Living To Eat

From My Taste Buds To Yours

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My Last Meal

Posted by Austios on April 12, 2010

“If you were to pass away tomorrow, what would you want for your last meal?”

That is a question we are beginning to hear more and more often. A great book titled “My Last Supper” authored by Melanie Dunea, asks master chefs the question with surprising and imaginative answers and actually in fact was the inspiration for this post.

Usually when we hear the term “last meal”, it refers to someone in death row being given their last meal prior to their execution. This practice actually dates back to pre-modern Europe, and was meant as a mutual understanding between the workers of the prison and the prisoner, that in death he would not haunt his executioner or anybody responsible for him being there, or vow vengeance against them. It was a superstitious precaution. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_meal)

As someone who has chosen to cook as a living, I have been asked an abundance of culinary related questions ranging from recipes and cooking tips to my favorite restaurants. But rarely (in fact, never) have I been asked “what would be your last meal?”

My last meal will start with a simple salad. Specifically, an arugula salad with fresh strawberries with candied walnuts and a light balsamic vinaigrette. The peppery arugula paired with the slight tartness of the berries, the sweetness and nuttiness of the candied walnuts and the acidity of the vinaigrette would be a wonderful marriage of flavors and textures.

Next course will be the appetizer. I absolutely fell in love with CUT’s maple glazed pork belly, cooked confit style for 3 days. Yes, I said 3 days. It was magical pork heaven. The sweetness of the maple was in euphoric harmony with the saltiness of the pork belly and it just melted in my mouth.

For an entrée, there are not many things better than the classic surf and turf. For the turf, a 16 oz. Japanese Wagyu ribeye will be my choice, well seasoned and cooked to a perfect rare-medium rare but with a nice crust. I had the privilege of having ONE bite of this well treated cow at CUT and I now see why Japanese Wagyu is a flavor and texture that should be left unadulterated by the addition of a sauce, but should I feel the need, I would have a side of truffle demi-glace. As for the surf, what can top lobster? A gently butter poached jumbo lobster tail with nothing but a couple of lemon wedges to be squeezed over, to be exact, would be bliss.

The perfect accompaniment to this wonderful pairing of proteins will be nothing but a mound of perfectly smooth, perfectly seasoned roasted garlic mashed potatoes, made with lots of cream and butter. Not many things say “heaven” like smooth and buttery potatoes. Actually, not many things say “heaven” like butter.

For dessert, there are lots of choices and while death by chocolate would be a magnificent idea, I am opting for bread pudding. But not your traditional bread pudding made with brioche and raisins, but it will be made with buttery and flaky croissants, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts. Baked to perfection: the inside remaining soft and delicate but the top being crunchy, served alongside vanilla bean ice cream and rich chocolate sauce, I could not think of a better way to end a meal.

A master sommelier will pair each course with a fantastic wine that not only compliments each dish, but tickles and intrigues the senses. My guests and I will continue our conversation into the late hours of the night. I cannot think of anything more satisfying than sharing a perfect meal and fantastic wine amongst wonderful company.

Speaking of companions, I would love to dine with Mario Batali and Jean Philippe Maury, currently the Executive Pastry Chef at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Chef Maury is a master with chocolate and as a pastry chef myself, he is one of the many chefs that I look up to. I would also want chefs such as Michael Voltaggio, Ludo Lefebvre, Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless, and Tyler Florence at the table as well. I expect that our conversation would revolve around topics such as the simple nuances of our meal as well as other topics and stories related to food.

Who would cook this meal? As I have many choices, at least one of them would be Bryan Voltaggio. His display of cooking proteins on the 6th season of Top Chef was virtually flawless.

I could not think of a better meal to be shared with such culinary masters, prepared by well-seasoned technicians.

Today, with international cuisines becoming ever more accessible and the raised interest in food as an art form, the term “last meal” has become a passionate topic of discussion.
So, again, I ask you, “If you were to pass away tomorrow, what would your last meal be?”

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4 Responses to “My Last Meal”

  1. I’d want my last meal to be something that my mommy made. 🙂

  2. I’m with Weezermonkey! It’d be something comforting my mom made like Arroz Caldo or her pork chops.

  3. that would have to be..pork belly, bone marrow, and some chicken skin. that should prepare me amply for my journey to the nether-world

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