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January 26, 2006



That menu? $50 is a bargain! If I lived near you, I would beg to be on your guest list. Good luck with the dinner. :-)

Raspberry Sour

Well-prepared, quality ingredients are always worth paying for. As for wondering when to charge your friends, you can always give the dinner series a fancy title and make up official invites, which would then give friends a clear distinction between a casual get-together and these dinners.

Good luck, and enjoy the meal. And the cooking!


Just a suggestion from a Torontonian who read your menu with mouth agape, drooling: please open a restuarant!!

The menu looks sensational, Clement. I like Raspberry Sour's suggestion for distinguishing between your special dinners and more casual get-togethers. Good luck!


I stumbled across this and thought you may like o read this article! Not that you are doing this, but it reminded me of when I first read it.,1,4886536,print.story?coll=chi-leisuretempo-hed


Congratulations for your menu! It´s so though to put a price in our food, specially for friends... I´ve got the same problems when some of my friends wants me to cook for a party, or something like that. Good Look and most of all, have a great time!!


Hello Clément,
Your cuisine is so appealing I'd certainly pay 50$ and come enjoy such treats. I can understand though how you feel about expectations changes when you make friends pay for something. But you're right, your friends certainly will be much more appreciative and understanding than most restaurant clients. Plus, where do you get to eat such an extroardinary menu for 50$????


Bonne chance, Clement!

I would gladly pay $50 for that menu ... I cannot wait to hear about how wonderful it turns out.

Just Me (Heather)

Think of it as a potluck except fellow diners are bringing money, not dishes! I think if you make it clear at the onset what you are hoping to accomplish then your guest will have no problems, especially with such an impressive 8 course menu. If you plan on doing this regularly then I would set up a "schedule": every 2 months, every 6 months.

I have been perusing your blog in depth this morning and am drooling. I live just outside of the GTA & always enjoy a good day in the city. You've given me some great ideas of places to add to my "Must See" list.


Good luck ! It's quite impressive


me and my friend invited a group of our friends to dinner with a $50 charge because we are trying to raise money for a charity. (we were donating all the time and ingredients) Usually friends jump to come to all the dinner parties we do free, this time all but two ignored us.

maybe i need some new friends?

I would gladly pay to eat you food, Clement, but I must strongly advise against Keller's gougere.
or at least practice it before the day

I use Brett's recipe (from In Praise of Sardines)

He left it in the comments section of my post complaining about Keller's version which for some strange reason asks for a tablespoon of salt.

here is the link


What an intricate dinner menu! Seems like we can only get those in more classy restaurants in Toronto. See, I'm just a poor student =p
I'd hav to agree with the others that this IS a BARGAIN!

I have a question, do each guest get both of the main courses or do they have to choose one? As for dessert, if I were them I'd try on every dessert you prepared! =)


I wouldn't think twice about asking for a small donation considering the menu you have planned. I've run into similar situations when preparing tasting menus for large parties. It can be very expensive. I'm sure your friends will agree it was money well spent.
This is a great site, you've put a lot of effort into it. I've cooked extensively out of the French Laundry book as well, and have come back to the Pot-au-Feu several times. It is amazing, absolutely melts in your mouth. I'm not sure of your sources, but I strongly recommend the short ribs from D'artagnan for this recipe. Also, I think you mentioned making the veal stock already. Did you use Keller's recipe for that as well? If so, I'm curious as to what you think. I've made it a few times and I think it is incredible, however it is very rich. Even with a 2 quart yield, the consistency is close to glace. Which is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but you may find that for the short ribs recipe the sauce is almost too over the top rich with this veal stock. If you find that you need extra stock to cover the ribs (it takes a pretty big pot to put in all one layer), don't worry about going with more chicken stock than veal. After braising for 6 hours, the end result is still amazingly rich, and people can actually deal with more than 3 bites without exploding. In any event, a small portion according to Keller's 'Law of Diminishing Returns' leaves everyone perhaps wanting one more bite. Right where you want them.
I told my wife about this site, and we were laughing over dinner about how we were discussing a complete stranger and hoping the best for your dinner party. I've done many an all nighter cooking for others because of the pleasure it brings, so was delighted to find your site. Best of luck.


I would pay more than $50 dollars for this menu... Especially since I've been dying to try Keller's butter poached lobster!


Thanks everyone for your kind words.

Melissa - I'm sure Derrick could make you the entire menu (plus more) without breaking a sweat! He certainly sets the standard when it comes to ambitious dishes for the home cook.

Raspberry Sour - Thanks for the suggestions. I'm enjoyed every minute of it so far, and I'm learning so much along the way.

Tania - Hopefully someday - when money, time, and skill collide :) In the meantime, it'd be great to have a Toronto food blog get together sometime.

Cori - Thanks for the article. I've heard that speakeasies and dinner clubs are popular in Asia, but didn't realize they're in North America too (but then again, I guess I'm not really supposed to know). My understanding is that it's all legal unless it's open to the general public (as opposed to friends and family).

Maíra - Thanks! I'm also quite hesitant to ask my friends to pay, but thankfully they were all very understanding.

Zoubida - Right now, things seem to be going well, so I'm really enjoying the challenge. Ask me next week, and my answer may be different!

Ivonne - Thanks, I can't wait to see how everything turns out either. So far, so good :)

Heather - Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure how regularly I'll be doing these dinners. But hopefully I can do one every two or three months and use the time in between to learn some new preparations. Even at that rate, I'm afraid I may run out of guests quite soon! Glad you found my site useful.

Christell - Thanks.

Sam - Sorry I didn't quite make it to last week's SHF. I can't believe I've missed almost all of your events so far: IMBB, SHF, D&D... but hopefully I'll get organized and be ready for your next one.

I'm also curious to see how soon I'll run out of guests. Most of my friends don't normally spend $50 for dinner, so this is still quite expensive.

Thanks for the Gougères advice. I've made them a couple times before and they seemed okay to me, but I usually skip the cheese topping, so that probably makes it a bit less salty. I'll definitely make sure I taste the batter as I make them this weekend. At least, that could spare me from wasting my cheese if it's too salty.

Ceendy - Everyone gets all the courses on the menu. I'm trying to keep them small (so people won't get too full), without appearing to be skimpy. I agree with you that it's difficult to find impressive (western) food at a reasonable price in Toronto. $40 doesn't really buy much, and a $90 tasting menu, while impressive, is too expensive to have regularly.

Matt - Thanks for visiting and for your kind words. I practiced making Pot-au-Feu last weekend, and it was wonderful. The ribs were sublimely tender, and the sauce had an incredible depth and richness. I used very well marbled flanken short ribs from a local butcher. Unfortunately the ones I bought this week (for my actual dinner) aren't quite as well marbled, but hopefully they'll be tender nonetheless.

Yes, I also noticed that the veal stock is more of a sauce. It certainly took me long enough to make, but the results were definitely worth it. I'm glad to hear you also have fun cooking from the French Laundry Cookbook. I know quite a few people who have the book, but most of them have never cooked from it! I can't remember the last time I hosted a dinner without pulling an all-nighter the night before. But hopefully this weekend will be an exception :)

Nina - You should definitely give it a try - it's really quite simple to make, and the lobster just melts in your mouth! Here's the recipe:


clement - i am not going to forgive you for not taking part in any of my events *wink*
I have a chart of the bloggers who snub me and I enjoy sticking pins in it.

Ha ha - only joking - but if i am EVER in your neck of the woods, you are absolutely NOT going to get away without cooking me dinner.

(for which, of course, I will gladly pay!]

now i have to renew my visa soon, and canada is the closest place to do it other than Mexico...


It sounds like it was a wonderful dinner, definitely worth at least $50 a person. I hope things went well. Will there be a follow-up post? :)


As one of Clement's privileged guests at the above meal, I can say - don't feel bad Clement! we feel guilty for having mooched off past (equally great) meals from you, so it's all good. I wonder if $50 even covered the cost for all that food. not to mention the fantastic mess we left behind :)

Thanks again for the wonderful meal and good luck with whatever you're cooking this week.


Hi Clement,
Your extravagant menu sounds absolutely delicious. Hope everything went well for you! I look forward to seeing the pictures.



Clement, all of this sounds incredibly mouthwateringly to-die-for and I'm sure I'm not the only one here who is eagerly anticipating the delectable details.

I hope it all went well and that you are recovering nicely from the experience. What lucky (well-fed) friends you have!

P.S. I would be more than happy to relieve you of any leftovers you need to get rid of!


Sounds divine, I would definitely pay for that!


If you were making macaroni and cheese, serving sliced Wonderbread, and some storebought ice cream for dessert, I might balk at the price.
However, after looking at your lovely menu, I see absolutely no problem with charging at least $50, especially since it includes wine.
I would love to see pictures.


Sam - If you're ever in Toronto, let me know and I'll gladly cook for you (for free of course!). To be honest, I've never actually met another food blogger in person, not to mention the headmistress herself!

Embla - Yep, things went well. Good on Saturday and great on Sunday. The follow-up post is finally up.

Adrian - I'm glad you enjoyed the dinner. Thanks so much for coming! We'll have to do it again soon..

Karen - Funny seeing you here! Yep, the dinners went great. I'm sorry you couldn't make it, but hopefully next time!

Flora - It was quite the experience, and I can't wait to do it all again! Funny you should mention leftovers, as crusty foie gras scraps were my indulgence for week following the dinner!

Ange - Glad you concur!

Christiane - I'm really glad that paying $50 didn't end up being an issue for my guests. But I'll know for sure next time I ask them - hopefully they'll still be interested!


Clement, you are so inspiring. I wouldn't think twice about paying for a meal -- even cooked by a friend -- when a menu like this is being presented -- and so beautifully! Lucky lucky friends!

Beau Lotus

We make our friends pay for a meal we cook once a year (usually the New Year) as the ingredients we usually use are very expensive e.g. Coquille St Jacques, truffles, foie gras etc. And there is also the wine. So it's only normal. And if they enjoy your cooking and want to spend an evening eating with you, that's a really small price to pay. 50$'s the price of a good bottle in a restaurant. It's nothing.


I have to admire your undertaking, and must admit it took me by surprise to find someone doing the same exact thing as myself. I stumbled over your blog after reading an article on sous-vide, I am about to meet Harold McGee next week, he is taking part in a week long cooking class I am in.

I also host the same dinner parties, however I have learned to take the techniques learned from recipes from Keller, and apply them to my own creations. I still am highly influenced by Keller.

Please take a look at my blogs below, you may find them interesting. Let me know what you think. I have also enclosed the menus for the dinners on the blogs.

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  • This is my blogchalk:
    Clement Lo,
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada, English, Male, 26, Cooking, Pastry, Restaurants, Skiing, Visual Design, Entrepreneur, Technology,
    Queen's University.

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