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#70 - Personal Chefs

#70 - Personal Chefs

Personal Chefs
Price: Saving the gratuity

If you are like most people, you know that dinner can be as simple as boiling water, opening a box of macaroni, adding milk and butter then mixing orange powder to creamy perfection. At worst, choosing fancy ketchup is as complicated as any meal gets. Sadly, rich people do not have the luxury of simple meals. They must choose a restaurant that is posh, exclusive and on the cusp of becoming trendy. While menus are often ignored, it is important that the restaurant be well-stocked with obscure ingredients so the chef can begrudgingly whip up their wealthy patron’s fanciful whim. All this is complicated by choosing the right car from the fleet in the garage and deciding whether the chauffeur will accompany them. If this sounds like a nightmare, you are not alone and it is the reason that 4 out of 5 rich people recommend retaining a personal chef at their estate.

If you have watched Hell’s Kitchen you already know that ego and incredible kitchen skills go hand-in-hand. It may be a surprise to learn that personal chefs are a special breed of culinary genius; they are talented and patient. Without these key ingredients the chef is as useful to the rich as a mistress with herpes. Fortunately, while money can’t buy happiness it can help choose one’s misery and there are plenty of suitable ginsu masters ready to create mouthwatering menus. They endeavor to provide the wealthy with the nourishment needed to lounge poolside and inform their broker about how to do his job.

Of course, just because rich people have a personal chef is no reason for David Chang and his staff at Momofuku Ko to press the panic button. Rich people will still dine out but knowing that they don’t have to is a paradigm shift. Now, when the hostess at Masa or I Sodi informs that there is a three week wait the wealthy can set aside andger and resentment, casually accept the reservation and enjoy homemade coniglio in padella in the comforts of their quaint 7,000 square foot residence in the Hamptons thanks to their chef’s outstanding talents. Just be sure that the only sampling going on in the kitchen is related to the meal! It would be a shame to have to choose between one’s spouse and one’s chef…good help can be so hard to find. Bon appétit!

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#60 - Foie Gras

#60 - Foie Gras

Foie Gras
Price: Cancel Your SPCA Card

Rich people love almost anything that is difficult to pronounce. It is all the better if it is also despised by Frisbee-throwing, Che Guevara loving, dreadlock sporting, patchouli wearing activists. Like a Hummer at a Green Peace rally, animal rights activists have a major hate-on for this tasty treat. This is why foie gras is so treasured in wealthy circles while baby seal pelts and snuff films, which anyone can pronounce, are take it or leave it items except among eccentric Europeans.

Let me put the Bentley in reverse, so to speak. It’s important to understand the essence of this delicacy to know why it is so divisive. Foie gras is fattened goose liver but this isn’t the issue as liverwurst is a favorite spreadable meat in trailer parks throughout the southern US and nobody is boycotting NASCAR. The battle lines are drawn because geese at most foie gras producers are force fed grain, corn and fat using a metal pipe shoved down the goose’s throat. To PETA this is an unethical mistreatment of the regal bird and former 007 Sir Roger Moore calls it a ‘delicacy of despair’. To the rich, this is business as usual as the goose has no gag reflex so it purportedly does not feel pain. This logic sounds remarkably similar to visits from high class escorts who likewise lack a gag reflex but just because you can cram something down their throat doesn’t mean you should.

Regardless of the ethical dilemma that foie gras production may pose there is an opportunity to make nice with the rich. There are two important guidelines; never talk about how it is made and please learn how to pronounce it. Nothing kills your chances of a second date like ordering “deux foys grays, garcon” or “a couple fozz grass s’il vous plait”. Enjoy the view of her Christian Louboutin’s heading for the exit because your date is over. However, elegantly request the “duck tenderloin tournedos with fwah-grrah” and your companion’s heart will melt as the words roll off your tongue. Showcasing your comfort with the finer things could mean your own lips encrusted with Guerlain KissKiss lipstick before the crème brûlée is served. This will help overcome any residual guilt. Last word of warning, never say down the hatch, it could prove traumatic!

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#48 - Not Oredering From the Menu

#48 - Not Ordering From the Menu

Not Ordering From the Menu
Price: Risk of the Unknown

For rich people menus are suggestions and only important if they have a wine list. While most people feel uncomfortable asking to substitute a salad for fries, rich people think nothing of swapping the club sandwich for Chilean sea bass and the soup for monkfish pate with caviar. Why order from the menu and be restricted by the chef’s narrow vision? Besides, any restaurant worth eating at should be flexible in serving the needs of its customers or so rich people like to believe.

When you think about it, ordering what you want, when you want it is the raison d’être for any restaurant so maybe the rich aren’t far off on this one. The chef, the waiters and the bartenders are there to make your night memorable and spectacular. If this is not the case, you need to stop choosing restaurants that proudly advertise locations in 39 states. These are fine when your mother-in-law is in town but not for a special night out. The only reason rich people have heard of Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday or Texas Roadhouse is that they own stock but have never been inside of one. The reasons for not setting foot in these fine establishments are many, among them is that the staff has learned to say no to substitutions. This simply won’t do for the wealthy.

Admittedly, not using the menu to order can get a little out of hand but this won’t stop someone who spends more on dinner in a year than most people spend on a home. Much like the royals of England believe that God selected them to lead the country, rich people like to believe that they possess divine palates superior to the men and women trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. They will dismissively order whatever suits their whimsy and complain bitterly if it fails to meet their arbitrary standards. The great failing of their culinary entitlement is indeed a tragic flaw. Having always been wealthy, they have never worked in a restaurant and therefore cannot conceive of the evils that lurk within the inner sanctum of the kitchen when dealing with difficult customers. While the rich remain none the wiser, if you’ve seen Fight Club you know to avoid the lobster bisque and the braised endive. To those about to order, we salute you. Bon Appétit!

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#45 - Trendy Diets

#45 - Trendy Diets

Trendy Diets
Price: Self Control

Alright, to be fair nobody loves diets but at some point everyone fantasizes about losing weight. For most people this is something they admit to, usually over beer and a large pizza, but never do anything about. The rich don’t have that luxury. To fit in with rich people, women must always be wafer thin and appear to be hiding an eating disorder to be accepted by the ladies at the club. It’s why you rarely see large rich women, except in Texas where everything is bigger; second marriages have a way of selecting out this trait too.

The result of this obsessive compulsive behavior to fit into a size 0, a size 2 or, god forbid, a size 4 means trying every new diet to keep the effects of natural age from catching up and parking on their hips. Obviously surgery is an option but rich people like the camaraderie that develops from eating the same foods and comparing results. For rich women it is like the Olympics with the biggest loser winning the proverbial gold medal without the ill effects of carb loading. For this reason, lunch at an upscale restaurant is like combining a Weight Watcher’s group with the “it’s a small world” ride at Disney World. You can pass from table to table taking in the sights and sounds of the latest craze in different social circles.

You will find a smattering of healthy and not-so-healthy representations of what’s hot in nutrition circles. Inevitably you will stumble upon women drinking gin martinis and eating bacon on Atkins, a balanced plate on The Zone, Raw Food advocates, the Mediterranean diet, lean meats and an absence of grains with South Beach and most recently touted by Oprah, tables of women drinking Acai Berry smoothies. While each of these appears to help for a time, this lifestyle is reminiscent of the Wheel of Pain. In a few weeks it will be time to throw their allegiances behind the next fad diet and talk excitedly about the tremendous results. Being the first to uncover the latest diet is a feather in their cap because at the end of the day nobody wants to embarrass themselves by ordering cabbage soup at Daniel on the Upper East Side. You simply must try the paupiette of sea bass or at least admire it while eating a single asparagus spear.

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#41 - Extravagant Parties

#41 - Extravagant Parties

Party Of the Year
Price: Limitless

Everyone enjoys a great party and rich people are no different. The distinction is how one hosts a party. If you receive a written and personalized invitation to a party, your host may be rich. If the invitation asks for an RSVP, this is also a good sign. If the letters BYOB are included on the invite, you aren’t going to a party with rich people. Variations on the letter B include beer, booze, beef and bitches. If it is the latter, you might want to skip the party and start looking for new friends.

All this aside, when rich people party they spare no expense and take care of every detail. An entire industry has been launched from the wallets and purses of the rich driven by their need to outdo the party at the forefront of A-list minds. These inspired games of one-upmanship lead to paid celebrity appearances, performances by top musicians, ice sculptures, champagne fountains, limo services, catering by the city’s best chefs and lavish gift bags featuring the latest must-have items. Why restrict yourself to a single party? If you want to celebrate in style, throw a simul-party (apparently we didn’t make up this word). The outrageously wealthy will organize same-day parties in multiple cities, on multiple continents and fly to them on their private jets. Paris Hilton loaded her closest friends into a Gulfstream and circumnavigated the globe on her 21st birthday including stops in New York, Las Vegas, London, Hollywood and Tokyo.

The opulence and extravagance of these fabulous parties begs the question why? Here are a few reasons, feel free to add you own. Everyone knows that rich people allude to their wealth but never reveal their net worth. Parties keep people guessing and spark discussion; the more extravagant, the more you are worth or so the logic goes. Next, rich people love to impress by hosting the perfect evening. Parties showcase their class, culture, thoughtfulness, creativity and the ability to hire the perfect planner. Finally, the rich worry that nobody will show up and the caviar will spoil; a great party is a guarantee that you’ll never run short of sycophants. This isn’t unique to the rich. Admit it, you’ve sat at home waiting for people to arrive, nervously passing time boozing or gulping Jell-o shots until guests start arriving or you have passed out on the floor. The rich are the same, except they pop champagne and snort lines in the pool house. Either way, score an invite to one of these fab soirees and you could be watching the Jonas Brothers at a private party in the Hills. On second thought, pass the Jell-o and a bucket!

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