Chefs’ favorite ‘last meal’ restaurants are some of the world’s best
Ever wonder what America’s best chefs would eat for their last meal, if they could choose? We’ve asked eight of today’s biggest and best food personalities for their picks. The chefs' favorites, ranging from California to Singapore, include some of the world's best restaurants.
Andrew Zimmern, co-creator and host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods”:
For my last meal, I’d go to Badjao Seafood House in Puerto Princesa (Philippines). I wrote about this restaurant in my first book. It’s a tiny seafood restaurant on stilts built out over the lagoon on one of the prettiest islands in the world. The seafood boats, really just simple canoes, come by 45 or 50 times a day with fishermen sometimes selling just a few lobsters or a few giant prawns or a couple of fish to the chef, who hauls them up by lash and pulley into the kitchen.
After a long day on the breathtaking beaches, exploring the interior jungle or boating through the world’s largest river cave system, an evening at Badjao is simple island charm. The fruit drinks are spectacular. I always go for the kalamansi juice with banana. Then grilled tuna collar, sea snails and water spinach braised in coconut milk, grilled lobster or giant prawns with kalamansi, roasted local fish is served as is, so be sure to get a side of the braised banana flower with ginger, chiles and coconut.
Prices are insanely soft for food of this type and of this quality. Sunsets are breathtaking, and I am hard pressed to think of a better place to eat anywhere in the world.
Michael White, executive chef and co-owner of the Altamarea Group (Marea, Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini, Nicoletta, Costata and The Butterfly):
My last meal in the world would be in Singapore at the Maxwell Hawker Food Center. I'd eat chicken rice with lots of spicy condiments, followed by flat rice noodles, chicken and beef satay, laksa, Singapore chili crab; all washed down with fresh coconut water and Tiger beer. I'd probably be too full for dessert but I’d eat fresh lychee, dragon fruit and mangosteens anyway.
Michael Mina, celebrity chef and founder of the Mina Group, which includes 18 concept restaurants:
For my last meal, I’d go to Hana Japanese Restaurant in Northern California. I have profound respect for Chef Ken Tominaga, for his skill and ability to make Japanese food delicious and approachable. I would have Chef do an omakase menu where he handmakes piece after piece of sushi and sashimi featuring the freshest available seafood. I love to watch Chef Ken create an amazing meal with no limitations. It’s like giving an artist a blank canvas and letting him bring it to life.
One of my favorite dishes is Negitoro with Uni and Ikura — that’s chopped tuna belly mixed with green onion and topped with fresh local sea urchin and Ken’s house-cured salmon roe (caviar). The Uni is rich, and slightly sweet and creamy, and the roe has a salty pop to it, while the savory tuna belly with green onion has a very traditional feel to it. Ken always keeps the seaweed crispy on his rolls, which is important.
Michel Richard, celebrity chef and owner of Central in Washington D.C.:
I would go to Vezelay, France for my last meal to Marc Meneau's L'Esperance. I would eat Marc's cromesquis of foie gras with truffle. The foie gras is melted inside of a little crust and is almost like biting into a quail egg. The liquid runs down your throat and makes your mouth so happy that you grab another bite right away. You don't want the wonderful experience to stop.
Kent Rathbun, executive chef of Abacus, Jasper's and Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen: