The Michelin brothers, André and Edouard, introduced their famous red guide in 1900, just as the automobile craze was beginning to catch on in France. They began including restaurant reviews about three decades later, and have since become the definitive source for fine dining around the world.
The top establishments are awarded one, two or three stars. There are currently 109 restaurants that have earned the ultimate accolade of three Michelin stars, and they are scattered across 12 countries. Having a meal at one of them is a time-consuming affair---beginning with the complicated process of securing a reservation, and continuing through the four or five hours it usually takes to wade through the myriad of courses that comprise dinner.
Now you have the chance to visit all 109 restaurants in a single trip. A British company called VeryFirstTo, in combination with travel site HolidaysPlease, is offering the opportunity for the paltry sum of $275,000---not a bad deal, since the cost includes business class travel and luxury hotel accommodations (the package covers “house wine” to accompany the meals, so you do have to rough it a bit). Participants visit one restaurant every other day, and you’ll need those rest days. The eateries are located in places as far-flung as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Macau; between digestion and travel, the itinerary will be a busy one, and you’ll be on the road for six months.
The price actually becomes more reasonable when you consider that dinner at a Michelin three-star ranges from $300 to $1000 per person. On top of that, reservations are some of them are virtually impossible to get: Many of these restaurants have no more than 50 or 60 seats, and the demand is overwhelming. If you have the time and the disposable income, the Michelin trip is just the beginning. When you’re finished eating, you can take advantage of some of the company’s other luxury packages, such as a $75,000 holiday for dogs, or a two-year, $1.5 million jouney to every World Heritage Site.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot); for more information, visit amazon.com