What's better than an exquisite dinner at a ritzy restaurant owned and operated by one of the world's most famous chefs? According to Joyce Wils, director of meetings for Glenview, Ill.-based Combined Insurance Co. of America, it could only be topped by a personal audience with that chef.

During the company's annual incentive trip to Santa Monica, 25 producers spent an evening at Spago, the famed Los Angeles restaurant owned by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck (www.wolfgangpuck.com). Wils made sure each of the attendees received a copy of Puck's most recent cookbook before the group settled in to enjoy dinner.

Then, just as the appetizer was being served, out came Wolfgang Puck.

“He came around, shook everyone's hand, signed their cookbooks, and spent a good deal of time talking with us,” says Wils. She had asked if Chef Puck could stop by and say hello to the group, but was not given a guarantee because of his busy travel schedule. “I think the experience shows that celebrities may well take the time to meet your group — the thing is, you have to ask,” she says.