The Kansas City, Missouri Branch:
The local branch which began in 1944 has approximately 100 members. The purpose of the local Branch is to enjoy fine wines and fine dining and to learn and promote a wider knowledge of the wines of the world. The events are generally held at local restaurants and private clubs approximately six-eight times a year. Membership in our Branch is by invitation or referral only. All Branches are autonomous in terms of membership qualifications.
The following is a bit of history about the KC Branch beginning - (The following is a condensed version of a letter from Donald D. Davis, Hyatt Rama Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand to Alfred Kuraner written February 9th, 1977):
I have your letter about the February 28 Wine & Food Society dinner. I wish I could be with you on that occasion! On November 29th, 1976, I celebrated my 80th birthday. So it is that Harriet and I are on an "80-Years-Around-the World" journey to celebrate. Here briefly, is the story of the beginning of the Kansas City Branch of W&F (While André Simon was still alive):
In the late 20's and 30's I belonged to a Club in Chicago, The TAVERN CLUB, which had just been founded by artists, writers, architects and businessmen interested in the arts.
Ernest Kuhn, the manager, noticed my interest in their excellent menu. He would not only suggest food items he thought I would like, but also appropriate wines. Later, he suggested that I might like to become a non-resident member of the Chicago "Wine & Food Society," and I joined. I began to time my business travel to Chicago with the dates of Wine & Food dinners.
André Simon, founder of The International Wine & Food Society, was visiting the U.S. to promote the Society. I met him and Kuhn suggested that André Simon come to Kansas City. A date was arranged, in mid-December, 1944. It was the time when Brick Wornall was Fire Commissioner. He had a very impressive limousine bearing the official city seal. So we met André Simon at the airport, and tendered him a memorable meal at the "University Club." It was planned and prepared by "Paul," their wonderful chef of that era, who presented an excellent luncheon with outstanding wines.
Meanwhile, I had worked with Harry Fawcett to compile a list of men to be invited to a special dinner in honor of André Simon. Carl Beghardt developed the menu, which was served in the old Trianon Room of the Muehlbach Hotel. Waiters wore white gloves, it was very posh! Landon Laird attended the dinner, and wrote it up in the K.C. Times' "About Town."
I had asked Bud Eubank to be Chairman and to introduce André Simon, who spoke after everyone was full of good food and wine. Bud announced that those interested would meet at a future time to organize the K.C. Branch of the IW&FS Society. Ted Dodds jumped up. "Hell," he said, "Let's do it NOW." A chorus of "Yeas" resounded. Forthwith, the IW&FS was founded and Bud was elected President. Harry Fawcett became the Secretary. Most of those present were K.C. Club members and long-standing friends.
I'm glad to see that food and wine "appreciation" groups are being formed by younger people of the "now" generation. The French learned years ago the development of skills in combining simple food and wines.
A Salute to André Simon
The International Wine & Food Society is a worldwide organization with more than 85 Branches in America. Organized in 1933, in London, England, by Frenchman André Simon, the IW&FS is the most prestigious wine and food appreciation group of its kind.