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My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 16, 2007
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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."
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And then, we see the answer to that existential question by 50 chefs.
Anthony Bourdain says that his final dish would be: "Roast bone marrow with parsley and caper salad, with a few toasted slices of baguette and some good sea salt." So far, so good. We see his recipe for the marrow at the end of the book, and it's a bit different!
What about Mario Batali? He'd like his last meal on the Amalfi Coast, with his family and friends such as Emeril Lagasse. The meal itself? Eight to ten courses! Beginning with marinated anchovies, to a Neapolitan version of a grilled cheese sandwich, to . . . And on it goes. He gives us a recipe for one item, Shrimp in Crazy Water--but not the rest. Would have been fun to get the whole picture.
Then, Alain Ducasse. He would begin with a coponata (a Sicilian specialty), then roasted quail in Madiran wine sauce, then smooth celeriac puree with nutmeg, and a finish with apple slices. Again, boy, I'd like to see all of the recipes, although his Melt-in-Your-Mouth Apple Slices, which is included in the volume, looks pretty good.
And on it goes. It's kind of fun to see what these fine chefs would have as their last meal, whom they would like to done with, whom they would like to cook the meal, where they would like the meal to take place. I find this work enchanting. But, again, I'd sure like to see all of the recipes for those final meals, rather than the small selection. Without that, this seems just a bit incomplete. Still and all, this is a neat volume.
And the recipes...oh yeah...I don't cook very well, but the recipes made me want to learn a little.
The book itself is a fascinating journey into the minds of today's culinary leaders. It makes an exellent gift for a chef or anyone with a special interest in the gourmet food & beverage industry. There is a second volume of 50 additional chef profiles available by the same author.