Look up the recipe. Then all the component recipes, including the stocks and garnishes. Not every ingredient can be purchased in the quantity you need to use, and not every specialty ingredient is something in your pantry. Prime veal and fresh lobsters 800 miles from the coast aren't cheap. For each ingredient, look at the price of the best quality choice, not whatever is on sale at Walmart. I didn't make substitutions, and I didn't cut any corners. Professional kitchens would obviously have many of the component items on hand and use them across multiple dishes. So I had leftovers from when I made many of the parts, as well as excess ingredients that keep. That's OK, veal stock freezes well. I also wound up with maybe 8 portions for a dinner for 4, so we enjoyed it for a few extra days. Used up the fresh ingredients before they went off. It adds up.
Ayup. And the thing is, the more you cook at home, the less you end up having to spend when you decide to make fancy things. I can cook most of Ad Hoc at Home without making a trip to the grocery store. A big part of this, I think, is because most haute cuisine is based on variations from Escoffier, and the French school of cooking in general. Gordon, living in the US, where cooking has for too long been delegated to machines dumping glop into microwave-safe buckets, is having to pay more for his ingredients because of lack of demand. I bet creme fraiche costs $5 or more for a tiny tub, because your average American consumer will look at it and go, ugh, wtf, no thanks, give me my frozen pizzas pls - while the people that need it will pay whatever price necessary. Here, it's $0.50 for basically the same thing. Because of demand. I'm not saying people here aren't buying the same frozen crap as in the US, but here at least there's been, historically, a demand for the sorts of ingredients you would typically find in nicer restaurants' recipes.
Hell, veal stock I can buy in frozen cubes for $1.50. Not the same as rendering it yourself, but a hell of a lot quicker ;-)
Gordon, have you looked at Under Pressure? If you're in to crazy cooking, you'd like it, although it requires random chemicals, a vacuum sealer and a water oven. But of course, if you have an electric mash kettle, you don't need the water oven.