Menu background

Spring 2004


Commodore’s Bit
AGM & Prize Giving 2003
Annual Club Dinner 2003
AQSC Clothing
Kempton Fireworks 2003
Last Sail of 2003
New Consumer Unit
Open Weekend Notice
Out Comes ‘Aquarius’
Quiz Social 2004
Replacing Things
Sail With the Vikings
Sailing Program 2004
Saint Comes Out
Start of Season Party Note
Valentine’s Dinner, Lyn
Valentine’s Dinner, Mike
Work Party

Home Menu background Home

Valentines Day Dinner at AQSC.

The suggestion for this ‘first’ was Rodger Wheelers. It really came about following the news that Mr.Wong’s, venue for last years dinner, had closed. The logistics however were pretty awesome. Over 40 people to be provided with a four or five course dinner prepared and served in the clubhouse.

Planning started about a month ago with a list of everything needed, plus all the jobs needing to be done. Rodger took care of all the shopping and also supplied all the stereo equipment. Tables were a major problem which was eventually solved by Nigel Knowles (a.k.a. Bodgett of Bodgett & Son fame) who made them!

On the day preparations started early. During the morning the club lounge was converted into a bijou restaurant. At 2:00pm mountains of food were delivered to the galley and the chef’s Keith Hatton and yours truly (a.k.a. and got cracking with the food preparation while another team, including Nigel, Rodger, George, Peter Carpenter, Richard Cannon, Bob Sumner and Graham Thompson cleared the club, laid up the tables and decorated the lounge with a Valentines theme.

During the afternoon the ‘live entertainment’ in the form of Pat Halling and Mike Leigh arrived to set up and conduct a final rehearsal. By 6:00’ish organised chaos turned into organised panic as the cooking started.

By seven o’clock the Hors d’Oeuvres (Duck & Orange pate with carrot and celery strips, tortilla chips and dips) were ready to serve. The main course comprising either stuffed bacon wrapped chicken or Pork Fillet with garlic and herbs or a vegetarian dish together with oven roast vegetables, Broccoli/Cauliflower au gratin, buttered carrots, new potatoes, peas, gravy and stilton sauce was well underway with two sets of anxious eyes watching over it all.

The pre-cheese course sorbet was less of a problem i.e. it’s easier to keep something cold than hot! The dessert of Gateau with chocolate and Grand Marnier sauce (with sparklers no less) and the cheese took a back space at this time. Coffee and mints completed the menu along with plenty of wine and chilled Champagne to toast the Ladies at the appropriate time.

At 7:30pm, with Mike Leigh providing some background music, the guests started arriving and were greeted with pre dinner drinks and carnations for the ladies. It was about this time that the realization really kicked in that Keith and I had actually got to serve over forty meals within the next half hour. A rather awesome feeling I can assure you!

At 8:00pm everybody was invited to be seated and the first course was served by ‘the waiters’ for the evening Nigel, John Neale, George Bray, Pete Carpenter and Rodger. Serving the main course was a logistical nightmare (I must remember never to say a cross word about our annual dinner caterers). Eventually everything got out onto the tables and for the first time Keith and I relaxed a little. The rest of the meal was pretty straight forward. I specially liked the sorbet, my kind of thing! The gateaux and cheese appeared to be well received and by the time coffee was served everybody seemed very relaxed.

Rodger then introduced Pat Halling who is a virtuoso violinist and Mike Leigh, who is a concert pianist. Pat has played at the club before but the addition of Mike on keyboards provided a whole different dimension. The guys played a selection of music which really grabbed everybody’s attention. They were terrific but then we had a real surprise! Pat’s wife Anne, a lovely lady that we don’t see enough of at the club, stood up and gave a recitation, accompanied musically, from ‘Christopher Robin’. It was delightful, so unexpected and, I think a little to her embarrassment, received a virtual standing ovation. The evening ended with couples dancing to suitably romantic music or lounging around the bar for a nightcap until 2am in the morning.

My thanks go to Rodger for both the Valentine’s dinner idea and the organization. He worked like a Trojan to pull it all together. A big vote of thanks goes to my fellow chef Keith. That’ll teach you to say things like “I can cook, I was in the Boy Scouts”. Thanks also to ‘The Waiters’, and everybody who helped get things ready prior to the event and to everybody who turned up on Sunday morning to help clear up. My thanks to Nigel, who made all the tables used on the evening! (You’ve not seen the last of them). I’m not going to say a word about the washing up, just that there was a lot of it. Thank God for dishwashers! And no … this events chefs will NOT be tendering an estimate for the 2004 annual club dinner!

Mike (Have a new respect for Jamie Oliver) Baker

Nigel Knowles

Nigel Knowles with
a sparkling gateau

Linda Wheeler and Pat Irving

Linda Wheeler and Pat Irving chatting before dinner