Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The private dinner of a lifetime, cooked by a Michelin three-star chef for six people. And seven more nights of fine dining in Tokyo.



The other night I flew to Tokyo to join a heart-stopping dinner someone was hosting for just six people at his beautiful home.

He'd hired a world-famous Michelin three-star chef to prepare a 12-course meal, giving the chef no budget and a free hand to source the best ingredients from all over the world. 

He asked the chef to create the dinner he'd always dreamt about -- meaning the kind of dinner the chef himself had always dreamt about.

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THE KIND OF SURPRISE I LIKE

This guy had told the chef: "Surprise me. Don't think about the cost, and don't even mention money."

He also said: "Make me the kind of dinner that has so far existed only in your dreams. Order whatever you want from anywhere in the world, do whatever you need to do. Just make this dream dinner happen for me."



WINES OF THE CENTURY
FOR THE DINNER OF A CENTURY

Then he had some of the best vintages of the 20th century flown in from his main wine cellar in London, to accompany this 12-course dinner.

He's not only a very big businessman on the global stage and an astute investor, but also a very serious wine collector.

It was a simply amazing night. Unfortunately I can't blog about it. This guy's completely anal about his privacy.




I couldn't even take photos with my little iPod because of the kind of dinner it was. One very eminent couple at the table made it impossible to do so, protocol-wise -- not because they didn't want me to, but because of who they were.

I can't say anymore, even if I really would love to.

But if you're familiar with what kind of VIPs need strict observance of protocol, then you'll have an idea of the very nice couple I was seated opposite at this dinner.

A VERY SPECIAL CELEBRATION



Our host was celebrating something special, and this is why he'd organized this dinner of the century and pulled out all the stops for the evening.

Of course I was flying to Tokyo for this amazing event.

I'm sure you would understand that I would have flown halfway across the world, and not just halfway across Asia, if only I could tell you who cooked dinner and who sat across me at the table for six.

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A PRETTY LUXE WELCOME

When I arrived at Narita Airport on Monday night, my dinner host sent his driver with the white gloves and his fancy limousine -- one of his two fancy limousines, actually -- to pick me up.

When he rang me on my mobile in Manila just before my departure, to tell me he was sending a car to pick me up at the airport, I'd actually told him: "I can easily take a cab, you know."

This is Japan, after all. You don't have to worry about taking any kind of transportation from the airport, or about taxi drivers trying to fleece you upon arrival.

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But he said: "You are flying across Asia for my dinner. It's the least I can do."

Who's going to turn down a fancy limousine ride? I'll make the motions of turning it down once, but certainly not twice.

HELLO, HELLO



So I got into his car at Narita Airport, and instead of going home directly, I passed by his house just to say hello for a bit.

The big dinner was the following evening, and there would be four other people in the room, so I thought it would be nice to catch up ahead.

I knew he was flying out to Europe the day after the dinner, as well, so there would really be no time to talk in person.



His butler showed me into the house.

Yes, he has a butler in Tokyo, who wears the coat and the gloves just like in the movies. He's the only one I know in Tokyo with a butler, although I do know of two or three people in Manila with butlers like these.

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My friend was in his study, gazing at the computer and I'm sure it was New York or London stocks he was looking at, because of the time, when I walked in.

We didn't indulge in niceties, as we'd already talked on the car phone practically the whole way from the airport into the city, while I was updating this blog, posting updates on Facebook and posting photos on Instagram.


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A FAVOR I DIDN'T WANT TO REFUSE



So immediately, when I walked in, he said, without even taking his eyes off the computer screen: "When are you back in Japan?"

I shrugged. I had no immediate plans as my schedule for the next few months is pretty full.

Then he continued: "I need a favor from you. Can you come back at the end of May?"

I have a trip to South Africa coming up, and then Morocco's next. But in between I do have several days to squeeze Tokyo in again if I really need to.



THE CHARM OFFENSIVE

He knew I would say yes if I could, so he simply went on: "I really need to wine and dine a few people in this town, along with their wives. If you can give me a week of your time in Tokyo, I'll line up dinners every night. The kind of fancy places you like."

Basically, he needed help in charming seven very important people, and in a very subtle way.




Hmm. Tough decision, don't you think? 

To fly back to Tokyo for a week, so that I can be part of a fancy dinner for four every night at a beautiful French restaurant or at a Michelin three-star restaurant in Tokyo?

Of course, I'm going to do so, if I can, for seven nights of amazing and enjoyable dinners in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.





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