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My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 16, 2007

65 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 16, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Dunea, an award-winning photographer, wrote to 50 famous chefs and asked them to describe their ideal last meal. Their answers, compiled in this weirdly absorbing and gorgeously designed volume, range from the comforting (Lidia Bastianich bids adieu over a plate of linguini and clams) to the cheekily self-aggrandizing (Laurent Tourondel wants nothing more than a BLT sandwich from his own restaurant). The meals are curiosities, and the few recipes included are pleasant enough; it's the photographs of each chef that make this book so irresistible. One needn't have heard of them, much less dined in their restaurants, to appreciate their portraits: from a graceful Gabrielle Hamilton nursing her son to a dashing Guillaume Brahimi reclining in front of the Sydney Opera House, each image is iconic, surprising, and quite often, oddly appetizing. Marcus Samuelsson poses, impishly, in a Japanese-style headband made of salmon; Wylie Dufresne leans like a centerfold on a table stacked with American cheese; and Anthony Bourdain poses totally nude, strategically wielding a butchered leg bone. But perhaps no picture is more memorable than Dan Barber's, a soft-featured New York chef, posing alongside a massive boar named Boris. His last meal is rack of boar, of course: "If I'm going, so is Boris."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"The format suggests coffee-table book, but this sumptuous feast of portraits, interviews and recipes is more like a banquet-table book"-Kirkus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596912871
  • ASIN: B001P3OMGY
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 9.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,145,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By DC Foodie on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first time I've felt compelled to review anything on Amazon but I'm a total foodie and I enjoyed browsing through this book so much. The photos are amazing. Each one is staged so differently and has a completely different feel. It really gives you a view into the chef's personality that I haven't seen elsewhere. In fact, some of these chefs I had only read about but had never seen a photo of, like Lydia Shire or Ferran Adria. Melanie Dunea really knows how to entertain with her photographs. I could look at them for hours. What the chefs say about their last meals is also really interesting to read. It also made me hungry. I highly recommend this book for foodies and anyone interested in the chef culture, or anyone else. It's highly entertaining and would make a great gift (I bought an extra for my friend who is also a foodie).
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By flatteryourself on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In my opinion, to appreciate this book you should be very familiar with these chefs already. I bought this as a gift for someone after seeing all the stellar reviews, but after receiving it I decided that it was not going to do in that regard. The book fails in several important aspects.

All the portraits of the chefs are shot in settings completely unrelated to the subject matter of the book. The photography is well done, but I do not know who some of these chefs are and seeing them does not excite me in any way. I want to see food! I want to SEE what they envision as their last meal on earth -- the setting, the people, the food. I do not care to see Ferran Adria with his two dogs or Lydia Shire holding up a lobster or Gabrielle Hamilton breast-feeding her baby. This does nothing for me irrespective of how well the image itself is executed. If this was an Annie Leibovitz book I'd be all for it! But it's not. I want to "be there" for their last meal, but instead i just get to read little blurbs about what this last meal is and see an image of a person that is hardly relevant to why I bought this book.

Maybe it is my fault for not knowing who all these people are. That is fine. But the book could have given me some idea of why these people are didn't. Just the name and the face (or the naked body in the case of Bourdain). Would have been nice to include a short description of why i should even care about what Lydia Shire wants.

Some of the reviews praised the overall layout -- the typography, the photography, etc. It is not bad. But it is not enough to elevate this book. The substance of this book should not lie in unique (albeit italic) font and plentiful negative space. I would have loved to love this book. The idea is so clever. But the execution leaves much to be desired and is too boring for my taste.
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55 of 71 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
`My Last Supper' by photographer, Melanie Dunea is a culinary tabletop book for browsing while waiting for the host of the evening to bring out the coffee and brandy / sherry / cordials. It is graced by an introduction by the culinary journalist ombudsman, Anthony Bourdain, who adds some cachet to the book's premise by stating that the `game' of relating one's preferred last meal is a common recreation in the kitchens and after hours back rooms of restaurants around the world for decades, if not centuries.
It is important to note that the principal author's primary vocation is photography, because the photographs of the forty-nine chefs / culinary professionals who participated in this project are by far the most interesting offering in this volume. Each pic is decorated by the chefs' answers to the same five questions. These are `What would be your last meal on earth?', `What would be the setting for the meals?', `What would you drink with your meal?', `Who would be your dining companions?', and `Who would prepare the meals?'. The answer to the second question contributes much to the setting for the chef's photograph, although I suspect that the chefs themselves had much to say regarding their pose and backdrop. I am quite impressed by the fact that the photographer and her team have been able to corral 32 people out of the 49 whom I recognize by both name and visage. In fact, I have reviewed books written by over 25 (over half) of the principals. The selection is so good, it's interesting to note the very few famous chefs who are not captured, such as Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Alice Waters. On the other hand, we do get such luminaries as Ferran Adria, Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Nobu, Rick Bayless, and Thomas Keller.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By TBird on November 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I LOVE this book! Though at first glance, one might think, coffee table book, but Melanie Dunea's "My Last Supper" is so much more than that! Not only are the pictures amazing, the chefs responses are fascinating. I really love how the photos reflect each chefs last supper. As an added bonus, you get recipes too! "My Last Supper" is a beautiful book with substance and sustenance (though not provided, that's up to you)! All I wanted to do after reading this book was to eat, drink, and be merry!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lachina on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What a great idea! It's a treat in itself to flip through the pages of beautiful pictures. It's so interesting to read what these famous chefs would actually want to eat for their last supper. And an added treat...some of the chefs describe not only what they would eat, but the scene of their last and company included! This book is the perfect x-mas gift for all of your foodie friends.
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