Club des Cent
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As its name indicates, the Club has exactly one hundred official members. In addition, there are a few trainees, as well as foreign and honorary members. Founded in 1912 by Louis Forest, the club engages in various activities focused on gastronomy. The members meet weekly, every Thursday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm precisely, usually at Maxim's on rue Royale in Paris. In addition to the weekly meals, foreign trips are also organized.
Tradition dictates that a "Brigadier" take care of every aspect of the meal; each week a different member holds the office of Brigadier. At the end of each meeting, an assessment is made of the quality of the meal. These meetings are exclusive to the members, but two events per year are open to friends and spouses, the Spring Dinner and the Ceremony for the General Assembly. Every year, the Club des Cent crowns two chefs and offers them a certificate, considered quite prestigious in the world of gastronomy. Once a year, the members of the Club are given a ranking.
Joining this highly confidential and qualitative club is complicated. Candidates can theoretically be of either gender, but no woman has ever been a member.
After acquiring two mandatory sponsors, the candidate's name is posted for a month. Then follows an interview in front of a reception and discipline committee. The qualities necessary are both human and gastronomic; seemingly insignificant questions must be taken seriously—one might be asked where to stop for lunch when in Nice, and thorough knowledge of the Michelin Guide is a must. Ultimately, the committee will choose to validate the candidate and allow him to become a trainee.