DINNER IN THE SKY- When terrestrial dining is no longer enough
When foodies converse with fellow foodies, it gets heated. Competitive culinary banter can reach all sorts of maniacal levels, generally followed by someone going down the El Bulli reminiscence route which can stop the one-upping in its tracks. Admittedly this foodie has pulled that card occasionally but I now have an even cooler gauntlet to throw down next time I find myself in a dining-obsessed crowd - Dinner In The Sky.
It is exactly as it sounds, and what began with a crazy idea and a crane in Belgium has spiraled outward to a worldwide phenomenon, available now in 35 countries. And if you can handle being hoisted 50 meters up on a table supported by a crane to have your dinner, then this is for you.
It begins with a rectangular table, fully set with service for 20, comfortable chairs, and smiling, welcoming, well-dressed staff. It seems normal enough until blast-off, and said crane propels you high into the sky, where you spend the next several hours hovering above the land below and drinking in stunningly breathtaking views along with your wine and champagne.
As you float along, the staff discreetly serves while you eat suspended in the air. Legs do not dangle thanks to a sturdy bottom platform, and temperatures do not become uncomfortable thanks to a generous canopy, and just about anything can be organized to be served. Chefs have their own place in the middle of the table to craft their creations and it's just full-on impressive from liftoff to descent. Cocktails flow, diners toast to the beauty and their luck to be aboard, and spirits tend to fly higher than the table itself.
The concept certainly has a wow factor that leaves event organizers on a high for months at a time reveling at their success with clients. Even those who may have a slight fear of heights stand to be cured just by the value of the views along with the simultaneous, perpetual adrenaline rush. One word of caution: there is no "rest room in the sky", so our advice is to visit before liftoff. Those who simply cannot wait are brought down briefly during the flight, which can sometimes be an inconvenience to fellow diners, especially those who have to be convinced to embark in the first place.
Though this flight of dining fancy took place over Paris, the apparatus and concept can be set up just about anywhere in the world. Over a vineyard in France, lazing over Lebanon, meandering sky-high over Monte Carlo, even over a concert or the Vegas strip for an extra fabulous surprise. Your cost for high-flying adventure? US $6500. Your take-away from soaring suspended in the air on this most unique culinary experience? Truly priceless.