Thursday, April 17, 2014

If only ... you could afford these super-cool offers (and a question at the end)

The James Beard Foundation has a new thing: It's partnered with IfOnly, a remarkable operation that offers experiences you never thought you could get (hence "IfOnly") -- if you have the money to purchase them, that is -- and your purchases benefit charities or causes.

Some are clearly awesome: Superstar chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in New York teaches a butchery class and prepares dinner for 12 (OK, it's $5,000, but still) and a chef jacket signed by Michael Chiarello of Bottega in Napa, and the chance to get noted drink master David Wondrich's help in creating your own bespoke cocktail for $1,000.

(There's also the opportunity to have a famous chef follow you on Twitter -- for $65. "Experience the ultimate social media nod and connect with a culinary star" when a Cleveland chef (no, it's not Rocco Whalen) actually follows you (as long as you're not a business or offensive). Still, that's potentially more fruitful than personalized, emailed cooking tips from chef Michael Chiarello -- which are $750. A piece.)


Check it all out at

A quick look at the other categories at IfOnly:

Also under the Lifestyle section (where the chefs are): Go with a friend to Haiti for two days with star photographer Russell James for $25,000 (plus $12,000 if you want to fly to the UNESCO World Heritage-protected Citadelle Laferriere and be the subject of a photo shoot). If you only have $10,000, you can fly to NYC instead and watch James shoot models, and get shot, too. These benefit the Nomad Two Worlds Foundation, which supports and promotes artists from indigenous and marginalized communities.

In Sports, you can hang out with NFL stars Marshawn Lynch and Josh Johnson at a reception in Vegas for $48,000 (benefitting the Family First Foundation).

In Music, you can bid (minimum start is $2,000) on a private piano and vocal lesson with A Great Big World (who did "Say Something" with Christina Aguilera).

And in the Bollywood section, $750 gets you lunch with Bhangra star Malkit Singh, which I would totally pay if I happened to live in India, since I find Bhangra the best music in the world to cook to.

What do you cook to?