as Masters, going back to            remembers with particular affection, when he found himself
his grandfather’s time in 1924/5! His father, Percy Herbage,        working at the Guinness factory on the design and
was Master in 1939/40, long before Sidney himself was               construction of hoppers. He recalls that each employee
crowned, for the first time, in 1967. His second term was in        received a daily allowance of one bottle of Guinness! But it
1992/3 and he became Father of the Company in 1999.                 was not the drink that he remembers. It was in this ‘heady’
Now, Sidney’s sons and grandchildren have extended the              atmosphere that he met Jean, whom he later married in
Herbage dynasty to five generations of Cooks!                       1949, when he was “volunteered” to fix the clock in her
                                                                    office and they have been ticking happily together ever
                                                                    since! Sidney and Jean have four children - Paul, Elaine,
                                                                    Stuart and Richard - and celebrated their Diamond
                                                                    Wedding Anniversary in 2009.

                                                                    Perhaps it was Sidney’s background in engineering and
                                                                    construction that led to his love of cake making! Over
                                                                    many years he made and decorated all the family’s cakes
                                                                    for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions,
                                                                    including one in the shape of a crocodile, complete with a
                                                                    leg in its mouth! His favourite food? - Marzipan! Sidney’s
                                                                    other pastimes included bridge, golf and his garden but his
                                                                    priority has always been his family in whom he has both
                                                                    admiration and pride in their various achievements.

                                                                    Sidney is passionate about the Company and is immensely
                                                                    proud to be a Cook, as well as a member of one of the
                                                                    families that have enjoyed such a long and distinguished
                                                                    association. He particularly values the WCC’s close and
                                                                    supportive liaison with the Armed Forces and hopes very
                                                                    much that one day, it might be possible for the Company
                                                                    to celebrate a Cook’s service
                                                                    in Afghanistan.

                                                                    The badge of the Father of
                                                                    the Company incorporates a
                                                                    cook’s knife and steel in
Sidney’s first crowning in 1967 by the Clerk, Sam Messent           enamelled silver gilt with
                                                                    gold supporters and was
Sidney was born in 1925 in Norbury, one of three sons,              donated in 2000 by the
when his father was shipping manager for the Japanese Nyk           widow of Past Master Harry
Line. Sidney attended Emanuel School at Clapham until               Tickler        who       had
1939 when, at the outbreak of war, he was evacuated to              bequeathed a sum of money
Petersfield - but for a short while only; as he was so badly        to the Company on his
missed by his mother! During the war, after attending the           death in 1999. It was
Brixton School of Building (now part of London’s South              accepted by the then
Bank University), Sidney was employed on the sea walls              Master, Paul Herbage, who
construction project in Skegness for about a year and being         had the pleasant task of
in a preserved occupation, was exempt military service.             investing his own father with
However, he registered as a fire warden and for a while, was        the badge.
also a member of the Officer Training Corps. Later, he
attended Northampton Engineering College (part of today’s           Sadly, Sidney is no longer
City University London) studying civil engineering and              able to attend Company
qualifying as a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers.         functions having entered
He spent the majority of his working days involved in the gas       residential care in June
pipeline construction industry in many different parts of the       following a decline in his
country. At the end of his career was also employed in a            health and mobility.

Clerk’s Corner                                                   progress to the head of the Livery, you will become
                                                                 eligible for election to the Court, but only if your
                                                                 attendance merits this. As an Assistant, you are
                                                                 expected to attend virtually every meeting of the Court,
As I embark on my twenty-third year as your Clerk, the           and to demonstrate your ability and willingness to do
Editor has kindly invited me to put a few thoughts on            this, you must have habitually attended at least sixty per
paper.                                                           cent of the qualifying functions for a Liveryman. An
                                                                 Interview Committee has now been established which
The Company has changed a lot since I was first                  meets with all applicants for Freedom, Livery and
appointed, and the workload of the Master, the Officers          Court, and reports back on suitability and likely
and the Court has increased considerably. The work of            commitment. You may think that these rules are unduly
the major Committees has expanded and we now have                restrictive and more draconian than those imposed by
more money to disburse, so membership has been                   other Companies, but bear in mind that the Cooks are
opened up to the Livery, with the possibility of co-             the smallest Livery, and we need active members to
option from the Freedom, so that we may make use of              fulfil our various obligations. We are in a tiny minority
the best talents within the Company. As I write this, the        in that we only have to pay our Fines for Freedom,
Master has organised a Summoned Meeting on 22nd                  Livery and Court, and otherwise pay no quarterage and
June in order to inform the Livery and the Freedom               dine free, with only a small token charge for our guests.
more fully of the Company’s various activities.                  Most other Companies charge fully for lunching and
Elections to membership of the various Committees are            dining, and also have a substantial quarterage, therefore
due in September, and I do hope that those of you who            are not particularly concerned whether you turn up or
have a particular expertise will apply.                          not.

Standing Orders and the Rules and Regulations are                Finally, all the notices for functions have a cut-off date
published on the Company’s website, so ignorance is no           two weeks prior to the event, after which applications
excuse, but it may be helpful to run through some of the         will not normally be accepted, to give adequate time for
provisions that have caused confusion in the past. A             the preparation of the event and for printing. Please do
Freeman, even by Patrimony, must now serve a                     not regard this as the target date, but get your
minimum of three years before being considered for               applications in promptly after receipt of the notice,
election to the Livery; it goes without saying that, if we       which will be two months prior to the event. This makes
have not seen you reasonably regularly during that               the administration considerably easier, and avoids
period, your chances of election are not good. Once on           disappointment, as with our leaner and meaner
the Livery, you must attend at least two qualifying              Freedom and Livery, events tend to fill up quickly.
functions during the year from November to November,
or you face automatic transfer to the Retired List. For          To end on a brighter note, I have lost count of the
the avoidance of doubt, only one attendance at                   number of times people from all sorts of backgrounds
Common Hall will qualify, and remember that you have             have said to me that a Cooks’ function is unlike others,
to make yourself known to the Master or to me if you             in that there is this “buzz” of well-being and
are not attending the subsequent lunch. As you                   contentment throughout; long may it continue.

                              COOKS COMPANY DATES 2011
 Wednesday            2nd February                  Candlemas Service St Botoph’s Lunch at Guildhall
                                                    (Launch of the new Cooks History Book)
 Wednesday            2nd March                     Court and Prizewinners Lunch
 Friday               1st April                     United Guilds Service St Paul’s and Lunch at Innholders Hall
 Wednesday            6th April                     Armed Services Dinner
 Wednesday            4th May                       Court and Civic Dinner
 Wednesday            8th June                      Court Ladies Dinner
 Friday               24th June                     Election of Sheriffs Guildhall and Lunch at Butchers Hall
 Wednesday            29th June                     Court and July Court Lunch Mercers Hall
 Wednesday            14th September                Election Court Dinner
 Thursday             29th September                Election of Lord Mayor Guildhall and Lunch at Innholders Hall
 Friday               21st October                  Company Dinner Guildhall Crypt
 Wednesday            16th November                 Associated Companies Dinner

 N.B. Events shown in red are Court only and do not apply to the Livery

                 PAST MASTER JOHN BALLS
     OHN joined the Livery in November 1949 and
     was acting Father of the Company at the time of his
     death. During his 60 years as a member he was
Master twice, in 1971/72 and 1994/95, and was also the
first Company Almoner in 1996, an office he had
proposed to the Court himself and which received
unanimous approval. He was an active member of the
Court and over the years played a leading role on
various Committees. Until quite recently he was also a
playing member of the Golfing Society and his
company supplied our wine for many years. In 1997 to
mark the approach of his fiftieth year in the Company,
John presented to the Court a new Warden’s badge to
replace one lost previously.

John had strong City connections. He was educated at
the City of London School, being evacuated to
Marlborough during the war before serving in the
Royal Navy. His family business, Balls Brothers, of
which he was still a director, had been founded in the
mid-nineteenth century so it was a natural progression
for him to join on completion of his accountancy
articles. It was a much smaller firm then and he told
me how he and his brother, Derek, would at the end of
the day bottle the wine they had imported in barrels.
He was very much a hands-on manager and would
regularly visit the firm’s branches across London. John
was a member of the Innholders Company, as is Derek,
who is a past Master of that Company . He was also
a member the Aldersgate Ward Club where he was
Chairman in 1974 and he served as a Tax
Commissioner. He loved his dogs and also took great
pride in his vintage Rolls Royce. He and his brother
married two vivacious sisters (the Misses Chiesman)
and he had a very happy family life married to Brenda
for nearly 60 years , there are three sons Peter, Michael
and Geoffrey and six grandchildren. They recently
moved to Sudbury from the Old Rectory at Stapleford
Abbots, their home for many years, and which saw
numerous wonderful parties and very happy family

These are just some of the facts most of which anyone
can find by looking up the Company history or a City
reference book, but what you will not find there is what
a tremendous supporter he was of the Cooks and what
a good friend he was to those of us who were privileged
to know him well. I first really got to know John on a
wine tasting trip to Bordeaux nearly 50 years ago, our
plane was ready for take off with no John on board               and pickers for lunch in the warm sunshine. We met at
when the pilot said “Sorry we have to return to the              cricket matches and sometimes on the high seas in a
terminal to pick up a late arrival” and, of course, it was       variety of boats culminating in the Lutine which his
John. We spent the afternoon drinking claret and the             firm hired to sail round the Isle of Wight. Lunch was a
evening at a pavement café drinking cognac and every             frequent occurrence. We also sometimes took our wives
glass came on a saucer so by the end of the evening we           away and behaved better.
had a large pile. We remained firm friends ever after,
enjoying cycling and walking holidays in France (he,             John was the sort of man you feel better for having
when possible, eating pigs’ trotters or jugged hare)             known. John was born on the 23rd December 1927
obviously wine tasting. Perhaps, the most memorable              and died on the 4th June 2010.
visit was to Petrus where we arrived on the first day of
the harvest and were invited to join the management                                          Past Master Hugh Thornton


                                                                                                                                 Courtesy of Michael O’Sullivan
  Master presents Company Awards to past WorldSkills competitors. (l – r): Alistair Birt, Katie Watson,The Master, Past Master
  Peter Messent, Adam Smith.
                                                                     Peter Messent, Past Master, Worshipful Company

         OLLOWING last year’s WorldSkills Calgary
         international competition that was reported in              of Cooks, commented: “The Cooks Company is
         December, 3 young winners were presented with               delighted to be able to recognise the achievements
  prizes at the annual Prize Winners’ Lunch at Innholders            of these three young people, who were such great
  Hall on Wednesday 3 March 2010. The recipients were                UK ambassadors and who demonstrated
  Adam Smith, cook and gold medal winner; Alistair Birt,             outstanding skills in the crafts of cooking and
  confectioner and winner of a medallion of excellence; and          hospitality on an international stage.”
  Katie Watson, restaurant service and bronze medal winner.

                           ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF
         ESTMINSTER Kingsway College, formerly
         Westminster Technical College and Westminster
         Hotel School, celebrated 100 years of catering
teaching this year. The Vintage Students’ Association
marked the event with a lunch in mid-May. The late Past
Master Cherry Grainger had been a student there in the
1930s and had been a Governor of the College and
President of the Students’ Association. The photograph
shows right to left: Past Master Alan Fairbrass, Past Master
Bob Grainger, Mrs Rita Lawrenson and Honorary
Freeman Bob Lawrenson.

                          Honorary Freeman Bob Lawrenson

                                                                                                  Senior Chef of the Year.
                                                                                                   SAC Ricky Thomas
                                                                                                     – RAF Benson.


       AST Master Alan Fairbrass rubbed shoulders with
       RAF ‘top brass’ alongside some of the good and the
       great from the world of catering at this year’s RAF
catering Competition on 9/10 June. In company with TV
celebrity chefs, VIPs and with a backdrop of cocktails, foot-
high flames, handmade chocolates and lots of shouting and
cheering, the competition was held at the RAF Catering
Training Squadron at RAF Halton. Preparations had
begun as early as last year in identifying suitable
competitors and mentors to compete in a wide range of
events testing food preparation and service skills from
canapés to coffee! There were classes for juniors – some
only just into training – as well as for seniors. Importantly,
catering was not just tested in conventional kitchens but
also in the field. Operational commitments mean that the
military caterer must also be able to excel under canvas, in
a hostile environment.

There is also a Grand Prix event, the format closely mirroring
the popular ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ competitions where teams of
two chefs prepare and present a 3-course fine-dining meal
from a mystery box of ingredients, and without the benefit
of recipe books, all in the space of 2 hours.

Representing one’s unit generates immense pride and it is
always rewarding to witness how much support and
encouragement is given by individuals’ station
commanders and their Executives – all anxious to sample
some of the culinary creations! At every level, such interest
fires enthusiasm and ambition among catering staffs and
their mentors. There were some truly exceptional
performances, in both individual and team events but it is
not possible here to do justice to all the participants.
However, the photographs shown are just a small selection
of the many who competed with such verve and
                                                                      Junior Chef of the Year. LAC Callum Taylor –
                               Squadron Leader Penny Moore            RAF Honington.

                     HONOURS - - COOKS                           2
        Honorary Freeman
         Prue Leith CBE

          ANY congratulations to author, chef and
          businesswoman, Honorary Freeman Prue
          Leith who in June was awarded a CBE in the
Queen’s Birthday Honours List. From 2006-2010,
Prue chaired the Schools Food Trust, which is charged
with overseeing the implementation of the legislation
on improving school food that followed the Jamie
Oliver TV campaign. Prue has also had a parallel career
in business, sitting on the boards of British Rail,
Safeway, Halifax, Whitbread, Woolworths and Omega
International plc. Today she is on the board of Orient-
Express Hotels. She has published five novels, and is
now writing her memoirs.                                         Prue Leith CBE

        Past Master                                                       GRACE AT
 Alan Fairbrass – Honorary                                        THE ARMED FORCES DINNER
   Vice President CSCAT                                                 31 MARCH 2010

   N recognition of his outstanding                                         From Waterloo to Desert Storm
   support over the years for the                                       Our martial cooks have served food warm
   Combined Services Culinary                                                Unlike some in NATO’s fold
Arts Team (CSCAT), Past Master                                           Who have been known to serve it cold
Alan Fairbrass was recently
                                                                         But Gracious Lord we give You thanks
honoured to be made its Honorary
Vice President. At the Armed                                              For all the food served to the ranks
Services Dinner on 31st March                                                And unto You we humbly pray
2010, on behalf of the Honorary President of CSCAT, Vice                 To keep them safe when in harm’s way
Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB CBE ADC, Second Sea                                          Amen
Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command,
a presentation was made by Colonel Peter McCall,

                                                                     Menu                              Wines
Regimental Colonel of the Royal Logistic Corps.

CSCAT was formed in 1997 to conserve the reputation
of the Armed Forces in world class national and
international culinary events. The team of 24 is made up            Potted shrimps                    Reception:
                                                                               salmon                Champagne
of 8 men and women from the catering branch of each              with smoked                     Canard Duche
                                                                     Salad  leaves                            ne Brut
of the three services. Together with 4 or 5 catering                               st
industry sponsors, the Worshipful Company of Cooks is              and Melba Toa                  Viognier Lo O
one of the main sponsors, enabling the team to fly the                                                           valle
                                                                              venison                  Vineyard
flag for Great Britain in the military section of the            Tournedos of                   Casablanca V
                                                                  served on a croute                        alley 2008
culinary olympics. Last year the competition was in                              ms
Erfort, in Germany, and this November it will be held in           wild mushroo                  Chateau Le C
                                                                    Red wine sa uce                          aillon
Luxembourg. Under the Chairmanship of Honorary                                  tatoes             Pomerol 2001
Freeman Wing Commander Mark Codgbrook, the team                   Parisienne po
has competed around the world and has performed                                    e              Clos L’Abeill
remarkably well winning many international awards and                Riz imperatric                             ey
                                                                    Red fruit compote             Sauternes 2007
continues to gain a first class reputation.
As Chairman of the Assistance of Cookery Committee,                 Devils on hors                    Por t:
                                                                                               Fonseca Guim
Alan has for many years taken a keen interest in the work                                                    aerens
                                                                                 tits fours           1986
of the Team. He has been an occasional judge since the             Coffee and pe
RAF Cook of the Year competition of 1987 and attends
many trial meals over the course of the year, which are
generally held at all three services catering schools.
Congratulations Alan on this well earned recognition.

Fairbridge youngsters with
Chef Paul Merrett and Canapés

                                                                                                   Photographs courtesy of Jed Corbett
           NE of our sponsored charities is Fairbridge - a
           national charity working from 15 centres in the
           UK - which aims to refocus excluded youngsters in
  the age range 13 – 25 to help them develop the confidence,
  motivation and skills needed to turn their lives round.
  There is also a tall ship ‘Spirit of Fairbridge’. The
  Company has previously contributed towards galley refit
  costs and the schooner has had some remarkable successes
  in giving wayward youngsters the interest and motivation
  to ‘set a straight and narrow course’.

  In early February, Fairbridge opened a new centre in
  Hackney for which the Company provided funding to fit
  out the kitchen. This facility is widely used to give
  instruction in cookery but it also acts as a hub for the
  centre, where cooking and eating together adds a social
  dimension to the charity's vital recovery work. At the grand
  opening, Past Master Bob Grainger presented a Cooks
  plaque to a young man called Sanjay, whose aim is to
  become an apprentice chef at Jamie Oliver's "15" in
  Hackney. Also pictured is a group of Fairbridge
  beneficiaries with celebrity chef Paul Merrett and a
  selection of canapés they had produced under Paul’s
  guidance. We can only hope the smiles will come later!              Sanjay receives WCC Plaque

                 The chefs getting into Kitchens and changing lives

Idris Caldora - Chefs Adopt a School Executive Chef - at a school in Birmingham

        HERE is a lost generation in the UK today, as parents               cooking up as a career. In particular, Idris remembers
        who did not prepare and enjoy food with their families              children from Chaford Primary School in Worcestershire who
        are continuing this worrying trend with their children.             were incredibly apprehensive about tasting a minestrone soup
Compounded by the lack of proper food education at schools                  which they had prepared and cooked themselves. “It was the
(no suitable facilities, no trained teachers, no interest - the list        first time they had tried the dish, and they were making real
of reasons why is varied) this has led to unhealthy children not            noises about not wanting to eat it, which I was surprised
being equipped with that most basic of life skills – how to feed            about, because usually after the children have worked with the
yourself properly.                                                          ingredients and brought it all together to form the finished
                                                                            dish, they have gained an appreciation and respect for the
There are organisations combating this situation and the                    food, and are - at the very least - curious about what the fruit
Chefs Adopt a School Trust is one of them. Chefs Adopt a                    of their labour tastes like. These girls were different, but after
School (CAAS) is a charity founded by the Academy of                        much persuasion they took a mouthful. And then another,
Culinary Arts and the programme sends professional chefs                    and another! They loved it and were delighted that they had
into schools to teach children and young adults about food                  created something which they found delicious. This was one
and cooking, food provenance, health, hygiene and nutrition.                of the many gratifying moments of CAAS.”
The charity works with over 21,000 children every year. The
chemistry that occurs in the classroom as the students are                  As well as regular primary, middle and secondary schools,
instructed by their very own chef - decked out in full chef                 Chefs Adopt a School also works with SEN schools, pupil
whites - is the special ingredient. The children are inspired               referral units and educational establishments for young
and motivated, the lessons are fun and exciting and most                    offenders. CAAS aims to draw children with disabilities or
importantly, those who take part in the workshops are                       behavioural difficulties out of themselves and the tactile
learning such vital lessons which will help them be aware of                nature of working with food has proved both engaging and
the importance good food should play in their lives.                        therapeutic. As Idris reflected, “the one that touches you most
                                                                            is when you have a child who has a learning difficulty and the
Chefs Adopt a School has a staff team of ten and a volunteer                teacher makes you aware of the child’s issues, then only to
army made up of members of the Academy of Culinary Arts.                    discover that the child has spoken more in the hour working
The CAAS Executive Head Chef is Idris Caldora, and his role                 with me, than she has spoken all week, not to mention smiling
is sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Cooks. Based in                   and laughing. This happened at Sidemoor Primary School
Stourbridge, Idris covers schools from Oxford to                            and it really hit home how deeply effective food and cookery
Nottingham, as well as managing the rest of the CAAS team                   can be”
which stretches from the South East to the North West.
Before Idris joined CAAS he was a noted figure on the                       The work that Idris and the rest of the team do also comes
culinary scene: posts at The Savoy and The Dorchester                       with its fair share of challenges – those problem children you
preceded Idris winning the Master of Culinary Arts Award,                   just can’t get to, balancing limited resources with a profound
making him one of the most talented chefs of his generation.                desire to educate as many children as possible about their
                                                                            food and children simply not liking the food. Inevitable with
Sometimes prowess in the working kitchen doesn’t translate                  young people, but a sore spot for any chef! But the satisfaction
to the classroom but Idris has an effective and informative                 Idris and the rest of the team derive from CAAS is enormous:
way of imparting his passion for food and cookery and over                  “there is nothing like seeing the delight on a child’s face as
his 4 years with CAAS, he has inspired and changed the lives                they take a first taste of something they’ve made. You get such
of thousands of children. Idris has 40 adopted schools and                  a good feeling from knowing that you’ve brought good,
works with nearly 5,000 children every year.                                healthy food into this child’s life – it makes the early starts, the
                                                                            miles of traveling and encounters with the difficult school
For Idris, the negative experiences that occur from his role in             caretaker all completely worth it” Most importantly the
CAAS are far outweighed by the positive – children who have                 benefit and joy that the children experience by discovering
been encouraged by his sessions to start cookery clubs, ask                 and learning about good food is immeasurable.
their parents for more cookery together at home or those who
have been prompted to investigate the possibility of taking                                                                 Alexandra Sinclair

              JACK PETCHEY
        UESDAY 13 April 2010 saw the commissioning of
        the Sea Cadet Training Ship JACK PETCHEY.
        The ship had been funded by public subscription,
of which the eponymous Mr Petchey put up £1 million.
We, the Cooks, made a contribution of £2,000 towards
galley fittings and appropriately, the Company’s donation
was made as the Master's gift during Past Master
Commander Bob Grainger’s year at the helm. The Master
attended the commissioning ceremony and in company
with the Sea Cadet Corps Offshore Commander,
Commander Jerry Bearne RNR and the vessel's Coxswain,
Chief Petty Officer S Whitby, presented the ship’s
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Chris L'Amie RN, with
a WCC plaque.
                                                                 Aye Aye (or should that be ‘Eye Eye’?) Sir!

Master with Jack Petchy and Lt L’Aime RN                         The Master with Coxwain CPO Whitby and Cdr Jerry Bearne

                  ALEXIS BÉNOIST SOYER
                 4th February 1810 - 5th August 1858.
                                                                   Then, alerted by press reports of soldiers dying of
                                                                   malnutrition, food poisoning and cholera in the Crimea,
                                                                   Alexis he went to see if he could help, taking his new
                                                                   invention, the 'Soyer's Field Stove'. On arrival, he worked
                                                                   alongside Florence Nightingale, correcting hospital dietary
                                                                   regimes and malpractice. Because soldiers were given their
                                                                   own rations, they put metal buttons, or other metal objects
                                                                   in the meat, so they could recognise their food after it had
                                                                   been cooked. Alexis stopped this; instead, regimental
                                                                   cooks were introduced to cook for all the men, on Soyer's
                                                                   all-weather Field Stove. His new diets and menus laid the
                                                                   foundations upon which the Army Catering Corps was
                                                                   subsequently established. The press said of Soyer; “He
                                                                   saved as many lives through his kitchens as Florence
                                                                   Nightingale did through her wards.”

                                                                   Back in England, in failing health, Alexis published one
                                                                   final book before dying in 1858. He was buried with
                                                                   Emma under the memorial 'Faith' in Kensal Green
                                                                   Cemetery. Soyer had been a prolific inventor and author,
                                                                   his books reaching all levels of society, yet received no
                                                                   rewards from his adoptive country for all his humanitarian
                                                                   deeds. Put simply, he was the man history forgot, despite
                                                                   being considered the greatest chef in the world.

    N March 2009, a mixed group gathered at Kensal
    Green Cemetery, once a Victorian society burial
    ground, to remember Alexis Soyer, the French
celebrity chef of the mid-19th century. The occasion
marked the restoration of the magnificent tomb which
Alexis had erected for his wife, and where, subsequently,
he was also buried. Like many similar monuments, the
Soyer tomb had decayed. In the early 1990s the plight of
the only tangible recognition of Soyer’s presence in
London was drawn to the attention of various people and
organisations, including the Friends of Kensal Green
Cemetery, the Reform Club, English Heritage, the Army
Catering Corps Association, the Royal Logistic Corps and,
indeed, the Company. Over some 10 years, sufficient funds
were raised to restore the monument to its former glory.

Born at Meaux-en-Brie, France, the youngest son of
grocers who had fallen on hard times, Alexis and his father
took several jobs, even working on the new canal as a
labourer. When aged 9, Alexis joined his brother Philippe
in Paris where he was already an established chef. By 1827,
Alexis was himself a celebrated chef. In 1831, he rejoined
Philippe, now chef to the Duke of Cambridge. Within 5
years, Alexis had established himself with the landed              The Faith Memorial
gentry and nobility and was a chef de cuisine of note. In          Against this background, those who gathered sought to
1838 he was appointed to the newly formed Reform Club,             ‘right a wrong’, as well as to mark the tomb’s restoration.
which he helped to design. Alexis married the celebrated           With His Excellency, the French Ambassador, Raymond
and prolific artist Elizabeth Emma Jones but she was by            Blanc OBE, and numerous military and civilian
then a very frail lady and died in 1842.                           dignitaries, the enormous influence of Alexis Soyer on the
                                                                   evolution of British gastronomy was given long overdue
In the 1847 potato famine, Alexis offered to help the Irish        recognition. Yet his legacy survives, especially within the
government in Dublin, setting up the first properly                British Armed Forces, where Alexis Soyer is, to this day,
designed soup kitchen serving life-saving ‘famine’ soup to         regarded as the ‘father of military catering’.
up to 5,000 people daily. Next, he opened an art gallery
displaying Emma’s pictures. Called 'Soyer's Philanthropic                                        Honorary Freeman Philippe Rossiter
Gallery’, the income helped fund soup kitchens for the
poor of London. By 1855, Soyer was touring the country,            Editor’s Note: Philippe’s fascinating article was written for publication
promoting his cookbooks and masterminding sumptuous                last December but had to be excluded because of lack of space. The
                                                                   ceremony took place in March last year.
banquets and feasts. Any leftover food went to the poor.

               ‘THE RUB OF THE GREEN’
                  - COMPANY GOLF -
Thursday 20 May 2010 - The Livery Golf Society                    Friday 30th July 2010 - Match v ACC at the Royal
competition for the superb Prince Arthur Cup was held at          Winchester GC for the Duff Cup. Both the ACC
Walton Heath Golf Club. This annual 36 hole, bogey-               Officers’ Dining Club and the Company were quite well
scoring competition with teams of four, in two pairs, from        represented. Bacon rolls and coffee were consumed whilst
54 Livery Companies is a real all-day challenge. Luckily,         competing players were sorted and team tactics discussed.
this year the weather was good, matching the splendid             The latter was much like a school report - Must do better.
condition of the two courses.
                                                                  It was a fine day and the course was most accommodating
Our two gallant teams were Past Master Michael Messent            - dry, so the balls ran well. The morning 9 holes of 4-balls
with Liveryman Simon Young and Past Master Peter                  put the Army slightly ahead. After a sandwich lunch we
Messent with Liveryman Frank Forbes. Both did very well           settled down to the more serious 18 holes of singles, which
and achieved equal scores over the day. However, using the        were played in 4s to be more social. The Army, being
‘best back 9’ system, Michael and Simon were awarded the          younger, moved more ahead. However, overall, the
Renter Warden Cups. Overall, the Company team finished            Company scored 100% better than last year.
in 30th place out of 54 teams, with Michael and Simon
winning the best afternoon score on the Old Course. A             We repaired to the excellent RLC Officers’ Mess at Worthy
splendid team achievement making us fairly confident of           Down for dinner and overnight stay. After dinner, I spoke
being invited back next year.                                     on behalf of the Company's players, thanking the
.                                                                 respective organisers, Lieutenant Colonel Tony Monk and
Friday 2 July 2010 Cooks Company Day at Effingham                 Past Master Michael Messent and asked everyone to drink
GC for the J G Price Trophy. A select band of the                 a toast to three golfers who 'played their last putts' this
Company's golfers enjoyed a hot day at Effingham GC in            year; Past Master John Balls, who had done so much to re-
Surrey. The morning singles were won by Liveryman                 vitalise Company golf, and Lieutenant Colonels Harry
Frank Forbes for the first time. He was overjoyed, as the         Clegg and Sidney Platel, who had also played major parts
trophy had been presented by his late father-in-law Past          in this and other Service golf competitions. I presented the
Master J G Price, in 1980. The less intense afternoon team        Duff Cup to Mike Bell, the Army team Captain.
competition was won by Past Masters Michael and Peter
Messent.                                                                                   Honorary Freeman Bob Lawrenson

‘‘Three clubs……….                                                 ‘……… club’

And Finally ...
                                                       The Winter issue of What’s Cooking will be published in
                                                       December 2010.
                     YOUR EDITOR NEEDS
                                                                                                                                 Printed by:

                                                       Contributions will be welcomed and should be sent to the Editor:
                                                       or by post to
                                                       Hope Cottage, Horsted Lane, DANEHILL,
                                                       East Sussex RH17 7HP.
                                                       Telephone 01825 790977 Mobile 07957 484946


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