Ahh, to live like the rich and famous! Who hasn’t daydreamed about the extravagance and limitless luxury at some point in their lives? The fantasy of great wealth and the finest foods it can buy is what draws so many of us to hiring a private chef. We want that feeling of opulence and sharing an elite dining experience with our loved ones… but how far does high-end dining go?
Let’s talk about some of the world’s most expensive foods, eaten by the ultra-elites. You’ll find these foods on tables at exclusive dinner parties, sometimes consumed in secret, and occasionally listed on secret menus at some of the world’s finest dining establishments…
Why are these foods only for the ultra-rich? Because the price for these meals is so exorbitantly high that the average person would never dream of throwing down money for them. Some items are also downright illegal and can only be consumed by the most influential people in the world – billionaires, of course. So let’s take a sneak peek into some of the most lavish meals you can find today.
This tiny songbird has been a part of French haute cuisine for hundreds of years. The New York Times refers to this delicacy as ‘the gastronomic equivalent of a visitation from the holy grail’, whatever that means. The dish is prepared in a very archaic and unfriendly manner: the ortolan is locked in darkness – or blinded – and forced to gorge on grains to fatten itself up. Once it has reached a good size, the ortolan is thrown, still alive, into a vat of Armagnac brandy where it marinates and cooks. It’s then roasted, plucked, and consumed whole – including the bones! Ortolan is usually eaten feet first while holding onto the head, and whether or not you eat the head (and beak) is up to you.
As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, ortolan is also traditionally eaten with a big napkin hanging over your head. Some say it’s to retain the maximum aroma while eating the bird, others claim it’s to shield the diner from the eyes of god as they shamefully eat this tortured bird. Others think the napkin is there to hide the unsightly spitting out of bones.
Since 1999, it’s been illegal to consume ortolan and only the richest of the rich can get their hands on a black market version of this dish. Ortolan was made illegal for several reasons: firstly, the preparation is incredibly cruel, and secondly, the birds are an endangered species. Still, more than 30,000 ortolan are illegally captured and sold each year in France, going for around 150 euro per bird.In 2014, two Michelin-starred chefs in France tried to unban eating ortolan for one day a year, but their bid was unsuccessful. This exclusive meal also appeared on the television show, Billions, where it was eaten by a hedge-fund billionaire.
Ask someone to name a bunch of ‘rich people food’, and caviar will likely be the first on the list. But we’re not talking about just any caviar here, we’re talking about the most exclusive version of caviar. And that’s Almas, which comes from the Iranian albino-beluga sturgeon. It’ll only set you back up about $35,000 for a kilo – although if you choose farm-raised Almas caviar then you could be putting in upwards of $100,000 for that sweet snack.
The white Almas caviar comes from wild beluga that have rare pigmentation defects, giving its distinctive colour. The sturgeon that produce Almas caviar are critically endangered and in danger of extinction, making this type of caviar a very scarce and expensive delicacy. In the USA it has been illegal to sell this type of caviar since 2005, but if you’re rich enough to eat Almas then you’re rich enough to hop on a private jet and fly elsewhere for your dinner.
What’s more thrilling than forking out hundreds of dollars to dine on the world’s most dangerous fish? This Japanese pufferfish contains a poison called tetrodotoxin, which is more than 1000 times deadlier than cyanide. And, somehow, that makes it a rare delicacy. Chefs who use fugu need to undergo very specific and extensive training before they can cook and serve it – including a license just to buy, cook, and sell the fish. It’s very rare to find fugu outside of Japan, but there you’ll find it going for a few hundred dollars.
Sorry guys, that truffle oil you’ve been eating in your pasta is not really quite truffle, you know? Real truffles – as in the creme de la creme of truffles, the most prized and rare truffles – can cost several hundred dollars for just a few simple shavings. And that’s where white truffles come in, the rich man’s truffle.
White truffles are much more valuable than black truffles because they don’t have an outer shell. This makes them more easily affected by weather and climate, and thus rarer to find. So how much should you expect to pay for some luxurious white truffles? Just a cool $4,000 per kilo.
Serendipity’s opulent sundae
For a casual $1,000, the ultra rich can eat the world’s most opulent ice cream. This extravagant delicacy is made with three scoops of the finest vanilla ice cream, encrusted with gold, and topped with almonds, caviar, and an orchid made from sugar that takes 8 hours to build. Even the serving vessel is expensive – the goblet is made from Baccarat crystal that’s coated in 23-karat gold. I’m not sure who decided caviar and ice cream were a good combination, but I’m sure this sundae satisfies those who feel the need to splurge on it…
The Venetian’s cupcake
At Las Vegas’s Venetian hotel, you can find this secret menu item that could very well possibly be the world’s most expensive cupcake. This luxury dessert is made with prized Venezuelan chocolate that’s already pricey enough when not in cupcake form, costing around $200 per kilo. The cupcake is sprinkled with 24-karat gold flakes and served alongside gold caviar and a hand-blown sugar crown that’s filled with $2,500 cognac. Damn. Now that’s an expensive ensemble. You can expect to splurge about $750 for one of these decadent cupcakes.
Now how about the world’s most expensive omelette? This is a sure contender, the ‘Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata’ from Norma’s in Manhattan. This omelette costs a cool $1,000 and is made with six eggs, potatoes, chives, lobster, and about 200 grams of expensive caviar. It seems like caviar is a staple in most opulent dishes. Throw it in and you can charge a few extra hundred for your meal – and attract the eyes of the world’s elite at the same time.
Enjoy your own luxury dining experience
It doesn’t need to have caviar, illegal menu items, or gold flakes to be elite. The real experience of fine dining comes from having authentic, high quality ingredients and produce, a personal chef who knows what they’re doing, and the company of loved ones all around. Treat yourself and your closest bunch to an exclusive dining experience led by one of our personal chefs and enjoy mouthwatering foods made with love and dedication. Browse our shop to book our different food experiences or get in touch with our team to discuss your own ideas.