The best chefs talking about their best meals. Incredible.
“Grilled cheese. Pesto, pebbles, honey, the works. Tossed in a wood-burning stove. With extra olive oil and no lettuce. Mustard on the side. Fried. Ketchup on the side. With a dollop of mint paste. Splash of lime. Three tablespoons of prosciutto. Capers. Then too much salt. To go.”
“You know the foam they put in cola cans? I once ate three pounds of that.”
“The best meal I ever had was in 1998. I had heard of food before, but I hadn’t ever tried it. Then one day, I saw all these people walking out of a building on Fifth Avenue (I was living in New York at the time) and they were all talking about how they had had it in there: food. This crazy stuff that you destroy with your teeth and it makes you bigger. It sounded too good to be true.
“I went inside, and I said to the chef—whose name, I still remember, was Jarvis—‘Please, Jarvis, bring me that incredible stuff you gave those other people to destroy in their mouths. The wonderful victim whose name is food and makes you bigger. Bring it to me ASAP.’ Well, he gave it to me, and I killed the stuff with my teeth and immediately became bigger. This was wonderful to me. I get chills just thinking about it now. I later found out that the food was mozzarella sticks.”
“I microwaved a bottle of wine in 2008, and the power of the radiation produced a pudding I can only describe using the strongest gustatory adjective, which, of course, is ‘tangy.’ This was the tangiest thing I had ever tried in my entire life. I don’t know how the radiation did it, but as soon as I tried the purple softness and tasted the unforgettable power of the tang, I knew, in that moment, that this was the kind of food I needed to be making. Tangy-ass pudding. I will never forget this meal.”
“I ate a live shrimp about 30 years ago and still haven’t fully digested it. Every now and then I’ll be talking to people and it’ll make a run for it out of my mouth. I’ve gotten pretty good at swallowing it back down before it can escape, but there was an embarrassing incident at a county fair a couple years back where it squirmed its way out of my mouth and started scuttling around on the ground. Luckily, I managed to snatch it up and gulp it back down before it could get away, but it was pretty embarrassing. Anyway, that’s the best meal I’ve ever had, and in a lot of ways it’s still going on.”
“A casserole that looked just like Shirley MacLaine. It was incredible. I have no idea how they got it to look like her, but it was fucking amazing. I started with her feet and worked my way up.”
“I sat down at the Sultan’s table and he went down the line describing the meal. ‘For your pleasure, I have procured these, the finest plums in our kingdom,’ said the Sultan. ‘Next, there is the lamb, the finest lamb in our kingdom. Then there is the bread. This bread, I swear to you, is the finest bread in all of our kingdom. Finally, the glorious bean curd. It is so extremely delicious. Not another like it can be found in our kingdom. It is the best.’ Then the Sultan paused and looked at me very sternly. ‘All of this glorious food you may eat. Except for this.’ And the Sultan placed a gleaming red cherry on the table. ‘This cherry you must not eat.’
“Well, I’d like to tell you I didn’t eat that cherry. But that would be a lie. I ate that cherry right there in front of the Sultan as he wept. And because it was forbidden, I enjoyed it all the more. This is a lesson to us all.”
“My wife made rice.”