Queen Mary guests attending the May 26 Maiden Voyage anniversary dinner will be served a modern version of the menu presented to First Class passengers on their first evening at sea. Ostensibly, the menu ranks as the maiden voyage of any multi-course meal served on the ship.


“While Queen Mary has previously re-created historic menus to mark important events, the creation of this particular menu was difficult as no records of the meal are present in our archives,” said Queen Mary Chef, Todd Henderson. The information was uncovered in one of many Queen Mary books recounting the ship’s illustrious history and its maiden voyage – eighty years ago.


Some 250,000 were on hand to wish ‘God Speed’ to the Queen Mary as she left Southampton for the first time. As evening approached, passengers dressed for dinner – perhaps sharing cocktails or sending telegrams to loved ones – or – like Mrs. C.N. Pillman, stopping in at the Purser’s office to pick-up her winnings for the ship’s first distance-traveled pool. Excitement must have been in the air as bellboys and stewards rang dinner gongs and well-groomed passengers – traveling in every class – made their way to the ship’s restaurant salons.


Cunard Lines Chef Martin Riccault welcomed his First Class guests with an elaborate table – now re-created by the ship’s present day Chef, Todd Henderson. “Our only direction was a short list of items served – my team had to imagine the preparation and ingredients by researching the gastronomy of the period, historic recipe books and our imagination. While the meal we have produced reflects the maiden voyage menu, we cannot say they are identical,” Henderson added.    


Chef Riccault’s menu included: Honeydew Melon Glacé

                    Croutes-au-pot au Perles (Potato soup in pastry)

                    Tranche de Turbotin Poche Normande (Turbot)

                    Poulard de Braisée Belle Mère (Flattened Chicken)

                    Haricots verts at beurre (Haricot Beans)

                    Pommes Garfield (French Fries)

                    Salad francaise 

                    Fraises Chantilly (Strawberries with Cream)





Some travelers complained that the opening night menu while elegant, promoted French cuisine over British fare. After all, the ship had been subsidized by the British Government and people – and was slated to obliterate the Blue Riband speed record recently captured by the French liner ‘Normandie.’ (The Queen Mary captain made the decision mid-voyage not to attempt breaking that record on the ship’s maiden run. While this disappointed some passengers and the world press, the Queen Mary subsequently shattered the Normandie’s time – winning the coveted Blue Riband speed title.)


“My interpretation of the style and content of Chef Riccault’s menu also needs to be served at modern day banquet speeds,” added Henderson. “Some adjustments to the historic menu were needed to accommodate contemporary ingredients, available products and dining window. We will serve several hundred guests in less than 15 minutes.”


Chef Henderson’s Menu will feature: 


Chanrentais Melon Gelee (Speck, Sea Salt, Basil Herb Crystals)


Croute-au-Pot au Pomme Perles (Puff Pastry, Fried Ramp & Potato Soup, Bacon Leek Oil)


Cotes Courtes Braisée Belle Mère (Wagyu Short Rib, Fava Bean Purée, Glacé di Viande)


Salad Francaise (Petit Greens, French Vinaigrette)


Chocolate Creme Brûlée with Strawberries and Chantilly Cream



The Maiden Voyage Anniversary Dinner will be held in the Grand Salon, formerly the First Class Dining Room. Guests will be treated to after dinner remarks by Randolph Churchill, great-grandson of the ship’s most illustrious passenger. Lord Alan Watson (MP), Baron of Richmond and noted Churchill scholar and author will discuss Churchill’s life-long connection to the Queen Mary; a relationship that began long before the maiden voyage and continued through Churchill’s retirement.


“It is my hope that those attending the Anniversary dinner will imagine themselves as part of a living history that now enters its ninth decade. Perhaps they will toast Mr. Churchill or raise a glass to the memory of the 800,000 Allied troops Queen Mary safely ferried during WWII. Or, maybe they will simply enjoy a wonderful meal served aboard the greatest ocean liner of all time,” Henderson concluded.    


For more information, please visit: http://www.queenmary.com/80th


Credit: The Queen Mary.


Speak Your Mind