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What is the most elaborate meal you ever cooked?

I once made a Thanksgiving meal with 11 courses. 8 guests.

Started with an amuse.

Followed by pick grapefruit with white cherry.

Oyster Rockefeller variant with artichoke hearts in place of oyster shell.

Salad

Sorbet

White shallot soup

Salmon en croutte

Turkey, walnut stuffing, sweet potato, asparagas

Cheese course

Hot dessert with coffee

Cold dessert.

I paired wines with each course, and the whole thing took 8 hours for me and my guests. It was wonderful. I have never attempted anything so grand ever again. I would do so in a heart beat if the opportunity presented. Anyone else strive this way, or am I a little weird in my aspirations?

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    1. The single most elaborate dish ever is Julia's Veal Prince Orloff. Simply crazy. Can't remember the other components of the meal, but since I was in that mindset, I imagine they were nuts, as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        That was mine, too, Pika. Plus this inordinately complicated gateau au chocolat, with at least three different kinds of layers (meringue, ganache, and more). It was only for one guy, and I was completely covered in cocoa when he got there.

      2. I'm not sure I recall any specific details but it's bound to have one of those very rare occasions when we've made three courses, without recourse to buying one of them.

        Almost certainly a Christmas lunch. One sticks in my mind from around 20 years ago. We started with soup - vegetable, I think. Followed by turkey. And a steamed Christmas Pudding, with brandy sauce, for dessert.

        Found it challenging, culinary-wise, and, certainly for a big family gathering we've not repeated it - now buying the Pudding and, usually the starter as well, if it's not been something that can be prepared easily.

        Much as we love to cook and to eat, we don't try and prepare complicated food these days - no fancy sauces, no difficult last minute touches - and very much leave that sort of meal to when we eat in restaurants. Professional chefs, even at bistro level, are so much better cooks than I am.

        1. Ill be doing 10 courses for 7 on christmas eve, but I have it pretty well planned out so it should run smoothly. Soup course/foie gras terrine/duck confit etc are all able to be made the day before.

          In terms of the most elaborate meal Ive ever cooked period it was for work during f1 weekend this year in austin. 14 courses for 70 people. Thats a lot of plates to put out even with a team ><

          1 Reply
          1. re: twyst

            Yeah, it requires a lot of advance planning. I learned a lot, and it took a lot of ruthless concentration. Let us know how it goes. You sound as if you have had some professional experience.

          2. While not elaborate, my most ambitious meal happens on an island in the Indian River. It is known as Dale's Diner.
            I cook breakfast for who ever shows on Memorial Day Sunday morning out of the cockpit of my boat on a two burner propane cooktop.

            eggs to order

            omelets to order with sweet pepper, hot pepper, onions,ham, bacon, shredded pork, cheese, and anything else I may have on hand

            Sausage gravy

            Hash browns

            Bacon

            French toast

            Pancakes

            Toast

            Prep takes about 3 hours that morning and my record is over 50 people fed in about an hour and a half. Using two woks and a large cast iron skillet.

            Everybody brings their own beverage of choice and keep me happy with strong black coffee.

            1 Reply
            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              Sounds like a hoot. What's the back story to your annual event?