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Published April 15 2012

Select group of diners in Texas enjoy $12,000, 10-course replica of last meal served on Titanic

HOUSTON — Crystal tinkles as women clad in dinner best bow their heads over champagne glasses, listening attentively to the captain's evening address. The Armagnac they sip is circa 1900. The dishes, crystal and silverware also hark back to a bygone era — one when the Titanic sailed the high seas, destined for disaster.

On this evening, though, the captain is Ryan Roberts, executive director of Cullen's restaurant in Houston.

“We're here to remember the people who perished on that fateful night, so if we could just bow our heads in a moment of silence,” Roberts said, his white-gloved hands reminiscent of the opulence of the Edwardian era that birthed the lush first-class cabins and dining rooms of what was then the world's largest ship.

It's the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, which hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on a frigid, dark night, killing 1,514 people. And to mark the occasion, 12 people in Houston enjoyed a replica of the lavish 10-course dinner the wealthiest people aboard the ship enjoyed just before the crash.

The dinner was one of many served from New York to Memphis, Tenn., and across the oceans to Hong Kong, as chefs attempted to transport diners to a time when waiters in starched coats and napkins hanging from their arms served an upper class that was far removed from the common man, who filled the lower portions of the Titanic and went largely unnoticed by the wealthy until they perished together in the cold sea.