Sep
8

The Weirdest NYCC Event I’ve Seen: “A Date With Marvel”

Posted by on Thursday, September 8th, 2011 at 07:37:32 PM

The 2011 New York City Comicon is fast approaching, as the near-daily press releases remind us. Buried underneath today’s announcement of some sort of kick-off concert was a strange event anouncement:

We’ve setup a nine course meal with wine pairing at wd~50, owned by Wylie Dufresne, a Michelin star winner and molecular gastronomy chef. If this award-winning restaurant doesn’t entice you enough, wait until you hear who you’ll be dining with… C.B. Cebulski, writer and talent scout extraordinaire hosts this once-in-a-lifetime dinner with Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, Joe Quesada and Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso. This is your chance to be wined and dined with some of the most important people in comics. It all takes place at 8:00 PM on Friday, October 15 and includes a nine course meal and wine pairing. It is open to only ten fans. The cost is $550, but the opportunity is priceless!

Wylie Dufrense aka Molecular Gastronomy Man

I’ve got no problem with outrageously expensive meals, haute cuisine, or molecular gastronomy. In fact, I’ve eaten at wd~50 before and paid for the nine course tasting menu. It costs $140, but is fantastic and a unique experience, which is more than I can say for many of the $15 hamburgers and $25 entrees I’ve had at allegedly more reasonable restaurants. I can (and have) made a perfectly good pork shoulder at home, but I’m never going to pull off a trippy deconstructed Eggs Benedict like wd~50 does. I heartily support the notion that people coming to New York for the Con plan around eating any of the crap available at the Javits or the surrounding wasteland and put the money saved towards splurging on a nicer-than-you-normally-go-for meal at any of the hundreds of fine restaurants around town. But even at the upper end of that spectrum like wd~50, the menu price for this nine course meal with wine pairing is $225. The price for this dinner is double that.

Where does the extra $225 go? Even if you consider this dinner could be in the private dining room in the wine cellar, that bumps the tasting menu up $15 to make the total base meal cost $240. Factor in the 22% service charge ($52.80) and the 8.625% sales tax ($20.70) and your cost is up to $313.50, still leaving $236.50 unaccounted for.

Is that extra money — nearly enough to pay for someone to accompany you to a non-NYCC-organized trip to wd~50 — really just going towards what amounts to an appearance fee for Cebulski, Alonso and Quesada? Are they profiting from this meal? Is Reed Exhibitors? My first impulse is to assume that proceeds are going to the Hero Initiative, CBLDF, or another worthy cause. But I didn’t see any indication of that in the press release, nor on the page promoting the event.

Full disclosure: if for some reason anyone cared enough to set up an event where I’d get to eat at a Michelin restaurant for free so long as I shared the table with some people who wanted to meet me, I would totally do it and not care about how much the other parties had to pay for their meal. Maybe that’s why the press release is titled “Wanna Go On A Date With Marvel?”, because the fans are buying Marvel the meal. That’s all well and good, and based on my extremely limited interaction with them I imagine that Cebulski, Alonso, and Quesada are all charming dining partners. I just hope no one expects them to put out on the first date.

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