What These Celebrity Chefs' Last Meals Would Be

What would your last meal on earth be? Odds are you've considered it now and then, especially after enjoying a phenomenal dish. Would it be a spicy ceviche? Or the perfect omelet or a plate of gooey desserts? Would it be with the person you loved? Or by yourself on a beach, watching the sun dip below the waves? Whatever the decision, we're sure it will send you into the great beyond completely satisfied with a full belly and a smile for the ages.

But we're not the only ones who have planned their final meals. Celebrities have pondered the question as well. While most chefs are constantly thinking about the next meal for their patrons, we wanted to know what they'd want for themselves in those final moments. So, we did a little digging. While we were lucky enough to speak to several chefs personally, we found a few answers online. Those answers spanned the gamut from a specific family dish to a full three or four-course meal. Some said the meal changes depending on the time of year, while others knew exactly what they'd enjoy for their final bites. Read on to see what your favorite chef has in mind. Maybe it'll even inspire your own final meal.

Andrew Zimmern: a bucket of clams, his grandmother's roast chicken, and espresso ice cream

If there's one thing Andrew Zimmern is known for, it's traveling the world tasting really bizarre foods. He's eaten everything from coral worms in Samoa to tarantulas in Cambodia. So, when we asked the chef what his last meal would be, we were surprised to hear it was pretty down to earth. The chef has a whole meal planned, and all of it will be enjoyed at Georgica Beach in New York. Since he's originally from New York City, it makes sense that he'd want his final moments to be on the East Coast.

It also makes sense that his menu includes quite a bit of seafood, specifically a bucket of cherrystone clams. "And I want to open them myself as the sun is setting on the water," explains the chef. But clams would be just the beginning. "I want mussels and striped bass out of the same body of water, just on the grill to sort of pick at," Zimmern continues. His second course would be his grandmother's roast chicken. And since no meal is complete without dessert, Zimmern also has that covered. But it isn't a decadent piece of chocolate cake or a slice of apple pie. "I want the best espresso ice cream I can get my hands on for dessert," he says.

David Chang: his mother's galbijjim

David Chang may be a James Beard Award winner known for creating interesting and unusual recipes, but when it comes to his final moments, he tells us he doesn't want anything fancy. The famous chef whose Fuku restaurant chain can now be found in several sports arenas, says he'd want short ribs. But not just any short rib recipe will do. Chang tells us he wants his mother's short ribs, or galbijjim.

If you're unfamiliar with galbijjim, it's a Korean dish of beef short ribs that are marinated and then braised low and slow in the oven. Reserved for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions, it seems fitting that Chang would choose to savor this particular dish for his final meal. While there are various marinades one could use, Chang says he prefers his mother's recipe. There's just one small catch: His mother died two years ago, which means he'll never get the chance to taste her galbijjim again. "I miss my mom's cooking a lot," he says.

While Chang could try to recreate the recipe, he knows he'll never get it quite right because the famous chef says his mother never shared her recipes with anyone, not even her children. Sure, she'd give out versions of her recipes, but they would never taste the same as when she made them because Chang says she'd constantly give out "red herrings" instead. 

Jeff Mauro: pastrami on rye with mustard and a side of pepperoni pizza

Since Jeff Mauro is known as the Sandwich King thanks to his Emmy-nominated show on the Food Network, it doesn't surprise us one bit that his final meal would include, you guessed it, a sandwich. But of the numerous sandwiches out there, not just any sandwich will do. Will it be tuna on wheat? An Italian sub? Nope, he wants pastrami on rye with mustard. "I'll get two," he admits, "crispy fries and a Diet Coke. It's my death meal," he continues with enthusiasm. "That with a side of pepperoni pizza."

The pizza is a surprise coming from the man known for winning season seven of "Food Network Star" thanks to his innovative sandwich recipes. But once he tells us that even though he's known as the Sandwich King, he really loves pizza, it makes perfect sense that a slice would be part of his final meal. 

Being from Chicago, the city known for its deep-dish and stuffed pizzas, we were sure his choice would be some amazingly decadent pie loaded with plenty of sauce and mozzarella cheese. But Mauro surprises us again by picking "thin crust, of course." The thin crust the award-winning chef refers to is that other Windy City pizza staple: A Chicago tavern-style, thin-crust pizza that comes from chefs rolling out the dough rather than tossing it in the air.

Duff Goldman: his mother's seder menu

Getting together with family for the holidays is always fun. It not only gives you the chance to reconnect with relatives you may not have seen in a year, it also allows you to enjoy all those traditional family recipes that only seem to grace the table during these get togethers. You know, those special recipes that only your mother, grandmother, or uncle seem to know how to make. The ones that no matter how many times you try to recreate it, always seem to be missing something. Well, Duff Goldman is no different. 

In fact, the pastry chef who's best known for his hit show "Ace of Cakes" loves his mother's seder menu so much, he tells us that's what he'd want as his final meal. While a traditional seder usually includes gefilte fish, charoset, and plenty of matzah, the main course can be anything from beef to chicken or fish. Goldman says he'd want all the classic dishes, but the main course absolutely has to be his mother's brisket. "My mom makes amazing brisket," the chef explains. "It's so good."

Alon Shaya: his grandmother's stuffed cabbage

Similar to Duff Goldman, Alon Shaya also picks a relative's recipe for his final meal. Only this time it isn't a holiday meal but his grandmother's stuffed cabbage. See, his grandmother taught him how to cook. It was her recipes that led him down the path to becoming a chef and were the inspiration behind his award-winning restaurants. So, it makes sense that the chef would want to continue to honor the woman who turned him on to cooking with one of her classic recipes.

Originally stuffed with potatoes, like most classic recipes, time and culture have altered the dish slightly. These days stuffed cabbage is typically made with ground beef, rice, cabbage, and tomatoes. While some consider stuffed cabbage to be an Irish dish, Shaya tells us "it's definitely Eastern European." Since his grandmother was born in Bulgaria, the award-winning chef says stuffed cabbage is "kind of her thing." So, while she maintains the essence of the classic recipe by stuffing the cabbage with ground beef and rice, she makes it her own by adding tomatoes, garlic, onion, and a variety of spices. She then takes those cabbage rolls and cooks them in a rich tomato sauce and onions. 

Martha Steward: fresh eggs

There's nothing better than a plate full of freshly scrambled eggs. Light and fluffy, with just a hint of salt, it's the breakfast we all dream about. But a nice soft-boiled egg elates us as well, especially if we have the perfect piece of toast to dip inside that luscious runny yolk. While eggs are typically served for breakfast, no hard and fast rule says we can't enjoy them for lunch or dinner as well. Eggs make a great sandwich and add just the right amount of protein to a salad. 

Martha Stewart agrees as she told Piers Morgan during an interview that while she probably wouldn't be thinking about food if she had a limited amount of time left on earth, she'd want "good fresh eggs and a delicious salad from the garden." She doesn't care how those eggs are cooked, only that they would be her main course. And since no meal is complete without something to drink, Stewart says that she would pair those eggs with "a really good glass of white wine." However, the popular chef, author, and do-it-yourself maven goes on to admit that one glass might turn into a couple of bottles if she knew death was imminent.

Robert Irvine: roast chicken and mashed potatoes

We all have that dish that brings us comfort when we're not feeling well. It could be a big bowl of chicken soup or a hearty beef stew. It could be a gooey mac & cheese or a rich chicken pot pie. For television host, chef, and author, Robert Irvine, it's a simple roast chicken with a side of mashed potatoes. That dish might have even been what he whipped up after his show, "Restaurant: Impossible" was pulled from Food Network's lineup after 11 seasons for no reason. 

While we'll never know what the English chef created to make himself feel better after that sudden blow, he was nice enough to tell us that roast chicken and mashed potatoes would definitely be on the menu if he knew it would be the last thing he'd get to eat before meeting his maker. But the chef isn't planning on dying anytime soon.  "I'd like to think that I've got another 10 years left," Irvine confided to us. Even though he honestly doesn't know where or when the Angel of Death might come knocking, the one thing Irvine's confident in is that his final menu will consist of his go-to comfort food. 

Michael White: seafood pasta

When it comes to seafood, there's nothing better than a seared filet or grilled steak served with a side salad or rice. It's easy and delicious. But every so often, we like to exert a little extra effort and create an exceptional dish for a special occasion. Maybe take several different kinds of fish and create a cioppino. Or better yet, add a bunch of shellfish to a rich, hearty pasta. All those noodles covered in a thick sauce with shrimp and clams hiding underneath? Add a slice of crusty bread and we're salivating just thinking about it. But we're not the only ones. Michael White tells us that seafood pasta is exactly the dish he'd pick for his final meal. 

Since there are so many options when it comes to seafood pasta from shrimp or lobster to oysters or squid, we asked White what his top choices would be. "It would definitely be a mixed seafood," he says. "Clams, mussels..." While you'll often see seafood pastas coated with white wine or Alfredo sauces, the award-winning chef tells us he'd probably finish it off with a red tomato sauce instead.

Tom Colicchio: Sunday gravy

Tom Colicchio has eaten in restaurants all over the world, and as one of the judges for "Top Chef," he's constantly tasting dishes both amazing and awful. But out of all the spectacular meals the chef has had, they're not the ones he wants when he passes on to the next life. For his final meal, Colicchio tells us he'd rather eat his mother's Sunday gravy. 

Most of us have fond memories of our parents' cooking growing up, a special recipe that our mother or father would create that was theirs alone. It was a recipe we could taste as soon as we smelled the aromas coming from the kitchen. Colicchio's mother's Sunday gravy was his, and he got to savor it every week. "I grew up Italian American in Jersey," he says. "Every Sunday was Gravy." 

Like all classic Sunday gravies, Colicchio's would include tomatoes, meatballs, and braciole. While you usually see meatballs on top of pasta, when it comes to traditional Sunday gravy, each dish is eaten separately, and Colicchio tells us that's exactly how he intends to enjoy it. 

Buddha Lo: a pork omelette over rice

All chefs have different reasons for turning their love of food into a career. For some, it was years spent cooking with their parents. For others, a specific dish they had. For two-time "Top Chef" winner and chef, Buddha Lo, it was a dish his father made for him. "The first dish that made me fall in love with cooking was a pork omelette on rice that my dad cooked for me," the chef reveals to us. It wasn't the experience of eating the dish that set him on his path, but rather the experience of cooking it. 

Lo was just a kid when he started working as a server in his father's restaurant. One day he was watching his father prepare a pork omelette when the elder Lo suddenly turned to his son and asked him to flip it for him. Lo jumped at the opportunity and flipped the omelette successfully. It was that moment and that success that Lo says made him want to be a chef. It also happens to be the dish he'd want as his final meal. "I think that would be my last meal because that flip of the coin brought me so much happiness, so much joy. It brought me to where I am right now," he says, beaming. "If it landed on the floor, I probably wouldn't be here."

Curtis Stone: boeuf bourguignon

Most of the chefs we spoke to knew exactly what they'd be eating in their final moments no matter what was happening around them. It didn't matter the time of day or the season, they were steadfast in their choices. Then we spoke to Curtis Stone. He wasn't quite as adamant. While he knew that if the Grim Reaper came knocking in the dead of winter he'd want a "rich and delicious boeuf bourguignon" and chocolate fondant with some vanilla ice cream, the award-winning chef wasn't sure he'd want the same meal once the weather turned warm. 

Even though Stone says he'd opt for something lighter during the summer months, the chef couldn't help but admit that he does "love" boeuf bourguignon. "There's something so rich. And the beef just melts if it's cooked right," he explained. Stone knows a thing or two when it comes to cooking beef the right way. The chef's Michelin-star restaurant, Gwen, is a butcher shop by day and a stunning steakhouse by night. While you won't find boeuf bourguignon on Gwen's menu, you can find the perfect cut of chuck at his butcher shop to make your own version at home.

Jacques Pépin: bread and butter

Bread is one of our favorite sides. When eating out at a fancy restaurant, we can't wait for the basket to be brought to our table. Usually filled with a variety of choices from wheat to sourdough, crescent rolls to breadsticks, it's the one dish we'll polish off and ask for seconds long before the entrée arrives. An important part of any meal, this side adds the perfect finishing touch. Spread it with a pad of butter, and you've got heaven on a plate. Famed chef and author, Jacques Pépin agrees. 

In an interview with Anthony Bourdain back in 2015, the famed cook verified that his last meal would include a crusty French baguette slathered with a rich, creamy butter. But those aren't the only ingredients for Pépin's final meal. They also include those nearest and dearest to him enjoying that same meal together deep into the night.