So I just got the invite in the mail today: a one-night-only dinner at the James Beard House in New York, a one-time-only chance to have a dinner cooked by not one, not three, but five of the most famous powerhouse French chefs living and working today.
Portland's most famous son wouldn't have been able to afford this dinner at his own house
"Anywhere in the world the names Ducasse, Payard, Robuchon, Savoy and Vongerichten are synonymous with the best of modern French cuisine," it says. "For the first time in history, these giants of gastronomy are joining forces in the kitchen for an unforgettable celebration, a tribute to the interconnectedness of French and American food cultures, and a fundraiser for the James Beard Foundation..."
And the price tag for one single VIP ticket to this dinner and live auction? $1,250.00.Now sure, you could cheap out and buy a non-VIP ticket for just $625, though in doing so you'd be denying yourself the chance to hobnob with the culinary royalty during the exclusive reception (plus a VIP gift bag!). If you had nine really rich friends you could save a few bucks by securing a table for ten for only $10,000 (if not for the fact that these are already sold out).
But really, this is a dinner meant solely for the wealthy (and not at all for the likes of alternative newspaper journalists who'd probably have to rent a tie just to fit in)--a dream feast of epic proportions encompassing six courses (including bread and charcuterie being handled by chef Pascal Beric and students from the French Culinary Institute), nine passed apps (courtesy of Larry Finn and Pecko Zantilaveevan from the Four Seasons, NYC where the event is taking place) and wine pairings selected by Jean-George Vongerichten's wine director.
What's that? You want to know what's being served that's worth more than a grand? Okay, dig this:
Shaved white truffles and potatoes with foie gras carpaccio from Robuchon, the soupe d'artichaut a la truffe noire from Restaurant Guy Savoy, Ducasse doing braised and caramelized eggplant with smoked ricotta and porcinis and Vongerichten cooking racks of lamb with smoked chile glaze, oyster mushrooms and broccoli rabe. And honest to Jesus, the dinner? That's not even the main attraction here because the auction items are just crazy. Lunch at Chez Panisse with Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. A private dinner for 50 cooked by David Chang and Eric Ripert. Marcus Samuelsson and Susur Lee preparing dinner for 24 of your closest friends in your kitchen.
I swear to god, one of these days I'm going to scrape together the cash for one of these auctions where famous chefs have to cook in your home. Then I'm going to make them do a dinner for 24 out of the ridiculous little slit trench of a kitchen I have in my apartment just to see what they do.
Anyway, if you happen to have a few thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket (because remember, even after you've gotten your tickets, you're going to have to spring for plane tickets, a hotel, and still have enough scratch left over to bid) and don't have any plans for November 10, I highly suggest you go. It will, as promised, be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of spectacle.
For information on tickets, menus and how fast this thing is selling out, bop on over to jbfauction.com. Or you can always just call the James Beard House at 212-627-2308 (I like to call them late at night when I've had a few cocktails and try to order a pizza). And if you happen to feel like springing for an extra ticket for me, I can always be reached right here in my office.