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Food For Thought: Chefs Pick Their Last Meal On Earth

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In the restaurant world, even the most famous chefs have to be concerned with what's next: the next meal, the next dish, the next customer. But what if they took a step back to think about what's last — for themselves?

That's the question photographer Melanie Dunea posed to a group of chefs in her 2007 book, My Last Supper. What would some of the world's great chefs want for their final meal on earth?

Although the answers were surprising and sometimes humorous, she didn't get in everyone she wanted. So this year, she has a new collection: My Last Supper: The Next Course.

"Yes, there was a lot of foie gras, a lot of caviar," Dunea says, "and there was a lot of fried chicken, too! I tried to match their answers with a photograph, so in one case, I might have gone to a restaurant ... I photographed a chef making illegal moonshine ... I sort of went all over the world and tried to show who the chef really is, both in his words and visually."

"There was a great juxtaposition between comfort and memory — and then just, 'Yummy, let me stuff my face with glorious things.'"

The chefs' responses run the gamut. David Chang just wants a Bud Light. Tom Colicchio would want his mother's gravy. Bill Telepan of New York City's Telepan Restaurant envisions a picturesque white house on a farm, big sky, blueberries and a slow-cooked, cumin-rubbed, citrus-y pig, and his father making ice cream.

"We all like to cook with our techniques and our different styles that we have," Telepan says,"but in the end the ingredient is so important and I think that showed in this book."

Have you given it any thought? What would your last meal be?

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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