Motivated by Consul General Bruno H. Schubert, wo became later as well a founder member, Knut Günther established on May 18th, 1988, the society for table and dining culture, planning as well to reanimate the formerly famous culinary art museum of Frankfurt. Other founder members were HRH Moritz Landgrave of Hesse, city treasurer Ernst Gerhardt, the acting president of VKD, association of chefs in Germany, Gerd Schüler and Walter Schwarz. After Walter Schwarz for many years never succeeded to move the city administration in reopening the famous, in 1937 lost museum for the art of cooking the 1988 founding of the society for table and dining culture was the first step for the reopening of the Museum.
To obtain needed publicity and support Knut Günther re-established the famous pre-world war I Galadiners of the Frankfurt Patriciate. By organizing special dinners, sometimes framed by a scientist speaker, high lighting traditional seasonal events or presenting “table music” the entertaining tradition is kept alive. This pleasure and knowledge creating structure allow the members and guests of those events to experience intensely the results and impact of their voluntary work or donations.
In remembrance of the Golden Bull and the opulent feasts during the emperor coronation, the founder of the society organized twelve benefit gala-dinners, some celebrated by the leading chefs of the partner cities of Frankfurt, Lyon, Milano and Tel Aviv, crowned with success in the historical town hall Römer, while same time drawing international media attention and giving back Frankfurt a place on the international culinary map.
This drew in 1990 the attention of the International Academy of Gastronomy in Paris looking for a German branch, to join the existing national Academies in Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Swiss and Spain. Rafael Anson Oliart, our honorary Founding President through the introduction of Franz Keller, a later founding member, obtained Paul Alfonse Prince Metternich to be the founding President and Knut Günther as founding Vice-president of the German International Academy of Gastronomy. In 1995 the German Academy hosted the yearly national event dedicated to the potato and its use in the European regional cooking and in 2000 a Galadiner at Hotel Adlon in Berlin with our President Prof. Giuseppe dell’Osso crowning Eckart Witzigmann as “Chef de Millenium” and Harald Wohlfahrt and Dieter Müller with the “Grand Prix de la Cuisine” and Gerd Käfer with the “Grand Prix de la Cuisine de Terroir”.
In 1991, Peter von Löbbecke took the helm over from Knut Günther. First of all, the website www.TafelKultur.com , another two beneficial gala-dinners with broad media recognition and additional members are owed to him.
The society for table and dining culture focuses on two statuary tasks:
- To reopen the German museum for culinary art and dining nature, which was once established January 19th in 1909 and was dissolved during World War II.
- To establish an interdisciplinary professorship searching and documenting the cultural aspects of culinary history while observing the future trends, offering education to all culinary professions and trades as well as chefs de protocol
Numerous donations and gifts by people and institutions throughout Germany enriched and formed our collections. Therefore, on April 21st, 2008, the society was able to commit 12 000 Volumes, approx. 20 000 documents and papers about food and dining issues and about 16 000 menu cards to the care of the Johann Christian Senckenberg university library. Some of the outstanding donations had been the personal library and collection of diverse treasures, regarding gastronomy and culinary art, of one of the first TV master chefs, Mr. Holger Hofmann. Furthermore, the compilation of one of the most famous and influential designers for dining culture, Mr. Hanns Welling.
Frankfurt as the early editing city due to lac of zensoring was as well the place of publication of the first German cookbooks. The society published a bibliography of all culinary literature edited in Frankfurt. The society is grateful to own about one hundred handwritten historical cookbooks from the last 4 centuries.
For the ownership of our growing holdings in 1995 the foundation of dining culture was established.
Regarding the heritage of the Golden Bull, which that time defines Frankfurt to be the gastronomic centre of Central Europe, the society for table and dining culture wants to create more awareness towards our daily nutrition and simultaneously is highly interested to accentuate the pleasure of cooking and creating meals.
Next to that, the beauty and use of material culture, the products and masterpieces of the applied arts from silverware and glass to porcelain and tablecloth for the arrangement of a table, as well as the use of nonverbal communication like prayers, table manners and table music, should be cultivated and preserved for the next generations.