Q&A With a Culinary Adventurer: Recreating the Last Supper on the Titanic
Price: First class tickets, $300; VIP tickets, $450
Have you always dreamed of dining like the aristocrats on the Titanic? Or like the Earl of Grantham and his family on “Downton Abbey“? You just may have your chance…
This spring, six adventurous event planners are presenting 41°North, 49°West, the culinary event of the century. The last dinner served on the mighty ship, before it struck an iceberg and sunk, will be served in a secret Manhattan location. This exclusive party is cleverly timed with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s infamous crash, (and also with the 3D release of James Cameron’s behemoth of a film, “Titanic,” starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.)
MetroFocus chatted with Jonathan Cristaldi, one of the masterminds behind Dine Titanic.
Q: What will this event look like?
A: We’re not telling people exactly where they’re going, just the vicinity. It’s in Manhattan, that’s all I can say for now. It will be a very appropriate place. Once they get in, it’s cocktail hour. The space is lovely, multi-tiered. And then dinner, which is a 7-course meal.
Q: Seven courses! What’s on the menu?
A: It was originally 10 courses! It was very consistent with the 1912 style of cuisine, elements of dining that we don’t find interesting anymore, like an asparagus course and a squab (pigeon) course. We decided we don’t need to do them separately, so we combined them.
Consomme Olga (made from sturgeon bone marrow)
Filet Mignon, Foie Gras
Punch Romaine (booze course)
Squab and Asparagus
Waldorf Pudding (We don’t have a record of exactly what went into this pudding)
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast duck, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of beef, Chateau Potatoes
Parmentier, Boiled New Potatoes
Foie Gras course
Q: What else can guests expect?
A: There will be live music, people will mill about. There will be a lot of imbibing and indulging. There will be an element of theatricality, of deus ex machina, which translates to an impossible scenario made possible through a force of nature. We will employ this device for a theatrical moment that will hopefully be inspiring to people. We’re not quite sure where the evening will go!
Q: Where did the idea for 41° North, 49° West come from?
A: My other collaborators, Chef Rob McCue from Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen and Adam Banks of Bravo’s Chef Roble & Co., came to me a few months back and told me the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic, which was to dock in New York City, was coming up. ‘We need to do something exciting and extravagant to celebrate this,’ they said to me. And they said I was the guy to do it. We went to a gentleman’s barber shop near Grand Central Station, John Allan’s, where we got shaves and haircuts, to get into the spirit of things, and before we knew it, we had amassed a team and we were rolling!
Q: How did you research the menu and the particulars of the setting?
A: There’s actually a book all about the last meal aboard the Titanic, it’s literally called “Last Dinner on the Titanic.” It’s an incredible book filled with old photographs and details and the menus that survived.
Q: Why will people be interested in this?
A: The Titanic is one of those stories in history that’s completely fascinating to people. The whole thing is unthinkable. The amount of money, the decadence is astounding. We wanted to recreate that culture. We don’t see this kind of dining often.
Q: Who do you expect to attend?
A: The kind of people that come to my events are very passionate wine and food connoisseurs, so we expect people who love food and wine and the experience of that. But I hope some Titanic enthusiasts show up, too!
Q: Will you invite James Cameron?
A: (Laughs.) You know, yeah, we’re trying to get the word out. He’s more than welcome, but we won’t show “Titanic” in 3D.
Q: What will this event not be?
A: We decided not to do a historical retrospective. I don’t think people need to be told what happened with the Titanic. It’s such common knowledge.
Q: So you have first class and VIP, what about steerage?
A: We thought about that! That’s us, the kitchen staff. We’ll all be eating gruel. The differences between the classes are oceans deep…
To RSVP for 41° North, 49° West, which are the exact longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates where the Titanic struck an iceberg in 1912, visit dinetitanic.com and provide an email address. The first 80 emails received will have the first shot at the 80 tickets available.
Multimedia Web Editor Georgia Kral conducted this interview, which has been edited and condensed.