Industry Experience / current role
1985; a pivotal year in my life. Chairmanship of the Old Boys Association was accompanied by my partner (Nicholas Baile MW and Academy Old Boy) and I selling our 50 wine merchant shop chain Oddbins. The buyer, Seagram became my employer. As UK agent for Mumm time and expense was generously afforded to perform my not particularly onerous duties.
These included, of course, the organization of the London Dinner. Vice-Chair and restaurant-wise Douglas Oram recommended that we approach Anton Mosimann then head chef at the wondrous restaurant in the Dorchester Hotel.
Anton responded with great enthusiasm. Catching the zeitgeist of mid-80’s life style aspirations he had only just published the healthy living inspired cookbook, Cuisine Naturelle. What more fitting than a prestigious dinner to show off a food revolution delivered in dishes shorn of excessive fats, much sugar and even alcohol? In their place, fresh herbs, light and delicate bouillons, poached and grilled fish and meat in portions that seemed well, somewhat short of banquet-sized.
How did all this go down with us Old Boys? Generally there was politely bemused reactions and some bafflement….”Call that a proper size for a fillet steak?” “Where’s the sauce?” In short where was the near-Rabelaisian style of past repasts?
Anton also was keynote speaker offering the underlying principles of Cuisine Naturelle with evangelical enthusiasm accompanied by a slide presentation depicting healthy fit and cheerful people doing healthy fit and cheerful things.
It was all a bit too much for your average Old Boy circa 1960-1980. And yet…Where do we stand on all this now? Bang In line with Anton Mosimann and his principles and vision I would say. And somewhat chastened that in 1985 we weren’t more appreciative and didn’t have a little more foresight in this respect.