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World’s most expensive Christmas dinner priced at $200,450 draws critics

Lia Grainger
Shine On
December 12, 2012

Calling all obscenely rich people, wondering what to do with those piles of cash you've got laying around the mansion? Don't you hate it when after splurging on Christmas Porches for your entire extended family, you still have extra cash to burn?

British chef Ben Spalding to the rescue. An opulent Christmas dinner that comes with a forehead-slapping $200,450 price tag for four diners, that's $50,112 per person.

The 25-year-old upstart is currently a chef at British restaurant John Salt. His very special World's Ultimate Christmas Dinner offer is being put together by luxury products website VeryFirstTo.com, which also offers flights to space for $105,000 --  a possible Boxing Day outing for you and the family.

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Naturally, Spalding's menu comes with a health dose of skeptics who suggest it may be a bit insensitivity.

"My restaurant is oriented to these high end items, but I think you have to have the flexibility and the understanding of how the times have changed," says Pino Posteraro, owner and head chef at Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca in Vancouver.

"Even people with a lot money don't want to throw that in people's faces in a time of crisis."

So what does the $50,112 plate get you?

First things first, Spalding will be cooking you the meal in the comfort of your own home, reports Time, so if you're the hotplate and mini-fridge type, you may want to reconsider. The meal begins with a bottle of $59,500 1907 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne served in diamond studded flutes.

Next up, an appetizer of bird's nest and Almas caviar with 150-year-old balsamic vinegar and Pata Negra Ibérico Jamón. Then it's $4000 melon called the Yubari King served with white truffles and saffron.

It continues from there, with an ingredient list that includes Wagyu beef and heart, rare Dodine turkey, gold leaf, Akbari pistachios, Densule watermelon, and Kopi Luwak coffee beans that have digested and excreted by Vietnamese civet cats. Yum!

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Spalding promises to donate most of his fee to charity, but the offer has still drawn critics for being more than a little over the top in a time of austerity.

Does all of this opulence equal delicious?

"Assembling the most expensive things does not necessarily give you a successful menu at the end," says Posteraro.

Posteraro specializes in rare foods and ingredients, and finds Spalding's menu to be gimmicky. He says that he prefers to alternate expensive items with more earthy ingredients to create balance. He also suggests the menu may be a little insensitive.

Posteraro does some very high end meals complete with expensive wines, old bottles of Dom Pérignon, caviar, lobster and truffles, but nothing ever costs more than $6000 a person.

"I don't see how a meal could be worth $50,000," says Posteraro.

So far the meal has not been purchased, so it remains to be seen if anyone believes a meal could be worth $50,000, other than, of course, Spalding himself.

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