Excellent question, Harters! For me, one of the things I’m finding is that my age and fully functional accuracy of food memory and what thinges USED to taste like is a serious handicap unto itself! There is damned little in this world left anymore that tastes like it SHOULD taste! But I don’t think it has ever been Heston Blumenthal’s goal, in any of his theatrical Fat Duick adventures, to present traditional food. Just “traditional taste” gained through non-traditional means, if I understand his motivations correctly.
For me, your question brings up a few “social issues.” In actual dollar value and my total ineptitude with equating euros with dollars, I have NO IDEA what the actual “bottom line” of your weekend racks up to, in today’s prices.
So, for a personal answer from me and for me, I would prefer to go out and buy the organic, grass fed, and/or vintage equivalents, stay home and cook it myself, invite friends in to share it with, and donate whatever is left over (a sizeable sum, I would imagine), and send that to a charity of my choice.
BUUUUTTTT… The advantage I have over many is that I have lived looooooogn and well! I have had fresh-caught that mroning never salted true beluga caviar (by the kilo!), I’ve drunk my share of vintage Chateau d’Yquem. I’ve also drank enough Dom Perignon to know that I like it best when I open it, put it in the refrigerator, let it go flat, then serve it as a very special still white wine. And I have eaten from the gourmet chefs of their day (PRE-television!) enough to have had the most elaborate dishes that were 100% organic pesticide free grass fed etc. Can we say, “Tournedos Rossini?” I’m even old enough to remember when the very finest and most elegant restaurants had “private dining rooms” so you could invite your friends to dinner and have total privacy to linger over coffee until you damned well felt like going home, and “being seen” had no place in the reservation!
So I personallly have little interrest in being a paying customer at Fat Duck. But would I ever love to have an invitation to play around in the kitchen with Heston Blumenthal? THAT would be fun!!! Maybe even fun worth paying for if I were super rich! '-)
But I do recall your review of the experience, thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I think you have quite a fabulous relationship with your wife, and the fun you two have on your food adventures are heart warming. But actually, I think I have enjoyed your reviews of small, local, fast-fading traditional pubs the most. Happy feasting…!!!