Taste great

Someone once said the rich are different. They have libraries named after them. They wear clothes that cost more than most people's cars, and jewelry that could be exchanged for a condo. They have huge oil paintings of dead relatives hanging in their family estates -- which have names like "Manderley" and "Three Pines." They have class. They have style. But the biggest difference between them and us, at least as we would like to believe, is that they have cash. In that respect, they are certainly different.

Someone else once said that Robin Leach, the host of the 1983-1997 TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, is different. That we cannot deny. He has something, a certain je ne sais quoi, most of us will never have, no matter how much money, fame, or loud items of clothing we obtain. Through his TV program, Leach came to be identified with wealth. Not reserved, old-money, respectable wealth, but big, new, extravagant, spend-it-while-you-got-it wealth. Taste, however, was not the show's drawing point.

That Robin Leach has been selected to host the Tour of Taste, an annual KERA fund-raising shindig, is therefore odd. Tour of Ostentation or Gaudiness or Quote-Unquote Taste, maybe. Tour of Tackiness, possibly. But tour of taste?

But maybe that's just a semantic quibble. Fact is, Leach does know how to spend money. If you came into an enormous amount of money overnight, what would you do with it? Buy a fast car, sure; a big house, of course, with some chichi antiques and expensive rugs and stuff to fancy it up (rule of thumb: you can never have too much gilt). But if we had unbounded fortune, we would a.) quit our job, at least for a while, and b.) travel.

It's this luxury that the Tour of Taste has as its focus. And not just run-of-the-mill travel, but exotic travel, to the kinds of places visited only by the very rich or the poor and brave: Bali, the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, Anguilla, Thailand. Trips to these destinations and others will be auctioned off at the event, which will also feature food prepared by some of Dallas' premier restaurants, along with a wine tasting. One of the evening's biggest draws is the raffle of a Jaguar, for which tickets are $100 (note that you need significant disposable income to have a chance at winning a fancy car; head to the mall for your free chance to win a Beretta).

Even if you can't afford to buy raffle tickets or one of the trips, you, too, can be part of the Tour of Taste, as it's just $45 to get in. At that price, though, don't expect to rub elbows with the rich.

Larra Ann Keel