Chefs dish on their perfect last meals

We’ve all thought about our last meal — what would we eat if we knew we’d never eat again? Would it be a hodgepodge of our favorite foods, or one simple perfect dish? Not surprisingly, chefs in particular have put a lot of consideration into this scenario.

Metro caught up with celebrity chefs and real-life pals Michael Symon and Bobby Flay at Savor Borgata, a weekend-long foodie event in Atlantic City. Symon, known for his restaurants in the Midwest, has two options for his last meal, but said he’d prefer to stick to his roots.

“I’ve thought long and hard about this,” Symon says. “If my mother outlived me, which is very possible, I would have my mother’s lasagna, no doubt about it.”

His backup plan includes specialties from fellow well-known chefs.

“I figure I would have a lot of pull with the chefs, so I’d fly in Marc Vetri to make me a pasta, Jonathan Waxman would make me a roast chicken, Bobby [Flay] would make me a shrimp tamale and Paul Kahan would do a braised pork dish for me – and then I would die,” Symon muses. “To drink? I would have something bourbon-based. I love two parts bourbon, one part ginger beer and a squeeze of lemon.”

Flay’s last meal was far simpler and one he says he’d prefer to cook himself, since he knows best how he likes it.

“So easy. It’s a cheeseburger with double American cheese and an ice cream sundae – period,” Flay says. “It’s not foie gras and caviar, none of that bulls—.”

His drink of choice falls in line with Symon’s selection: “A glass of bourbon. Woodford Reserve Bourbon, right out of Kentucky,” Flay says.

New York-based chef Joe Isidori, who went head-to-head with Flay in “Iron Chef” in 2012, is another who sticks to his roots. Isidori, whose Brooklyn restaurant Arthur on Smith was named after his late chef father, would choose a throwback meal for his last supper — one he has shared with his family many times.

“I would have to say spaghetti pomodori. It is a dish so simple, but so damn good,” Isidori says. “This dish transports me right back to my childhood while I was working with my father in his kitchen.”

Betony executive chef Bryce Shuman has been quite busy after a stellar New York Times review. Having pondered this other type of stressful situation, he tells Metro he would stick with comfort food. (After all, a last meal should be comforting, right?)

“My last meal would definitely be a dinner plate of Carolina BBQ from B’s — smokey, fatty, chopped pork with that spicy vinegar sauce,” Shuman says. “Cole slaw, green beans or chopped collards, Brunswick stew and crunchy corn sticks. I’d need a bottle of Texas Pete on the side and an extra large cup of sweet tea. Sweet tea just makes life sweeter… before you die.”

Sarabeth Levine, of Sarabeth’s Bakery fame, would go with a breakfast of champions.

“Fresh tomato and a Hass avocado salad from California followed by eggs Benedict with English muffins and Mimi Sheraton’s potato pancakes with sour cream and homemade applesauce,” she said. “For dessert, homemade vanilla ice cream with a big spoonful of the Sarabeth’s Apricot Orange Marmalade, which is what it all started with.”

Her final wish?

“I want to be embalmed with creme anglais,” she said.

‘Street Eats: Eat. Drink. Hobnob’ at Savor Borgata

Chefs Michael Symon and Bobby Flay joined a list of culinary all-stars at Savor Borgata, an annual food-themed weekend event hosted by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City last month.

This year’s theme was street food, prompting chefs to prepare gourmet twists on popular hand-held fare. Guests feasted on grab-and-go treats like crispy-skin Peking duck in steamed buns, pulled pork sliders with Shacha sauce and New Mexican-style chicken skewers with green chile vinegar dipping sauce. The event also featured cooking lessons, demonstrations and an exclusive dinner with courses carefully prepared by participating chefs, called “Taste of Five Culinary Masters.”

The Borgata features five fine dining restaurants, including Bobby Flay Steak and Izakaya by Michael Schulson. The property also boasts two state-of-the-art spas. With treatments ranging from a Deep Sea Renewal body scrub to table Thai bodywork, Immersion Spa and Spa Toccare offer the perfect place to detox after a food-filled weekend.

 Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro


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