If you’re visiting this blog, it’s highly probable that you like food. Chances are that you also have friends and family who like it just as much, or like me, they think you’re a bit crazy because you like it so much. Since it’s now December, I thought I would put together a few gift ideas for food lovers.
I’ll start with a list of extravagant and luxurious gifts for those who are looking to splurge on something that’s at the pinnacle of its class. If for some reason, you are looking to splurge, but don’t have anyone to splurge on, I would gladly offer my assistance free of charge. All prices are in American dollars unless otherwise noted.
L’Ecole des Chefs (2 days: $1,400, 5 days: $2,600)
Imagine getting the chance to work and learn in the kitchen of a world famous restaurant like L'Arpège, The French Laundry, or Charlie Trotter's. L’Ecole des Chefs makes this possible by offering two and five day programs at restaurants belonging to Relais Gourmands. The programs are intended for passionate amateur cooks, and allow you to rotate between different stations.
Dinner for two at Masa ($600-$1,000+)
Earlier this year, Chef Masa Takayama closed his much celebrated restaurant, Ginza Sushiko to open Masa in the world-class ‘food court’ at New York’s Time Warner Center. If you’re fortunate enough to secure one of Masa’s 26 seats, you will feast on such delicacies as fish that’s flown in daily from Japan, and shabu-shabu made from fresh lobster and foie gras.
2005 Gourmet Institute Weekend ($1,300, October 21–23, 2005)
This year’s inaugural Gourmet Institute Weekend featured 19 cooking demos by the likes of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Jacques Torres, 11 seminars including appearances by Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl, as well as wine and spirit tastings, and lessons on food styling. It’s your chance to meet your favourite chef or food writer, and eat at some of New York’s finest restaurants.
Grand Livre de Cuisine d'Alain Ducasse ($395)
This could very well be the king of cookbooks by the king of chefs. Written by Alain Ducasse (holder of six Michelin stars) and his chefs, this cookbook contains 700 recipes and is divided into 90 products and 10 techniques. For example, the book covers over 40 different ways for using and preparing lobster. Ducasse also has a similar book on pastry, which for the time being is only available in French.
Martini on the Rock ($10,000, Algonquin Hotel, New York)
This is a $10,000 martini. And if you order it now, you could be the first one to buy it. Fortunately, this pricey drink comes with a diamond at the bottom of the glass (hence its name). It’s the latest in overpriced foods, following the $1,000 frittata at Le Parker Meridien hotel earlier this year. The drink is aimed at would-be brides or grooms, and must be ordered at least 72 hours in advance, partly to ensure that it’s brought to the right table.
The Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine and the World Pastry Cup 2005
Held every two years in Lyons, France, the Bocuse d’Or and the World Pastry Cup are two of the world’s premiere cooking competitions. The competition travel packages offered by the Canadian and American teams also provide tours of food-related destinations, including visits to a truffle farm and the Valrhona Chocolate Factory.
Canadian Packages: $2,400-$3,400+ CDN
American Packages: $3,245-$8,520+
KitchenAid Pro Line Frozen Dessert Maker ($1,200)
This machine is 24 times more expensive than my Cuisinart ice cream maker. And while I haven’t read any reviews on its performance, it looks as though it’d let you run an ice cream parlour out of your home. Unlike my machine, this model comes with its own built-in freezer, so prefrozen bowls aren’t necessary.
Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 Super Automatic Espresso Machine ($2,200, review)
Technology meets gourmet in this fully automatic and programmable espresso machine with independent heating systems for brewing and steaming. Instead of spending $4 a day at Starbucks, buy this machine. It’ll be cheaper in the long run.
Next up: Weird and Unusual Gifts