When we go out we're prepared to splash the cash and enjoy some good food, but in return, we also like to feel like we're getting bang for our buck.
When we order spaghetti with tomato sauce we know we're paying over the odds for an inexpensive dish. But how about some more luxury dishes like Kobe beef, oysters or truffles where we expect to pay more, but how much is just?
We know how we feel as the diner, but it's not often we get a chance to hear direct from chefs, that is, until now.
A number of Chef’s have helped put us in the picture by spilling the beans to Thrillist. They've picked up on the most marked up restaurant food where consumers are essentially being duped into paying premium prices.
The chefs interviewed remained anonymous for obvious reasons. We've picked up on the key quotes.
Kobe - the real deal?
Distinguishing between authentic kobe and imitation kobe can be difficult to the untrained eye. With limited regulations surrounding 'American' versions of the famous pummelled Japanese kobe beef the name is open to exploitation and imitation.
"Some restaurants, however, are serving American-style 'Kobe,' calling it Japanese Kobe, and charging $35/oz for it," said one chef. Restaurants are basically using the term to mean “add eight dollars.”
Eliminating imitation kobe beef is not an easy demand. As Larry Olmsted wrote in Business Insider 'kobe beef has been the biggest food scandal in recent history.'
When you're looking for the real deal kobe take advice of what to look out for. Massimo Minutelli, one of Italy's most qualified experts told FDL earlier in the year "Admittedly, the price is high, about 90 Euros per portion, but in return I can promise the most incredible gourmet experience of your life”.
Truffles and Oil
"it’s usually a chemically engineered imitation or a highly diluted extract, like vanilla. Even on the rare occasion when actual truffles are used, paying $58 to see some black flecks on your risotto is never worth it."
Photo: Emma Cole
In fact most truffle oil often has very little to do with real truffles and is made from an organic compound called 2,4-Dithiapentane mixed together with olive oil, and as such the inclusion of truffle oil shouldn't see an inflated price on a dish. Over at Serious Eats they have had a real anti truffle oil rant.
"$36-$45 per dozen is absolutely outrageous for an ingredient that requires no culinary skill whatsoever."
Other over priced dishes, according the chefs, include some popular favourites; mac n'cheese, breaded calamari, meze platters, artisanal toast, spicy tuna rolls and any chicken dishes over $25, which are so lucrative for the restaurant they are literally left "laughing all the way to the bank."
Discover Fine Dining Lovers' exclusive Why Waste? video series, featuring Massimo Bottura and his team of chefs, as they teach us how to repurpose leftovers and trimmings in delicious and imaginative ways, from vegetables to dairy. Take a look