Getting their money’s worth with a ‘Meal of a lifetime’

BANGKOK, Thailand – It’s been billed as the “meal of a lifetime,” a 10-course dinner concocted by world-renowned chefs for the most discriminating palates and – at $25,000 a head – the fattest wallets.

Few expenses were spared in putting together Saturday night’s culinary extravaganza in Bangkok.

But at this price, even the most talented chefs can find it challenging to give diners their money’s worth.

Antoine Westermann of Le Buerhiesel, the famous restaurant in Strasbourg, France, says he plans to shave 3 1/2 ounces of Perigord truffles – worth about $350 – onto each plate.

“For $25,000, what do you expect?” He said.

Westermann is one of six three-star Michelin chefs – four from France and one each from Italy and Germany – commissioned to fix dinner at the Lebua luxury hotel for 40 “Epicurean Masters of the World.” That’s the title for the event, organized by the hotel to promote Thai tourism.

The menu features complicated creations like “tartare of Kobe beef with Imperial Beluga caviar and Belon oysters” and “mousseline of ‘pattes rouges’ crayfish with morel mushroom infusion.”

Guests jetted in from the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Deepak Ohri, the Lebua’s managing director, declined to reveal their identities, but said they include Fortune 500 executives, a casino owner from Macau and a Taiwanese hotel owner.

“It’s surreal! The whole thing is surreal,” said Alain Soliveres, the celebrated chef of the Taillevent restaurant in Paris.

Soliveres was preparing two of his signature dishes, including the first course: a “‘creme brulee’ of foie gras” to be washed down with a 1990 Cristal champagne- a bubbly that sells for more than $500 a bottle, but still stands out as one of the cheapest wines on the menu.