Marco Canora's Last Supper

Marco Canora is a chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author. His restaurants include Hearth in New York's East Village, wine bars Terroir East Village and Terroir Tribeca, Insieme Restaurant at the Michelangelo Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, La Cucina Ristorante at the Tuscany Inn on Martha’s Vineyard, and Craft Restaurant in the Flatiron District. His cookbook Salt to Taste: The Keys To Confident, Delicious Cooking was nominated for a James Beard Publishing Award and selected as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best of The Best.

What would be your last meal on earth?

A big pot of braised rabbit stew with olives. Every fall I put it on the menu at Hearth and I find myself eating it literally when I walk in the door, throughout the day, and for dinner. I eat it ice cold out of the fridge and I'll heat it up and eat it. When we put in our orders throughout service, I'll eat it some more. It is the absolute ultimate thing for me. One of the few food memories I have is of my Uncle Eraldo making stew in the kitchen and smelling the wine and rabbit and olives and herbs. It's one of the few clear memories I have in my life. Whether that plays into why I love it so much now, I don't know, maybe it does. But there's something about it that makes me feel good and it's perfect food. It absolutely exemplifies what I love about Italian food and what I love about food in general.

I would start the meal with crispy fresh bread. There's nothing better than crunchy bead with salty meats. A bunch of thinly sliced prosciutto and really crunchy bread and lots of wine.

What would you drink with your meal?

I'm a big old world Italian wine fan. Whether it's an aged Chianti or a really aged Nebbiolo from Piedmont like a Barolo or Barbaresco, but something with age on it. I'm a traditionalist.

 What would be the setting for the meal?

Ideally it would be in the country side of Italy, outside. I do cooking classes every summer at my friends estate in Italy called Montecastelli, outside of Siena, and he has an outdoor area where one of the meals during the week is taken. He has a big fire pit that you cook on and a big long table. The estate is on top of a mountain and it's the idyllic Tuscan setting. To cook on the fire and to sit there and eat when it starts to get cooler and there's a fire outside and I can heat up things on the fire and just feel the warmth of the fire and be there - I feel like that would be the perfect setting.

Who would be your dining companions?

If I was chowing down on my last meal, I would want to be eating it with my daughter Stella and my wife, Amanda.

Who would prepare the meal?

I would love to cook the meal. As much as I love eating that dish, I love cooking it. Every year the first batch is done by me. For me, this is simple country Italian cooking. It's one of those things - simplicity is not easy and to do that stew properly, it takes a level of attention and awareness and knowledge.

Would there be music?

No. I would like to hear the sounds of the earth, the wind, the fire.