The evening’s hospitality commenced with a champagne reception and eager anticipation of the dinner to follow.
Herbert prepared a superb seasonal menu of lobster and crab, spring lamb and Eton mess. During dinner the conversation flowed effortlessly along with the wine. A delicious Pernand-Vergelesses white Burgundy, a vibrant red from Chambolle-Musigny and a luscious Saussignac, to complement the Eton mess.
After dinner Liveryman Kandy Maddock proposed the toast to the Company and the Master welcomed our guest of honour, Wing Commander Caroline Viles, Commanding officer of our affiliated squadron, 32 (Royal) based at Northolt.
Somewhat surprisingly Herbert then emerged and announced that one of his staff was leaving and wanted to say goodbye. His French sous-chef appeared in white uniform and tall toque and duly thanked us in broken English. The front of house manager then joined in to say a few heavily accented words of farewell to the chef. Then they both burst into song.
Needless to say Herbert was part of a grand deception. The ‘chef’ and our ‘manager’ turned out to be British born tenors Rory Campbell and Andy Searle, part of Encore Entertainment, an agency specialising in singing chefs and waiters.
We were captivated by a selection of beautifully sung arias from popular operas, culminating in audience participation as we waived our dinner napkins aloft to ‘Brindisi’, the drinking song from La Traviata.
This surprising and delightful musical interlude ended yet another perfect evening, but Herbert, please don’t give up your day job just yet!