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February 06, 2008


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Frances Davey

That sounds wonderful Michael! And it's nice that you put in a good word for your fellow chefs. I think Bobby Flay takes a bit of an unfair drubbing in some circles.

My last meal. I hope it would involve crispy skin and something creamy for dessert. I would be happy to leave the rest of it up to the chef!


Hi Chef Symon,

I was just at Lola two weekends ago and tried your braised beef cheek pierogies. Dear Lord those were good. No, not good.... they were insane. My mission is now to make them myself as I recently learned to make pierogies (I made a mushroom-potato-speck version with carmelized onions and posted them on my blog a little while ago). I sure wouldn't cry if you wanted to share your recipe with me! (wishful thinking I know)

Now to attempt to answer your question. You DO know that this is almost an impossible question to answer, right? I mean, when cooking gets to the level that you, Bobby Flay, etc. take it, it's really hard to say who is "the best". There really isn't a "best" at that level, just a "type of food your in the mood for that day that will be prepared as if it came from heaven". It's like comparing Eddie Van Halen to John Petrucci to Joe Satriani to Steve Vai. Come on now... it just can't be done.

So, I would have to pick THREE chefs as the chefs I would want to prepare my last meal. I would pick you, Bobby Flay, and Rick Bayless. I'm in LOVE with the southwestern style of cooking. It's becoming my style more and more, actually. I also love your use of heat in many of your dishes, namingly your Berkshire Pork Chop dish on top of which you seemed to use thin slices of serrano pepper - YUM! And that polenta! Your food has that comfort food aspect, but dressed up to the 9's. Bobby and Rick (look, I'm on a first named basis with them in my head) take the flavors of the southwest and heighten them to their peak. They satisfy every spicy food craving I've ever had and I can't get enough of their food. One of my dreams is to have Bobby Flay teach me to make tamales. One can dream!

I've been to all three of your restaurants (Lola, Mesa Grill, and Frontera Grill) and have fallen in love at each one. I learn so much each time I eat at any one of them and plan to return time and time again.

P.S. Win will your "Live to Cook" t-shirts be available? I'll be first in line for one!

JoP in Omaha

I would pick Thomas Keller to create my last meal. I haven't tasted his food yet, but one day I must. I just must do that.

Paul DeLuca

I'm presuming I can pick anyone, living or dead, so my chef pick would be Escoffier. As influential as he was on the craft of cooking and the culinary arts in general, it would be an honor to eat his food.

As much as I would want to experience something new, it would be hard to pass up the taste memory and the love and comfort that my mom's cooking would bring. It is, after all, my last meal, right? I think I'd want to go out feeling warm and fuzzy.

Frances Davey

Oops. If we're going to pick a chef, I have to pick you Michael.

It is mere coincidence that I'm making that choice on your blog.


alice waters...need i say more...?


Well I would want at least three chefs working on my last meal. They would be Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay, and either you or Anthony Bourdain!



Great question. I must say that Ruhlman's writing in Soul of a Chef makes me want to sit down to a meal prepared by you, Brian Polcyn and Thomas Keller. Perhaps that could be breakfast, lunch and dinner? Heaven on earth...


Scott, I'd rather eat WITH Bourdain than have him cook for me. :)



How hungry am I before the ax falls?

Am I glad to be going after a long life or am I desperately waiting for a call from the governor?

For me, these questions are an important factor in whom I would choose.

Not too hungry and looking for an experience? Jose Andres or Ferran Adria.

Starved, scared and needing amazingly delectable comfort? No doubt that would be you, Sir.

Since (on average) my daily life most closely resembles the latter option, I'm thinking you ought to move in!


Oooooh..toughie. My last meal must be prepared by my favorite chefs of all time. Cat Cora is my hero. She would have to cook something. I'd eat anything she cooked! Mario Batali - his linguine with crab, radicchio and garlic is killer (we use salmon instead, my mom's allergic to shellfish) and the only thing I've seen him cook that looks relatively gross was the shrimp parfait he made in the Iron Chef battle against Traci Des Jardins. Ooh, speaking of which...Traci would need to make a course too. I love her culinary philosophy....ooh and I love Jill Davie's too (too bad her Freezo Fritto didn't fare so well...). I watch her show on Fine Living almost every day. David Myers maybe to make a course? I'd love to try some of Chris Cosentino's food. Also, you would have to cook something, chef Symon!! I suppose Bobby Flay would have to, as well. My mom's in love with southwestern food. I on the other hand can't take a lot of spice, but I'd still be willing to try his stuff. I'll get back if I can think of anybody else................ :-)

Catherine, 13


whoever made my dinner it would have to be seasonal, organic & fresh. i'd want to help prepare it though..is that cheating???

Catherine, 13


I think I'd rather eat with Bourdain than have him cook for me too! LOL

For my last meal I might go with Morimoto. I would just love to have him prepare for me the most amazing sushi ever. Yum.

Heidi R

What an honor to have been chosen to participate in such a worthy event.

I have been a huge fan of JW since his Jams days. Over the holidays, I treated myself to a copy of his new cook book, A Great American Chef.

The last meal question is a toughie...

On a personal level, sadly, all of my favorites are loved ones passed. First, I would have my mother who instilled the pleasures and virtues of fine fresh whole foods into my palate and psyche at a very early age, and she would set the most beautiful table in her own unfussy, uncluttered, simple and organic style. I would give anything to enjoy her simply done steamed artichoke with the most perfectly nuanced mustard vinaigrette - I still can't nail it.

My maternal grandmother (Nana), would cook and bake from scratch from her hearty repertoire of eastern European specialties; some roasted meat or poultry served with homemade buttered noodles with large curd cottage cheese and sour cream. Perhaps she would include the flaky strudel that I remember her stretching across her vast dining room table.

And Ida, a Hungarian woman who had worked for my grandmother for many years. I would occasionally come home from school to the charms of her expertly prepared snack of gribenes; crispy, chewy and salty morsels of slowly rendered chicken skin and onions (last dinner, yes?!). A fine snack with pre-dinner drinks, I think.

On a professional level, though I've never eaten creations from their kitchen, I would choose Chefs Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray of London's River Cafe to cook for me. The restaurant has spawned offspring like Chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig, who is one of my most adored. Also, their collection of cookbooks provide me with endless culinary inspiration on a daily basis.


Gee! I don't know, but it would have to be someone Vietnamese with a BBQ Grill!



Thomas Keller for his salmon coronets, Mike Symon for a pork belly appitizer, Chef at the Four Seasons in NYC for Crispy Long island duck, Todd English's Vanilla Souffle, and Daniel's lemon Madeleines and petit fours.

cory barrett

Grandma would cook.

warm Dandelion greens with cream bacon dressing
Tomatos with Salt
Pork Butt
Head Cheese and mustard sandwich
Onion and limburger with crackers
Elderberry Pie

and getting drunk with my grandpa (RIP).

God Bless the people who tought me to eat.


my mom was a terrible cook! everything was over done, under done or just plain yucky. BUT i've never seen anyone cook with as much love as she did, so my mother would be my choice. maybe you could just kind of peek over her shoulder and give a few pointers, though?


my mom was a terrible cook! everything was over done, under done or just plain yucky. BUT i've never seen anyone cook with as much love as she did, so my mother would be my choice. maybe you could just kind of peek over her shoulder and give a few pointers, though?


Hm, going to have to go with Eric Ripert on this one, I think. Maybe Waxman, too.


Hartmut Handke from Columbus.
Every meal I've ever had there is a clinique in culinary technique and artistry.


How about your first meal after you leave Earth.

I can see the big restaurant in the sky with crystal tables. Julia Child steps out of her cosmic kitchen and she is wearing pure chef whites.

I ask her: "What is the specialty of the house?"

She says: "Manna, what kind of sauce would you like."

Since I had not been a perfect angel on Earth, I say: "hot sauce!"

"Well", she says, "than for desert you shall have Devils food cake"

Chef A.

I'm not sure who I would want,probably someone who could make the best Duck soup in the world.The soup I've had that was perfect was in Chinatown in Sidney,Australia.Unfortunately it's a little far to go.That being said,I love my son-in-laws cooking,of course he's a chef too.I'm just happy when anyone cooks for me


I had the greatest meal that I will probably ever have with my wife on our honeymoon at The French Laundry, truly mind altering, but...
at the risk of being called a momma's boy,
I would give anything if I could have this stuff mom used to make with ground beef, over mashed potatoes. It's about as simple a meal as can be made, but I've never been able to replicate it. That would be my last meal-mom's hamburger stuff.


Rick Bayless. Of course, I've tried his food and cooked from his books, and there are so many chefs out there I haven't tasted from, so that's helped, but Mexican is my favorite cuisine.

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