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The $25,000 Dinner


Bond Girl
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Makes me want to go rummaging through my old punk-rock memorabilia bin for the button that read eat the rich. I'm probably going to spend maybe a quarter of that when I go to the French Laundry--but I'm also going to feed 7 other people with me. Proportionate to earnings, I'm spending more than that group is; but in absolute terms, I'd say four hundred bucks a head is about the upper limit for me. And I guarantee that that won't happen but a few times.

Edited by Reefpimp (log)

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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Makes me want to go rummaging through my old punk-rock memorabilia bin for the button that read eat the rich.  I'm probably going to spend maybe  a quarter of that when I go to the French Laundry--but I'm also going to feed 7 other people with me.  Proportionate to earnings, I'm spending more than that group is; but in absolute terms, I'd say four hundred bucks a head is about the upper limit for me.  And I guarantee that that won't happen but a few times.

Spending a quarter of 25 grand, split by 8 people still comes out to 781$ and change per head. :raz:

I agree the 25k meal is obsence but I guess when you factor in the wines plus the costs of importing various chefs to cook it, hell why not. People will pay for anything.

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I can't get up on my high horse about the expense of the meal. As Reefpimp points out, expense is relative, and so a moving target for outrage. The difference between flying to Bangkok for a $25K dinner and flying to Napa for a $1K dinner is only a difference of tax brackets. Heck, the $30 dinner I cooked last night would be an unimaginable luxury for lots of people.

The problem with this dinner is that it was vulgar. The focus (at least in the AP's sensational version of it) was on expense and excess, rather than creativity.

I mean, take a look at this dish:

Antoine Westermann of Le Buerhiesel, a top-class restaurant in Strasbourg, France, said he shaved 3 1/2 ounces of Perigord truffles — worth about $350 — onto each plate of his "coquille Saint-Jacques and truffles."

"For $25,000, what do you expect?" he said.

Piling a quarter pound of truffles on a scallop doesn't make the scallop any better: in fact, I imagine it would overwhelm the scallop and ruin it. As the chef said, it's just a way to make the dish more expensive, the equivalent of piling a stack of $100 bills on top.

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The problem with this dinner is that it was vulgar. The focus (at least in the AP's sensational version of it) was on expense and excess, rather than creativity.

Plus it is about the emperor's new clothes.

Only nouveau riche simpletons looking for something to prove attend such events.

The same reason people "rich" people put chrome wheels on already expensive cars in LA and Miami.

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
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Hey, if its in the name of charity - I have no problem with that. However, I was interested to see the line at the bottom of the quoted article:

The guest list included 15 paying customers and 25 invited guests.

So, were the charity beneficiaries really the 25 invited guests? If they payed as well, than no problem. Otherwise....

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Piling a quarter pound of truffles on a scallop doesn't make the scallop any better: in fact, I imagine it would overwhelm the scallop and ruin it.  As the chef said, it's just a way to make the dish more expensive, the equivalent of piling a stack of $100 bills on top.

There was a wonderful quote from some disinterested* observer during the strike that cut short the 1994 Major League Baseball season; the observer said something like:

"The players have the talent, but it's the owners who have all the money. But no one goes to the ballpark to watch the money."

I think this would have tasted even worse if you just piled the Benjamins on top of the scallop.

And now that you mention it, I note that the superlative adjectives used by those quoted in the story were reserved for the over-the-top excess, not the quality of the food and wine consumed. (Well, maybe one person was impressed by the wine itself.)

*Usage Nit of the Day: A disinterested party is not, as some believe, the same as an uninterested party. Rather, it is someone who is neutral regarding two sides in a dispute.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Hey, if its in the name of charity - I have no problem with that.  However, I was interested to see the line at the bottom of the quoted article:
The guest list included 15 paying customers and 25 invited guests.

So, were the charity beneficiaries really the 25 invited guests? If they payed as well, than no problem. Otherwise....

The article made it clear that the invited guests were part of an effort to fill the seats after some cancellations (due to safety concerns).

It is nice to see an effort like this benefitting charity.

But in the end, I find a lot of the snarky moralizing a bit off putting.

It's all relative. If I were to ask how many people would go without a television set to feed a starving person what lovely squirming and convoluted logic would result. :wink:

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I agree with others that it seems plain excess.

Even if it is for charity it seems like a waste of unparalled ingredients to me. I think you are highly diminishing the magic of ingredients that special when you shove a few hundred of them into a single evening. I imagine that "one of the single greatest wines of the 20th century" served with the 8th course doesn't taste any better than them than a well picked 50$ bottle fo wine does to me.

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