The Worshipful Company of Coopers is one of the oldest livery companies in the City of London, their original trade being the making of wine, beer and spirit barrels. In recognition a barrel maker gave a demonstration of the craft – a fascinating addition to the evening’s celebrations.
The festivities commenced in the Council Room where guests were piped in for a drinks reception. The Beadle then announced dinner, and the 200 guests were impressed by the Edward Lumley Hall vibrantly illuminated with red uplighters to continue the Highlands theme.
Starting the supper was smoked Borders venison with leaf salad, dressed with prune mustard and whisky. After the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties, guests enjoyed a main course of braised feather blade of beef fillet, creamed celeriac, chestnuts, rumbled thumps and pan juices. Dessert was orange cheesecake with Drambuie blood oranges and authentic Scottish tablet.
Leon Papworth, the chef for the evening, had two thoughts in his head when asked to create a Burns Night dinner: "Firstly I needed to ensure there’s a historic reference to the ingredients we source, and secondly we need to make a great impression with the presentation of the food!
"Researching for bespoke menus is always exciting but even more so when there’s the challenge of an expectation to uphold – the Worshipful Company of Coopers have enjoyed this event annually for an awfully long time now! My focus was on using traditional Scottish ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible and if not locally, then from Scotland. The result of our research and tastings is a ‘Classic Burns Supper’ with great local provenance and an innovative use of ingredients… Bring on next year!”
No Burns Night would be complete without a whisky tasting and Glenfiddich kindly provided 12, 15 and 18 year old whiskies for guests to sample.
This was not the first Burns Night to be held at The Royal College of Surgeons, and with successes such as this, we are sure it will not be the last!