Expensive Food Can Be Fun!

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He Says:

Nothing against our good Canadian Alberta beef, but I had the chance to cook some Kobe Beef last weekend and I have to say it was a fun experience. The whole experience reminded me of the first time I cooked with fresh truffle mushrooms some 17 years ago. My chef was watching me like a hawk to make sure that I would not waste any little bits at $3000 to $5000 a kilo.

Kobe beef is the most expensive beef in the world. It is named that way because it actually originated from Japan but now some American ranchers have started to farm this breed. It’s a very distinct black haired breed of cattle called "kuroge Wagyu" and the only way you can farm this animal is to start your ranch with a few Japanese cattle. Obviously because of the price, the demand for this type of beef is very small compared to other types of beef on the market.

The piece I cooked was a New York roast and you should have seen the amount of marble in the meat. The fatty tissues inside and outside the roast melted like butter. The taste was amazingly buttery and the texture was very tender. I cooked it at 120F internal temperature and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. The clients were very happy and I had fun… all in all a good day at work.

If you are a beef eater and if you are looking for a treat, and I do mean an expensive treat, don’t look for this at Safeway where they have “Ingredients for Life” (their new slogan)… go see Don at L&D Meat, 103 - 2365 Gordon St, Kelowna 717-1997 and tell him I sent you. He will hook you up with the best steak you have ever had.

She Says:

I have had the pleasure of being a gourmand most of my life, so I am proud to say that I have sought out many specialties from many kitchens. Often one does get intrigued by expensive delicacies. I did not get to taste Kobe beef this past weekend (I was eating grilled cheese sandwiches and s’mores with a troop of Brownies), but I can share a few of my favourite exotic food memories with you…

Baked Alaska on a ski trip
My first memory of an expensive food item was at a restaurant while on a family ski trip in the Kootenays. It was not an incredibly fancy place, and I was about 15 years old so expensive was limited to the extent of what my parents would permit. Nevertheless, my cousin and I managed to pick the most expensive dessert on the menu when we were told to pick “whatever we wanted”. How could you resist Baked Alaska for two?! The combination of the miracle of science (how do you put ice cream in the oven and not end up with a puddle?) and the thrill in my mouth (wow! So that is what hot ice cream tastes like!!)- it was enough to get me hooked on the added value of expensive specialties. Here was food that had staying power, because it had a story to tell!

Most expensive cappuccino in Paris
The next experience I had that involved expensive food is one of my favourites, as it is a night that forged a life-long friendship. Merle and I met on a Contiki trip we both decided to take while young and silly, and we hit it off right away, realizing that we were looking for more than just a good time. You see, we wanted to experience the world, and we knew that meant getting the most out of every city we saw. In Paris, when we were set loose on the West Bank to explore and have a café au lait (that is what Parisians do in the evening, don’t you know) well, we looked for the coolest place in the neighbourhood, with the best view and the cutest waiters. Once we got back to the bus, the guide asked us all what we had spent on our coffee to see how we had assimilated the idea of value, and Merle and I were delighted to discover that we had spent more than any other group! After all, it was worth it to be seen on the “terrasse” and not hide at the bar where they charge less (you stand, not sit) and we liked the fancy china cups over the clunky old ceramic ones we saw in smaller cafés.

Dinner in Chicago
This memory is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it certainly was expensive, but it was worth every penny. Martin and I actually detoured 500 km on a trip to visit a restaurant that we had both wanted to experience. It was the home of a well-known chef, and a place that was renowned for its service and quality. We spent the whole evening there, savoring every bite from the 9 course tasting menu (it was really 8 courses plus one they added when they found out Martin loves mushrooms). The waiters (yes, we had more than one – and I don’t mean like at Earl’s when the “food runner” brings your food) – they knew every nuance in how the food was prepared, and the sommelier seemed to have the list of wines memorized (quite a feat, considering it was about 1 cm thick!) At the end of the meal they took us through the kitchen and the wine cellar, and we left feeling like royalty. It was truly a magical evening, and one I shall cherish always (and not just because we could have bought a good stereo system for the same price!)

Well, I hope you have enjoyed our little indulgence in sharing the extremes of our passion with you. I am sure some of you are thinking we must be nuts to be even interested in food that is so extravagant. Just remember, our time on this planet is short, and I for one believe we should make the most of it in every way possible. There are far worse ways to spend money than to enjoy good food in great company, making memories that warm your heart for years to come.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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