Bookworm: My Last Supper

This Christmas, one of my dear friends gave me an absolutely wonderful and delightful book, My Last Supper. In the book, (the photographer and creator) Melanie Dunea asks famous chefs what their last meals would be. No, it’s not macabre (for the record, I love using that word!). Rather, it’s quite inspiring and amazingly beautiful. Apparently, chefs have been playing this “Last Supper” game for ages, but (until now) it has always been an insider’s game.

Below are some of my favorite selections:

Daniel Boulud
His meal would depend on whatever Alain Ducasse cooks for him, but could possibly include a soup, a foie gras terrine (duck or goose liver cooked in earthenware), lobster, pheasant, partridge, a cheese course; and to finish, at least two dessert courses, followed by chocolates and petits fours.

Elena and Juan Mari Arzak
For Elena, her main course would be a fresh, locally caught whole merluza (hake) fish,  followed by grilled txipirones (summer squid) with poached onion marmalade. Afterward, she’d cook potatoes with some truffles. Yes, some chef’s would prefer to cook their own last meal.

For Juan, the perfect final meal would have as many tastes as possible and would feature many different dishes, including flower of egg and tartufo in goose fat with chorizo and dates. Then he would have hake with a green salsa and clams, as well as one of the forbidden birds, a becada (a type of woodcock) or ortolan (a small finch-like bird). He would end with the fromage blanc from Restaurant Arzak.

Gary Danko
His last meal would be a staged and sultry feast showcasing the finest food the world had to offer including eight or ten courses of magnificent seafood, pasta, and vegetables. He would like to eat at a beachside trattoria on the Amalfi Coast with REM playing live with U2.

On a side note, Gary Danko was my restaurant of choice when I was receiving my radiation treatment in San Franciso. I would sit at the bar and visit with the bartenders who knew me and cared for me ever so gingerly. The image above is Mr. Danko’s vision for his last feast. His restaurant is actually beautiful and elegant. I have a very special place in my heart for Gary Danko.

His last meal would be sushi, in this order: whitefish, tuna, shad, red clam, sea urchin, sea eel. He would finish the meal with a cucumber roll.

What’s extra fun about this book is that there is more to the story (as Paul Harvey used to say). Each chef describes the setting, accompanying drinks, music and dining companions. My Last Supper is perfect for people (like me!) who love cookbooks but who are not, ahem, stellar in the kitchen. I have been drooling over this book since it arrived.

Oh and an added Silver Lining is that one recipe from each landmark meal is included in the back of the book. Yet another Silver Lining is that every Tuesday at Noon EST on the website we can see a new video or photograph where chefs & celebrities reveal their food fantasies.

I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I am!  It’s an absolute delight!  Thank you SS for this beautiful gift!


  1. says

    Thanks for your comment, Carolee. There are some wonderfully simple "last meals" as well. One in particular is bread, butter and wine. That sounds good to me. Your idea also sounds pretty amazing! 🙂
    It just occurred to me: Why wait until our "last meal" to have it? Also just sayin'….

  2. says

    The last meals for these chefs sound pretty "macabre" to me. Perhaps they are off-putting due to my unsophisticated palate. I think I would prefer surf and turf, (steak and lobster), with grilled asparagus and sweet red peppers, served picnic style ocean side. Just sayin'.