This Is the End: 9 Chefs on Their Last Suppers

What would you want to eat for your last meal? The sky’s the limit; anything you want. Don’t get bogged down in the finality of the situation. Instead, think about the dishes and drinks that have given you the most pleasure in your life. This might be the first time you’re considering this question, but many chefs think about it constantly. After all, their lives are focused on and consumed by food, so they have some pretty strong feelings on the subject. We asked nine of them what they would want to enjoy for their last suppers before joining James Beard and Escoffier in the great big kitchen in the sky.

Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
“I imagine my last supper with my husband, family, and closest friends. I’d start with tuna nigiri with ginger and soy sauce. Followed by a bowl of buckwheat chitarra with anchovies and chickpeas, which I’d make myself. I’d move on to chestnut trofie with financière sauce featuring sweetbreads, veal, and chicken livers by Roberto Donna of Al Dente in Washington, D.C. From there, I’d want pad si-ew with duck and Chinese broccoli at Duangrat’s Thai in Fall’s Church, Virginia. Next up? Pat LaFrieda’s ribeye with turnip greens cooked with garlic, hot pepper, and anchovies, plus Robuchon potatoes from Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C. To finish, I’d have one of my favorite desserts: coffee gelato with whipped cream, salted peanuts, and Kahlua.” Make a reservation at Centrolina.

Last Suppers

Juan Manuel Barrientos, El Cielo, Miami, Florida
“I’d want traditional Colombian cuisine – fried rice, plantains, chorizo, chicharrón, avocados, arepas with hogao sauce (made with tomato and onion), and aguardiente (an anise flavored liqueur). Dessert would be sweet figs cooked tender in sweet water served with queso blanco, along with coffee and guarapo (cane sugar juice). Everything would be served family style and, of course, my family would be there. Family is the most important thing for me, and they bring balance to my life.” Make a reservation at El Cielo.

Last Suppers

Trae Basore, Pearl & Ash, New York, New York
“I would start off with a plate of fried pickles from Penguin Ed’s Bar-B-Q in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a tall New Belgium Fat Tire. For dinner, I’d just have charcuterie – mortadella, chicken liver paté – and a cheese plate with three year-aged Parmesan, a stinky Époisses, and a really nice Gorgonzola. That would come with a big crusty French loaf, Dijon mustard, and pickles. A pint of strawberry Häagen-Dazs to finish. I’d like to enjoy it with my fiancée and all of my friends and some bluegrass music from Old Crow Medicine Show.” Make a reservation for Pearl & Ash.

Last Suppers

Ed Scarpone, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Washington, D.C.
“I’d want to cook my own burger because no one really knows how you like your burger. I go for medium rare with a nice redness in the middle. It’s simple. Just nice ground meat, a thick slice of onion, mayo, and aged cheddar cheese on a Martin’s hamburger roll. I’d have it with really good fries – cut bigger, skin on, and double fried, so you get that nice crispy outside and that mashed potato inside. Mayo on the side for dipping, because I despise ketchup. PBR to drink. I love pecan pie, but I’ve been allergic to pecans since I was 14-years-old. But if I’m going to kick it, I’d go for it and have grandma-style pecan pie with graham cracker crust for dessert.” Make a reservation at DBGB Kitchen and Bar.

Last Suppers

Jennifer Carroll, Requin, Fairfax, Virginia
“My last supper would be an all-day affair on a beach on St. John with my fiancée, Billy, my family, and best friends. It would start with breakfast – a Taylor’s pork roll, egg, cheese, and scrapple on a buttered English muffin. This is what I grew up eating, and my dad still makes it for me when I go home. I know – super healthy. I’d be drinking rosé all day – morning, noon, and night. I’d move on to eating mango, pineapple, and papayas. For dinner, there would be simply grilled fish – red snapper or black bass – with lemon, oil, and herbs. And I’d need sides – my mom’s mac ‘n’ cheese with ham, roasted turnips, and pickled beets. For dessert, there would be angel food cake – because I love the simplicity of it – every ice cream in the world, Sour Patch Kids, peanut M&Ms, and chocolate-covered pretzels, along with Fernet and aged dark rum to drink.” Make a reservation at Requin.

Last SuppersContinue Reading

Chef Ed Cotton Picks Winner of the Top Chef Finale, Reveals His Last Supper

"I'll make you a deal: If you stop calling me 'Spaetzle Lakshmi,' I'll stop calling you Wolfie."

As we whittle down the cheftestants’ list to just two, Ed Cotton, Executive Chef at Manhattan’s Plein Sud, returns to serve up unique insights on his friends and former co-competitors.

Wolfgang Puck: What does he mean to you? His food? His approach? Have you dined at any of his restos?

It’s great to see Wolfgang Puck! When I was younger, I remember hearing about this chef who cooks for all of these movie stars in L.A and has a popular restaurant named Spago. I would read about his food and his restaurant all the time. I loved his take on pizza in the 90’s. I guess you could say he was the first celebrity chef. I have only been to one of his restaurants, but I loved his take on food and his approach to it. He’s clever and smart!

Continue Reading

Top Chef D.C. Episode 6: (War) Games People Play

Does Gale's refusal to wear red, white, or a blue make her a pinko? The State Department will investigate.
Does Gale's refusal to wear red, white, or a blue make her a pinko? The State Department will investigate.

I watched “Top Chef “up in Anchorage, Alaska, this week, and I realized midway through that, on account of the time difference, I could have gone online to find out who went home without watching. You probably already know that one of my faves, Tamesha, got her walking papers. But, wait, how did it come to this? Judging from what transpired, it was a mix of a bad dish and a bad alliance with the devilish (and devilishly good looking) Angelo.

The QFC…

Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s returns as a guest judge, much to the chagrin of fellow Miamian Andrea (who repeatedly winks at Michelle, making it look like she has a tic), and the ep kicks off with a ridiculous challenge (in the grand tradition of ridiculous QFC challenges). Seriously, is anyone else waiting for a nude challenge? Probably not. Blech. Sorry, I even typed that. Okay, how about a blindfolded cooking challenge? It’s coming. You heard it here first. Anyway, the cheftestants have to cook a winning dish with exotic proteins, including crocodile, rattlesnake, yak, duck testicles (!), and emu eggs, among others. It’s not terribly crazy (excepting Amanda having to open her emu eggs with a hack saw) until about 10 minutes into prep when the chefs are forced to switch places with the person to their left. A lot of folks get hosed by this last-minute prep shift, but some also score as they are able to abandon an undesirable ingredient for an easier one.Continue Reading