Stayin' Alive

Chefs' last suppers, caught on film

It may seem morbid to contemplate one's death, but it's also startlingly revealing.

The most telling question for a chef might be, "What would you choose as your last meal?"

This is how Melanie Dunea gleaned intimate interviews and anecdotes with some of the world's most noted food personalities. Her book My Last Supper hinges entirely on that single question–and answers from such kitchen luminaries as Gabrielle Hamilton and Dan Barber.

This week, she's publishing a second volume, My Last Supper: The Next Course, which features interviews with 50 chefs from around the world–plus color photographs of her subjects. And she's taking the conceit one step further by launching a web series in which she chats on screen about hypothetical last meals with everyone from chef Jonathan Waxman to meat master Pat LaFrieda.

The site, which launched last week, will release a new video every other Tuesday at noon, eastern time; today's episode features chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park (click here to watch), who waxes poetic about his ultimate meal while showing Dunea the proper way to kill a lobster (a memento mori worthy of David Foster Wallace).

Each video is also accompanied by a recipe from that week's subject, so you can enjoy these last meals without feeling as though you're inhabiting an episode of Six Feet Under.