The heightened awareness of food these days has brought upon a set of greater expectations about what a culinary experience should be. AsĀ The Wall Street Journal outlines, many gourmands are now more interested in cooking classes than simply buying fancy kitchen gadgets or going to a nice meal. “Authenticity has replaced luxury as a culinary watchword, a new crop of companies has sprung up to indulge this heightened craving for epicurean adventure.” Here are a few examples:

  • Personal cooking time with top chefs. One online company, IfOnly, sells special packages like Tyler Florence designing your kitchen and then showing up to cook a dinner party ($45,000). The proceeds go to a charity of the chef’s choice. Kitchit is another website where one can arrange for special at-home meal cooked by one of 200+ chefs at about $65-150 per person.
  • Restaurant VIP. Blackboard Eats and Gilt City are two sites offering special experiences in select cities, like concerts paired with meals (Blackboard Eats) or cocktail parties combined with a lesson in mixology (Gilt City).
  • Culinary tourism. SideTour, Jetsetter, Vayable, Little Adventures in Hong Kong, and Epicurean Ways are all companies that help travelers explore a city or region by way of food. On Paris by Mouth, “French-food journalism stars Patricia Wells and Dorie Greenspan weigh in on the site’s lists of where to find the best grub in the city.”

[via The Wall Street Journal]