Wednesday, 18 April 2012

R.M.S “Titanic.” The Last Dinner 14th April 1912 - Wellesley Boutique Hotel

Hey everyone, 
I hope you have all been enjoying my photo challenge. Sorry for not posting the last couple of days I have been busy at work and have not had the chance to complete the daily tasks.

On Sunday the 14th April we had a dinner at work to commemorate the sinking of the SS Titanic 100 years ago.

The dinner involved four canapé courses, with two sparkling wines. Followed by seven courses upstairs in the Grand Dining room, with four different wines. This was the largest dinner I have ever had to run and it went amazingly well. 

The Wellesley Boutique Hotel Grand Dining room
I have always been fascinated by the tragic story of the Titanic and because of the dinner happening and the Titanic movie being re released the Titanic has been on my mind a lot lately. It is horrible to think of all those people who tragically lost there lives. 

The Titanic was completed in April 1912 in Belfast Northern Ireland. It was then the largest moving object ever built. It was 1/6th mile long, 165ft high over 11 decks. 

The three engines generated some 60,000 hp and powered three giant propellers. It had a maximum speed in excess of 23 knots and weighed 46,000 tonnes.

The Titanic was a small city with capacity of 3500 passengers and crew. 2200 on it's maiden voyage. It housed a squash court, swimming pool and gymnasium.  
RMS Titanic
The Titanic set sail from Southampton at 12 noon on the 10th April 1912 bound for New York.  

Despite the Titanic being a British ship foods served in first class had more of a continental flavour as was the fashion for food at the time. The Dinner menu was a splendid 11 course affair including oysters, sirloin of beef, peaches with chartreuse jelly and chocolate and vanilla desserts.  The head chef at the Wellesley recreated this menu for the evening adapting the menu slightly here and there. 

The Menu for the evening at the Wellesley:
On arrival a selection of canapés representing courses presented on the evening
Canapés à l’ Amiral
Shrimp butter and cream cheese on baguette crostini
Oysters à la Russe
Oyster in shell with vodka relish
Filets mignons Lili
Rare beef on artichokes, potato wafer and truffle
Scented jus with foie gras
Duck liver foie gras with fresh celery and flat toast
Canapés served individually with methode
Seated in the Grand Dining Room
Cream of Barley soup with whiskey
Poached salmon with Mousseline sauce
Slow roasted shoulder of lamb with mint sauce
served with Parmentier potatoes, minted green pea
timbale and creamed carrots
Punch Romaine - Crushed ice with champagne and orange juice
Roasted quail on wilted cress with walnut oil and Madeira sauce
Bean salad with champagne saffron vinaigrette
Waldorf pudding
Peaches with chartreuse jelly
Chocolate painted éclairs with vanilla cream
French Vanilla ice cream
Coffee and Tea
The Last Dinner at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel was about the food, a chance to relive the grandeur of the ‘Last Dinner’ enjoyed by those in First Class on that fateful night. However we still had to create a create a great atmosphere and provide amazing service and that is where I came in.  
First class, Dining room.
On the Titanic the first class dining room was located in the centre of the ship for maximum comfort. It was opulent, filled with palms and flowers and at each dinner service live music. The Wellesley Hotel was built in the same era as the titanic and was able to create a great setting for this dinner. We had a string quartet and once the tables were laid with cutlery for seven courses and the candles were lit the room looked stunning. An amazing atmosphere had truly been created. 

Wellesley staff.
Throughout the day on Sunday, particularly during the set-up many staff commented on the fact that if we had been stewards on the Titanic that night we would have been dead by morning. A grim thought but very true. 
With dinner over that fateful night and most guests in bed, with the odd straggler enjoying that last glass of port in the lounges and salons. The Titanic struck ice at 11.40pm on the 14th April , tearing a 200ft gash in the side. it took a further 2 1/2 hours to sink and at 2.20am on 15th April 1912 Titanic slipped beneath the surface with the loss of 1517 lives. Only 700 making it to lifeboats.
Only three 1st class dining staff survived. The chefs secretary made it to a lifeboat by jumping. the chef, too big and too fat refused to make the jump and went down with the ship. Another crew bust fetching furniture from the bar lounge to throw overboard to act as flotation devices took a swig of whisky at each trip. He survived the freezing waters with a good amount of antifreeze in the system.  One of only seven people to be pulled from those waters that night.
The last dinner on Sunday was hard work a 14 1/2 shift in total, but it truly made me think of the people who lost there lives that night. As much as it made us think about the night, we as a team did an amazing job and had few laughs along the way with many (awful) versions of my heart will go on sung throughout the evening.

Silver coffee pots are VERY, VERY heavy....
...but don't they look so preaty.
All the waiting staff and a couple of the kitchen team.
Hope you enjoyed reading and seeing photos from the Titanic last dinner.

Thanks for reading.

Katie .x.x

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