In the restaurant world, even the most famous chefs have to be concerned with what's next: the next meal, the next dish, the next customer. But what if they took a step back to think about what's last — for themselves?
In My Last Supper: The Next Course, photographer Melanie Dunea captures 50 renowned chefs and their answers to the question: What would be your last meal on earth? Paul Liebrandt said his hypothetical last meal "changes from minute to minute. Today I fancy this, tomorrow that."
"I would want my mother's gravy," Tom Colicchio said. "Sunday gravy."
"I can't imagine fantasizing about my last supper," Marco Pierre White said. "Food is irrelevant at that stage of life."
Bobby Flay's last meal "would definitely be a cheeseburger."
Daniel Humm said his last supper "would be family style. Simple food, really delicious. ... The Rolling Stones would play."
Masaharu Morimoto's last meal "would consist of white rice, miso soup, tuna sashimi and pickles." When asked who would cook this meal, he responded, "Myself."
"I really wouldn't want to know what my last meal was, because I certainly wouldn't enjoy it," Rachael Ray said.
David Chang responded: "The problem is that I don't want just one last supper. I want it all – literally everything."
Bill Telepan's last meal would include "slow roasted pork cooked over a grill or a pit" and "someone in the back churning some vanilla ice cream."
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That's the question photographer Melanie Dunea posed to a group of chefs in her 2007 book, My Last Supper. What would some of the world's great chefs want for their final meal on earth?
Although the answers were surprising and sometimes humorous, she didn't get in everyone she wanted. So this year, she has a new collection: My Last Supper: The Next Course.
"Yes, there was a lot of foie gras, a lot of caviar," Dunea says, "and there was a lot of fried chicken, too! I tried to match their answers with a photograph, so in one case, I might have gone to a restaurant ... I photographed a chef making illegal moonshine ... I sort of went all over the world and tried to show who the chef really is, both in his words and visually."
"There was a great juxtaposition between comfort and memory — and then just, 'Yummy, let me stuff my face with glorious things.'"
The chefs' responses run the gamut. David Chang just wants a Bud Light. Tom Colicchio would want his mother's gravy. Bill Telepan of New York City's Telepan Restaurant envisions a picturesque white house on a farm, big sky, blueberries and a slow-cooked, cumin-rubbed, citrus-y pig, and his father making ice cream.
"We all like to cook with our techniques and our different styles that we have," Telepan says,"but in the end the ingredient is so important and I think that showed in this book."
Have you given it any thought? What would your last meal be?