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If money was no object, what would your everyday cooking look like?

In other words, if you had an unlimited budget for ingredients, what would things be like?

The most notable change to my cooking would be using much more fresh fish and seafood. Really nice, fresh fish, crabs, scallops, clams, etc. Maybe some grass-fed beef or lamb every now and then. I can't imagine my fruit or vegetable consumption would change all that much. Maybe a better caliber of mushroom.

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  1. Exactly the same for me...more seafood/shellfish and the luxury to spend more time in the kitchen (and less time commuting to work).

    1. Lots more seafood and fresh veggies.

      1. Much more seafood and fish.

        When I started cooking, red snapper was cheap. So was salmon (I lived across the street from the Pike Place Market).

        1. Lots more seafood and rack of lamb, plus more prime beef. I might switch to free-range poultry if I found it tastier. I'd eat more truffles and raspberries. And I'd probably upgrade the quality of certain oils, vinegars, condiments, etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            Superior wine with just about every meal, and I'd buy free-range meat. That's it. The actual meals and dishes we prepare would change not at all.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              Oh yeah, we would DEFINITELY upgrade our wine choices. And there would probably be more foie gras in my life.

          2. I would probably go out even more. Cooking? What cooking?

            1. It's interesting that we all would want more seafood, because that's exactly what I would do.

              Plus, I would try truffles for the first time.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Terrie H.

                You really, really need to try truffles. They are unimaginably and luxuriously sublime! :)

                1. re: chefathome

                  i can't tell you how much I'd love to, but my pocketbook hasn't been able to go there yet. It is very high on my "to do" list!

                  1. re: Terrie H.

                    I do encourage you to give truffles a try. They're a sometimes treat, to be sure, but you can make them _relatively_ economical.

                    I have a group of friends with whom we buy about 100g (not sure what that is in oz, about 6?), then we cook a joint dinner party all about truffles. It comes to about AUD 25-30 per person for the truffle extras, we do 3-4 truffle courses for 6-8 people, and we all get to cook and learn.

                    You just have to be up front and say "Hey friends, I want to have a truffle dinner. Would you be happy to chip in $25 each for the special ingredient?" Bearing in mind it would cost maybe $50-75 each to have those in a restaurant.

                    You can see our efforts if you like :



                    I haven't written up 2011 or 2012 yet ... but I will, soon. Promise.

                    The attached photo is from 2012 - four hour roasted Cape Grim Beef fillet with a perigeuxs sauce with truffle & foie gras. Also duck-fat cooked smashed potatoes & greens. Sometimes you just got to say what the heck.

                    1. re: ecumer

                      What a lovely idea! And I so agree with, "Sometimes you just got to say what the heck." SO TRUE! We splurge on white truffles and/or truffle dishes about five times a year and it is so worth it. I just love that photo. My kind of cooking! Glad you have good friends to share this with. It makes it that much more special. :)

              2. What limits me is the availability of specialty ingredients (i.e. seafood/shellfish, exotic spices which I order) where I live in Alberta. We only get fresh seafood/shellfish when we travel to areas that are not landlocked as we are. I wish fresh white truffles were available here but since they are not, I enjoy them on our travels.

                We buy grassfed bison, lamb and beef and happy Berkshire pork. We also have excellent hunters so have great wild game. We also buy free-range happy chickens.

                We do travel to the city a few hours away every month to hit the wonderful ethnic shops and bring back all manner of things in our coolers.

                What I WOULD love is wood-fired outdoor oven here like we do at our Croatia house. Those things are amazing.

                1. I agree with the masses....more seafood. I live in a coastal state and still pay out the nose for seafood. Specifically, sea scallops would make their way into my rotation more often. Oooh and Dover sole (the real one costing $25/lb, not the $8/lb west coast fish masquerading as Dover sole).

                  1. It would look like me approving the menu that my personal chef proposed for the day.

                    2 Replies
                      1. Is a new range an ingredient? I suppose not :(
                        I'm another seafood person. And I might go a little more luxurious with my cheese selections.

                        1. More lamb and more coutry hams. Quality imported cheeses from France and Wisconsin. Increase the diversity of the wine cellar.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                            Yes, country hams. I miss them. sniff

                          2. I'd upgrade many ingredients, participate in CSA's (we have a terrific seafood one in my area), and increase the frequency certain items appear at my table. I'd like to order specialty products such as D'Artagnan. I'd like to conduct taste testings - try 3 different types of duck at the same time to really experience the differences...

                            But really, the main change that would occur with unlimited funds would be freeing up my time to cook by having someone in to clean!

                            1. I'd hire a personal chef who could shuck fresh oysters (delivered daily), make exquisite French pastry, wow me with incredible bartending skills, broil16-ounce lobster tails to perfection and be one hot babe as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Chefpaulo

                                "and be one hot babe as well"

                                Hmmm. I hope you live in Nevada. Or the Netherlands. ;)

                              2. I'd jump on the more seafood bandwagon as well, but I'd also try to source more sustainable seafood and meat, and more organic produce. I'd also buy the *really* expensive strawberries at the Farmer's Market every week they're available and drink better wine.

                                1. I'd probably venture out and try to buy better cuts of meat other than necks, feet/hooves, tails, tongues, backs, and heads (although that wouldn't always be the the case, as I feel the cheaper, tougher cuts have more flavor).

                                  I think wine and cheeses would take up most of the 'extra' funds.

                                  1. I'd probably eat more pork rinds and spray cheese.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                      You get a discount if purchasing by the case!

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        what if foie gras mousse was available in that spray cheese-type can?

                                        <imagine all the food lovers sticking out their tongues. uh - huh!>
                                        as to the main topic, send in my personal chef! let me look over the menus with him and the sommelier. ha!

                                      2. More homemade mail order items I adore as a splurge that aren't avail to me and my family any other way would be on my weekly shopping list.

                                        My cheese consumption would triple.

                                        My butcher would love me that much more.

                                        My occasional at home chef would move in.

                                        1. Another vote for seafood. I don't like fishy fish like salmon, but rather non fishy fish like bass or halibut which is very expensive here. Also a lot more beef. We very rarely have steaks because it's just not in my weekly budget range most of the time (especially now that I'm making less money on each paycheck). If we do beef it's cheap cuts or ground.

                                          Also I would switch to all organic for meat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. I would also buy from local farmers more.

                                          I would also shop at more specialty markets like Marczyks downtown http://www.marczykfinefoods.com/

                                          Also, assuming money is no object means I don't have to work at a day job, I would also spend time learning about curing my own meats, and furthering my cheesemaking skills into aged cheeses. I could also spend more time sourcing ethnic ingredients, even if the stores aren't that close to me.

                                          Oh and last but DEFINITELY not least, I would pay to have a gas line and stove installed.... NO MORE ELECTRIC! Oh and a range hood that actually takes the air out instead of recirculating it.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                            Ditto on your last paragraph! My next home will most definitely have gas and a hood that does its job. And I agree with others - way more seafood, better beef, cheeses, and mushrooms. And new purses to carry all of this new stuff in.

                                          2. Well, first my unlimited budget would create my dream kitchen. :-)

                                            Then, I'd have the very best of fresh ingredients. The best beef, pork, chicken, lamb. Grass fed. Pastured. Imported if necessary, the best of local otherwise. Organic. Great champagnes. Great cheeses. The ripest, freshest fruits and vegetables. Amazing dairy.

                                            Oh, and I'd experiment a lot more with baking. I'd entertain a LOT and treat my friends and family to sumptuous meals! Well, as sumptuous as my skill (I'm good, but not THAT good!) can make it.

                                            Oh, and fresh, young coconuts ALL the time. Whole Foods sells them precut, which is awesome, but too pricey to buy regularly. I'd have a couple a day!

                                            Oh, and I'd buy the very best of premade stuff that's not really feasible for me to make. The best croissants, demi-glace, pay someone to make regular shipments of Bi Rite salted caramel ice cream to my front door...


                                            1. No much change to what I do right now.

                                              Maybe go to the store for fresh produce when I have none at home instead of going for backup ramens (or just better ramens), or get "better" produce (bio, ...) when those are available and in season.

                                              I might, heck, I would spend a lot more on better wines.

                                              I don't think I would go to the restaurant more often, but would I might choose from a larger selection (higher price).

                                              But at some point, money is not the issue, time is, I don't always have the time to go to the store or cook all those good products I bought.

                                              1. Yes! Same here. On weekdays, I might hire somebody to cook a couple of days a week because sometimes I really tire of my own cooking. No surprises, ya know?

                                                1. I would finish my kitchen remodel and have unlimited travel funds.

                                                  1. If money were no object, I'd be cooking and eating in France.

                                                    1. Another vote for more seafood, which is expensive where I live. My last half of grass fed, pastured beef was 4.75 per pound but I can't get domestic shrimp for under $17 per pound.

                                                          1. Except perhaps for more seafood occasionally, and perhaps better quality wines, I don't thing much would change. I would, however, spend money on nice commercial style gas stove...one with a dedicated and honkin' hot wok burner.

                                                            1. If money were no object, I'd have a bigger kitchen. With four elements, and an oven, and a double sink, and a pantry with lots of shelves and a freestanding freezer, and a better fridge.

                                                              Ingredient wise - I'd splurge more on good imported ingredients, like cheese, cured meats, olives, pickles of various sorts, exotic vegetables like zucchini, lamb. Better wine.

                                                              I'd also be tempted to hire someone to deliver stuff that is available, but out of my way. A two hour round trip to get fresh parsley, for example, is not worth it to me even if it's a reasonable price.

                                                              Seafood is not actually a big issue, because I already have access to a huge variety of freshly caught seafood at reasonable prices. I'd buy sushi quality fish more often, though, and salmon roe. And with a 12 month growing cycle, good quality produce is available year round.

                                                              The rest of it is stuff that isn't available locally, even expensively. Fresh artichokes, fresh fennel, good dark bread, corn tortillas, Spanish ham, berries, cherries and peaches that actually taste good, rye or kef flour, pickling cucumbers... Given enough money, I could probably have it imported for me, through a distributer, though.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                Where do you live tastesgoodwhatisit? I'd have a hard time if at least some of these things weren't available for me!

                                                                1. re: Jeanne

                                                                  I'm in Taiwan. I can find a surprising variety of ingredients once i know where to look, but the stuff on that list is the things I haven't found.

                                                                  There are compensations - year round fresh produce, local tropical fruits, good, fresh, affordable local seafood, and great traditional markets. Not to mention locally grown tea.

                                                              2. Prime Rib.
                                                                One of the few things I go out for. Cost not a factor, I'll get it right.

                                                                1. scallops, lobster, salmon, crab.... oh my.

                                                                  1. Invite more people over for dinner. And more often.

                                                                    1. Ooooooh. Where to start. My dream kitchen, of course. In an otherwise modest home someplace where I'd have access to the freshest, most varied seafood, instead of landlocked and surrounded by pork product vendors. Not that pork's a bad thing, but I miss fresh seafood so much.

                                                                      I'd love to be able to arrange to have lots of fresh fruit delivered to my door, out of season, exotic, dragonfruit, mangosteens, I dream of cherimoyas. I could happily live out the rest of my days with fresh seafood and cherimoyas on my table.

                                                                      SO's happy with pork products. :D We could have those shipped to us, is there a "pork of the month" club?

                                                                      1. I'm with a lot of other people here on the: more great cheese, more seafood, slightly better caliber wines, more varieties of mushroom, some experimentation with foie, eating out more (including farther away) .... oh, but wait, there's still one more limitation: time. I think of having all that great food and not enough time to spend cooking it before it got away from me. I finally made beef stock this weekend... I had the shanks to do that for 2 months!

                                                                        1. My kitchen would look like I yanked it out of La Cirque or Tavern On The Green. A nice big two oven 8 burner stove with griddle and salamander, the biggest Sub-Zero fridge and freezer, and a secret hidden door leading down to a well stocked wine cellar to make the Gallo brothers drool.

                                                                          1. It would look like hiring someone to menu plan, source, shop, select wine pairings and clean up. I would have every ingredient at my disposal without leaving the house. I would do the cooking, or not, as the mood strikes me, with a glass of great champagne at hand. No worries about not finishing the bottle because it's a Tuesday night.
                                                                            It would look like living in a place where the line between indoors and outdoors is blurry or nonexistent. Where I use my wood-fired oven year-round with pleasure, and where the outdoor kitchen is more fabulous and gets more use than the indoor.

                                                                            And there'd probably always be jamon iberico on the counter, complete with stand.

                                                                            1. If money were no object I'd eat a stack of platinum foiled cheeseburgers, made from the choicest cuts of a cloned mammoth (w/cheddar cheese made from mammoth milk), presented upon a solid gold tray, served to me by a highly skilled staff of ninja waiters...

                                                                              1. A lot more fresh seafood (and I live in NC). Shrimp, fish, clams, oysters and all the soft shell crabs I want.

                                                                                As with others - really good cheese - all that I want or am curious about. Great bakery items. No limit on my on-line food & spice ordering.

                                                                                All the filet mignons and different cuts of beef (excellent quality) that I want -

                                                                                Anything I want to try a recipe - no matter how expensive

                                                                                A stock of really good wines and champagne plus an outrageously stocked bar offering anything you would imagine

                                                                                1. I'm assuming that I wouldn't need to go to work, either? Having time is really important. Better ingredients would definitely help but I would also like to improve my cooking skills by working through Pepin's book to master the techniques. Also, I would like to To pick a different vegetable every day and build a menu around it

                                                                                  1. Not too different - more beef, steak, etc. I try not to skimp on the things I enjoy, and cooking is my main hobby. So pretty much the same, but you'll probably see a maid doing the dishes afterwards.

                                                                                    1. I'd shop at higher-end places more often. So trips to Zabar's and Russ and Daughters for smoked salmon and other appetizing delights would not be reserved for holidays.

                                                                                      I'd buy rib eyes and porterhouse steaks when they are not on sale.

                                                                                      Not more cheese, but better quality and variety. And I'd break the $25/bottle wine barrier with reckless aplomb.

                                                                                      1. More beef tenderloin. Shrimp flown in from the Gulf of Mexico on a weekly basis for me, my husband, and the cats. Better wine with every dinner. Really good sherry. Oh, and cleaning staff to clean up my kitchen after every snack and every meal. That's the part I hate about cooking.

                                                                                        1. More of the following:
                                                                                          Recipes that call for using wine/booze.
                                                                                          Good cheese
                                                                                          Between meal snacks

                                                                                          and instead of just one meal a day, i'd probably have at least two.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                                            Two meals a day?? Let's not get carried away here.

                                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                              If money was no object, and I could have whatever I wanted prepared for me, one meal would do it!

                                                                                            2. Seafood for me,too, please. And yellow lake perch and walleye.
                                                                                              Plus (and this is something I have wanted so bad! ),I'd have my fill of the lovely pork, beef and lamb that our local small farmers raise and sell at the farmer's market all summer. Paying $6.99 a pound for the ground beef alone is above my weekly budget, but I've had the best meats ever from these families, when we've treated ourselves to a roast or some chops.

                                                                                              1. There are some small islands in the Broughton Archipelago. I'd buy one. The islands are loaded with Sitka deer the size of a large dog. In the waters surrounding the islands are rock cod (my all time favorite fish), halibut, ling cod, Dungeness crabs, salmon, prawns, oysters, clams, huge 'blue' mussels. I'd whole roast baby 'bambies' on the outdoor spit. The 'Countess' would raise Pekin ducks and pheasants and Guinea fowl. Yum! I'd fly in a dozen family/friends once in a while for a huge feast.
                                                                                                I'd live there six months a year and spend the rest of the year at my home near Victoria and have Dim Sum at Don Mees. Oh yeah, I'd get me one of those Maserati 'quatros' with the 'tubi package.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                  puffin, i appreciate the thought that you have obviously put into this. well done!

                                                                                                2. Less chicken salad, more Iberico ham.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                    La Tienda has it "on sale" now. ONLY $45 for 3 oz. When we were in Barcelona, we ate it maybe not every day but a lot. It's no big deal THERE.


                                                                                                  2. more seafood here too and more lamb.
                                                                                                    And more melons in the winter.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                      Lots of time is the luxury that I'd like to have. I'd spend less time working (1/2 time would be delightful) and more time cooking and baking. My every day cooking would be spectacular - not so much a change in ingredients, but lots of experimentation and delving into those beckoning cookbooks for inspiration. And lots more dinner parties.

                                                                                                    2. Like so many people have already said, more seafood and lots and lots of lamb that's not shanks (not that I don't love them, but...).

                                                                                                      Beef that doesn't need to be braised.

                                                                                                      Better cheese.

                                                                                                      Being able to shop for food without thinking about how much it costs sound pretty nice!

                                                                                                      1. Yup, that kitchen remodel would be Step 1, as would a good wine cellar and plenty of stuff to put in it. I don't think the menu would change that much, though - we eat pretty much what we like as it is. I'd get a lot more fancy varieties of beans, and switch to nothing but stone-ground whole-kernel corn grits for the polenta, but as the only carnivore in the house I think my own occasional meat or seafood meal would change only slightly, like getting my fish from the off-the-boat Dry Dock sellers instead of Ralphs, and meat from a real butcher.

                                                                                                        1. Jamon Iberico would be consumed atleast once a day and it would be flown in from Spain.

                                                                                                          1. Like many people, more quality fresh fish and seafood. I do eat fish at least a couple of times a week (not counting sardines) but often it is frozen and of dubious provenance. No more tilapia or basa! Not more cheese - just better. I love cheese, and we have excellent cheeses here in Québec, but cheese, while nutritious, is also high in fat and calories (I guess we could also opt to have calories and cholesterol not be an object either, eh?) Idem wines - no more cheap plonk.

                                                                                                            Most of the fish would be from local suppliers who bring in fresh fish from the Gaspé and Québec North Shore. (That isn't micro-local - closer tends to be too polluted).

                                                                                                            All poultry would be free range and organic.

                                                                                                            I don't eat a lot of red meat, but if I do, it would all be locally-reared bison, deer or sometimes lamb (once again, a fat and calorie consideration). While I'm not a vegetarian, I don't like eating too meat-heavy a diet (and this has nothing to do with money).

                                                                                                            Organic produce. I already buy organic fair-trade coffee and organic flour.

                                                                                                            I'd also have the gas line and gas stove put in, but it wouldn't be large. I like living in a smallish flat and having a modest footprint. Idem fridge. I'd get a very high-quality but small fridge - I live near a major public market and like shopping frequently, in small quantities, and on foot and bicycle. That has nothing to do with money.

                                                                                                            Though actually, if money really were no object, I'd move somewhere warmer, with a longer growing season, probably in the south of France or central Italy (countries where I speak the language fluently).

                                                                                                            1. If money was no object, it would be whatever our personal chef fixed. I am so tired of cooking after 47 years. And I'm tired of shopping too.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                                                Unlike you, I love cooking and food shopping - but I've never had children. No personal chef but definitely a cleaning person, whom I would pay well.

                                                                                                              2. First and foremost I'd probably buy or rent a storage facility and my own transport trucks. That way I'd be able to order the non-perishable items I love in the amounts that would allow me to do it directly from the manufacturers, store it myself, and not have to worry about ever running out.
                                                                                                                In a similar vein I might get title on a piece of farmland and hire a workers so that I could simply have whatever veggies I wanted grown specifically for me. (actually I'd probably need to get a whole LOT of little farms, scattered all over the place to cover a wide selection of climates and seasons.)
                                                                                                                Beyond that, hard to tell. I sort of like the Russ and Daughters speed dial idea (not for thier salmon, for thier smoked tuna). But I imagine that if I could eat it whenever I wanted, I'd get sick of the stuff pretty quickly.
                                                                                                                About the only thing I can think of directly food related I'd do with infinite money would be to eat a LOT more duck proscuttio. I love the stuff, but with it going for around $20 per 4oz packet around me, eating it in any quantity isn't economically feasible. It would be nice to be able to eat as much of the stuff as I wanted whenever I wanted

                                                                                                                1. I like to cook, so that wouldn't change too much - except I'd have a staff to clean up afterwards.

                                                                                                                  And of course I'd have my private jet and pilots on standby just in case I wanted to have some of that paella from that beach place in Nerja or some PEI oysters - consumed at the source, of course.

                                                                                                                  Well, maybe I'd have morels more often in place of button mushrooms.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                    Oh, yes, morels! Total food heaven. Besides their seasonality - or because of it - they're SO expensive. But sauteed in butter with s&p, they're a perfect food.

                                                                                                                  2. I'd have two kitchens, one in Vancouver, and the other in Barcelona. That would give access to great fresh and local food, year-round, in a climate that my DH would enjoy. More mushrooms... always a good thing. So many 'shrooms available in the late fall.

                                                                                                                    1. I think I've pretty much maxed out on my everyday food budget. Sure, truffles are nice, but every single Fing day? I'm not so sure.

                                                                                                                      I just had 4 seared U8 scallops, risotto made with organic carnaroli rice with basil pesto that I made in summer with organic basil, organic garlic, European pine nuts, good parm, and good olive oil, and some slow roasted organic cherry tomatoes on the side.

                                                                                                                      I would hire someone to do all the "difficult" work for me though, like
                                                                                                                      1. Picking meat from freshly steamed crabs
                                                                                                                      2. Peeling chestnuts
                                                                                                                      3. Tend my veggie garden
                                                                                                                      4. Making puff pastry dough

                                                                                                                      1. I love to cook too so I pretty much cook and eat what I want; but I’ve always dream of a kitchen that would include the following but not limit to:

                                                                                                                        Eight commercial grade gas burners with dual ovens and a griddle top; two commercial wok burners with built-in back water drainage; a BBQ Pork/Peking Duck Roaster; two microwave oven; and, the best built-in sub-zero refrigerator/freezer, commercial hood fan, storage pantry and wine storage along with energy efficient lighting and other efficiency options with a nice big house and a backyard to entertain my guests.