No free lunch in credit crunch: $1 million Bangkok meal

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - Credit crisis, what crisis? The only crunch on a planned evening at a Bangkok hotel next year will be the sound of guests biting on a $1 million meal prepared by film stars.

The Lebua hotel, which raised the ire of many in Thailand’s capital when it charged 1 million baht ($28,580) for a dinner last year, is coming back for seconds -- but charging almost 40 times more.

The hotel’s chief executive, Deepak Ohri, said it was worth the risk, because the proceeds will be donated to charity. He believes the event will go some way to lifting the gloom over the global economic crisis.

“What’s happening to the world economy is emotional,” Ohri told Reuters in an interview in Hong Kong. “This can help boost confidence that there is money.”

Ohri has lined up two Hollywood stars and one from Bollywood, the Indian film industry, to work with chefs to serve dinner for 10 guests at the hotel’s Mezzaluna restaurant.

He declined to reveal the names of the three male actors, describing them only as “well known cooks in their social lives.”

Six people have already accepted an invitation to dine, including a private equity executive, an oil baron and a well known business man, he added.

“Some people will find $1 million too much for a meal, but sometimes a piece of art goes for $40 million,” Ohri said.

“It’s about the company you’re eating with, who’s cooking. For these kinds of experience you pay a price, and you’re satisfied because the money goes to good causes.”

$1=34.99 Baht