William Waldorf Astor hosted a dinner for fifty politicians and financiers at Delmonico’s in 1889 to discuss how to get the upcoming World’s Fair held in New York City. Although money was no object for the banquet—Astor was soon to be named the richest man in the world—chef Charles Ranhofer was unable to procure canvasback ducks, an expensive game dish often served at such elegant occasions of the Gilded Age. Nevertheless, Ranhofer prepared one of his finest banquets, adjusting the order of service to highlight the Pâté de Foie Gras, Bellevue, a special cold dish that he rarely made. The menus were crafted by Tiffany & Co., each an individual, hand-painted work of art, inscribed with the name of the diner. In the end, the US Congress awarded the Columbian Exposition to Chicago, but the power brokers of the two cities maintained good relationships after the competition.

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