It is not generally known that when a Liveryman of the Distillers’ Company is appointed as a Steward, tradition dictates that they are invited to consider entertaining the Master, Wardens and Court of the Company with a celebratory feast upon their appointment. Liveryman – and now Steward – Jean Deillon was particularly keen to invoke this ancient privilege, but was initially thwarted by Covid and the subsequent lockdowns. However, with Livery life having returned to normality, he was able to realise his dream by entertaining 30 guests in Guildhall’s Members’ Private Dining Room overlooking its historic courtyard on Friday 3 March.
The table was ready for Jean’s personally crafted menu and wine selection, which remained secret until his guests sat down to have the scene set by the following customised Grace:
The invite said from Deillon de La France Come dine with the Court - who enjoy excellence There's five courses to eat - all gastronomique So enjoy this occasion - Tis quite unique From Billingsgates best to sloe gin sorbet Your tummy is primed for the main of the day Beef Rossini it is with Mousquetaire to follow Then Distilled dessert to ensure you're not hollow. With Maison Latour well matched with the food The Haut Gros Bonnet is exceptionally shrewd But don’t hold your breath or leave by the door Before Switzerland’s finest Polymnie Seduction Or. With the scene well set and our appetites whet We need to sit down and see what's beset So thank you good Lord, now please bring it on To ensure we enjoy the kindness of our Steward Jean Amen
The words on the menu below do not do justice to the extravaganza of cuisine reflecting Jean’s background in a dynasty of chefs from the Ardennes and his subsequent years of experience delighting diners in both France and the City of London.
Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV
Haymans gin and tonic
At the Reception
Bucket of Billingsgate Fishmonger Market Catch, Toasted Brioche
St Veran, Les Deux Moulins 2020, Maison Latour
Sloe Gin Sorbet
Lancashire Grass Fed Beef Rossini, Madeira Sauce
Chateau du Pavillon Haut-Gros-Bonnet 1997, Canon-Fronsac, France
The Mousquetaire Devil on Horseback & Scrambled Clarence Court Traditional Leghorn Whites Egg
The Blended Pallet of Distilled Company Dessert
Polymnie Seduction Or 2011, Domaine des Muses, Switzerland Valais
Fair Trade Rich Roast Coffee, Tregothnan Cornish Estate Grown Tea, Whisky Chocolate Truffles
Master’s Cask Bas-Armagnac, Chateau de Laubade, Taylor’s 20 year old Tawny
Jean’s choice of Switzerland’s Polymnie Seduction Or 2010 paid homage to the Company’s Founder, Sir Theodore de Mayerne, who was born in Geneva, but in addition to proving a superb complement to the wonderful dessert above, its existence stretched even the knowledge of those with 50 years in the trade.
After the Master had proposed the toasts to the King and the mayoralty in port, Jean unexpectedly leapt to his feet and proposed a toast to the President of France in Armangac, to the delight of all – and earned a robust impromptu rendering of the French national anthem in return.
Jean then rose to welcome his guests – explaining that, in his wildest dreams, he never thought he would be entertaining the Court of the Worshipful Company of Distillers when he first stepped foot into the City of London in his day job at The Cook and The Butler in 2004.
Then, on behalf of his guests, the Master gave Jean a bilingual vote of thanks for a memorable evening of excellence, which was rewarded with a bottle of Master’s Cask Bas-Armagnac and a quaich suitably engraved to mark Jean’s resurrection of this ancient and most enjoyable tradition.