We hounded Tom Colicchio relentlessly about his last meal until the Top Chef judge took a break from opening Craft in L.A. to chat on his cellphone. Then we basically had no idea what he was talking about as he rattled off a fantasy list of delicacies he would ingest from around the world before dying. When he started talking about his mom’s Sunday gravy, though, we were right there with him. Not that the spatchcock and the lamb’s brain don’t sound great, too.
Finally, I’ve got you on the phone! Have you thought about your last meal? Yes, it’s been a crazy time. So, here’s what I would do. I would travel around the world, eating the best meals there are, starting with oysters and pearls at French Laundry [located in Yountville, California, in Napa Valley.] Then I’d go to England and eat Heston Blumenthal’s lasagne of langoustine and trotters at the Fat Duck.
Are these all meals you’ve had? Yes. I have to get a fish in here. Oh, Arzak, in San Sebastiï¿½n, Spain. I would have the mendreska of bonita with winter savory and mentholated fish bones. After that, I would eat lamb’s brain papillote at Cibreo, in Florence.
Wow. This is no joke. Where next? Tetsuya, in Australia. There, I would have the double [cooked] deboned spatchcock [a game bird] with braised daikon.
Waitï¿½what? Deboned spatchcock. And for dessert, I’d end up in North Fork, Long Island, for Claudia Fleming’s tapioca passionfruit sorbet at the North Fork Table & Inn.
A light end to a pretty intense meal. The thing is, all of this I would probably pass on for my mom’s Sunday gravy, at her house.
Oh yeah? Was this something you grew up eating every week? Yes, definitely. Every Sunday.
And is it the typical style, with meatballs, sausage, and braciole? Yup. All that good stuff! Braised pork . . .
Does she still make it? Yes, and I make it her way, too. You make your meatballs, fry up all the meat, and then cook into the sauce.
How does she make her tomato sauce? You know, just crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Canned.
Did she use the San Marzanos, or is that you? Well, maybe that’s me.
And you would eat the pasta and the meat as separate courses, right? Oh, yeah.
That’s good stuff. Yeah, it’s great stuff.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 24, 2007