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Bermuda Grand Chapitre

Hamilton, April 12-14, 2012

April 14th is perhaps not a special day for most however this year it was the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, arguably the greatest maritime disaster of all time.

On this date the Bailliage of Bermuda added another chapter to this story when it paid tribute to the style and creativity of those who ran this great ship by replicating the menu served in the main dining salon on that cold, still, awful night.

Prior to the Saturday 'departure' the Bailliage hosted overseas guests to a wonderful dinner at the home of Chancelier Kim and Dr. Louise White, at which the Fairmont Southampton team, under the direction of Executive Chef Christopher Chafe, pampered diners with a superb skate wing with beurre noisette and fillet of beef with red wine reduction. Hors d'oeuvres were taken with champagne on the lawn with its majestic views of the Great Sound and Hamilton Harbour on what was a superb evening's sunset.

The following evening - and just to take in the view from the other side - Chaîne members departed from the Hamilton Fairmont on board the MEF Group yacht Venetian for a sunset cruise through the harbour islands.

And so, with these warm-up events over and with much thanks to Chargé de Presse Jack Rhind, Saturday was spent making sure the Titanic dining salon was ship-shape. With some months of research behind him Jack had acquired a large collection of Titanic memorabilia, prepared boarding passes for all guests, table service pieces, photographs, the ship's model, film footage which ran during the dinner and menus.

Bailli Délégué Josée Roy-Froncioni, Member Honoraire of the Conseil d’Administration, presided over the Induction Ceremony assisted by her team following which everyone congregated on the harbour-side terrace for a reception of champagne and canapés.

Surprisingly, many 'passengers' had enthusiastically entered into the true spirit of the evening. They had acquired period attire, full captain's uniforms, replica jewels, hats, gloves, and other charming props which helped to create a true sense of atmosphere.

Music taken from the ship's programmes was played throughout the dinner by the Menuhin Foundation Quartet and on entering the dining salon the atmosphere was enhanced with clouds of billowing mist, as if the cold from the icebergs was wafting in from across the silent and dark sea.

Between courses, Master of Ceremonies Douglas Frith updated 'passengers' on what had transpired on that great ship 100 years ago, calling for a moment of silence at the point she finally slipped under the cold Atlantic surface. While the guests reflected upon this, a string quartet played “Nearer My God to Thee” which is said to be the last song heard by the survivors as the Titanic sank.

In attendance was the new Fairmont Hamilton General Manager Leonard Czarnecki who welcomed guests to this his first Bailliage of Bermuda event. He was to learn first hand how professional and qualified his newly-met staff are as the evening unfolded into (to use a Titanic turn) 'a night to remember'.

Joe Gibbons, Conseiller Culinaire

Photography by Jack Rhind, Chargé de Presse and Stephen Rayner