If you have $125 left in your 401k, I can think of at least three good reasons why you should splurge on a ticket to the Caux Culinary Challenge, a gastronomic extravaganza next Tuesday evening (November 18) from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Minneapolis Club, 729 2nd Ave. S., Minneapolis.
First of all, the food should be spectacular. Inspired by Top Chef and Iron Chef, the event will feature eight of the Twin Cities most talented chefs, known for their use of locally grown, sustainably produced ingredients, competing to produce the best local dish. This really is an all-star line-up: Vincent Francoual of Vincent A Restaurant; Lenny Russo of Heartland, Tanya Siebenaler of Sapor, Russell Klein of Meritage, Scott Pampuch of Corner Table, Jim Kyndberg of Bayport Cookery, J.P. Samuelson of J.P American Bistro (now closed) and John Thompson of the Minneapolis Club. The fact that they are having this competition in November, after the end of the local growing season, makes the challenge greater, but I am sure they will rise to the occasion.
Second, it’s for a worthy cause. Proceeds benefit the Caux Round Table, “a nonprofit organization that brings together senior business leaders who share the conviction that business should assume a leadership role in bringing positive changes to society.” One of the Caux Round Table’s principal activities is to promulgate the Caux Principles for Business, a set of ethical standards. Some people might argue that if more business leaders adhered to these principles, they might not have gotten us into the current global economic crisis. (Of course, other people might argue that corporations are inherently incapable of acting ethically, but that is not an argument that we need to have here and now.)
Third, this could be a historic event – one of those watershed moments that mark the end of one era and the beginning of another. This could be the last time – at least for many years to come – that we’ll see a gastronomic project this ambitious. Once the predicted economic tsunami hits us with full force, gala benefits with triple-digit ticket prices could become one of our fondest memories of the golden age of excess that is passing now into twilight – the era when we took trips to Europe and bought new cars and big screen plasma televisions and owned our own homes. And of course, if the Obama administration follows through on its plans to raise taxes on incomes over $250,000, that’s just going to wreak havoc on our culture of high-end gastronomy.
Actually, the price is pretty reasonable, considering that it includes tax, tip and wines, supplied by Sam’s Wine Shop – you could easily spend that much for dinner at any of the top restaurants in town, and a portion of the price of this dinner is tax-deductable. For more details about the dinner, visit CauxCulinaryChallenge.com or call 651-223-2854.