Q&A With a Culinary Adventurer: Recreating the Last Supper on the Titanic

| March 2, 2012 4:00 AM
Where and When: To be announced
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.

The Titanic disembarked from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912 and was meant to dock in New York City. The ship sank off the coast of Newfoundland on April 15, 1912. At the 41° North, 49° West dinner party, guests will feast on the same dishes that were the last for those in first class on the Titanic. Photo courtesy of 41° North, 49° West.

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.

Menu:

Oysters
Consomme Olga (made from sturgeon bone marrow)
Salmon
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)

Omitted items:

Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast duck, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of beef, Chateau Potatoes 
Green Peas
Creamed Carrots
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!

This china was used by first class passengers aboard the Titanic. Organizers of 41° North, 49° West want their place settings to look historically accurate. AP/Stanley Leary

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!

This gold spoon was found among debris from the Titanic wreck. Flatware like this was reserved for first class passengers. AP/ Bebeto Matthews

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.

  • Larry Furman

    This would be a nice anniversary gift for my wife. Our 15th anniversary is actually 3/29/2012. Thank you. Larry

  • John Pulos

    I actually have hosted a Titanic Dinner using the recipes from the Last Dinner book since 1998 – first at my restaurant, Chef’s Diner and then at my B&B, Rosemary’s Legacy – both in Montour Falls – near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes District of New York. Since October 2010, I am part of a group that is bringing a Titanic Festival and Dinner to Watkins Glen. The dinner will be held at the Harbor Hotel. All the infomation can be seen at http://www.rosemaryslegacy.com/TitanicFestival2012 and on facebook at TitanicFestival 2012. We have descendents from 3 of the families on the ship that will be in attendance – including 20 relatives of the Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild family. Elizabeth was a native of Watkins Glen.

  • Eleanor Shearing

    I’ve just sent my dear friend the information about the Titanic dinner. She just happens to be the great-great grandaughter of Mr & Mrs. lsador Straus, two of the First Class passengers who went down with the ship. In fact, they were shown in the movie….Mrs. Straus decided to stay with her husband, put her maid in the lifeboat and put her fur coat around the maid’s shoulders……and went down with her husband. She would be a real asset to your party. Food for thought…….

    • JC

      Eleanor:

      Please feel free to send us any information about your friend. We’d be happy to extend an invitation. (info@dinetitanic.com)

      - JC, DineTitanic.com

  • Dolores Curley

    Sounds Fascinating. Would love to be there.

  • Carol Hammons

    How very exciting to recreate this historical dinner party on the 100th anniversary! I have been fascinated with the historical aspects of this event for many years and purchased “Last Dinner on the Titanic” 15 years ago. It must have been in preparation for this evening.

  • Andrew Hemingway

    I am very excited for this event! It is going to be great. However, I am a Titanic buff and am a little disappointed that they are not serving all the same courses as it exactly was. To me that would have made this event a once in a lifetime experience.

  • Brenda Cooney

    Would LOVE to attend – Please, Please send more information plus price list.
    Thank You,

  • sergio d pereira

    i wish i would lived at that time so i could of get on the boat the titanic to see how it felt and i wanted to eat salmon to i wish i lived at that time well that is all i could say but wait did they have beds i hope so well that is all

  • Robert Banks

    Hello. Very nice article and idea. I do not expect to be invited, however, If invited, I will bring my wife and possible one of my daughters and her fiancé.
    Because of this, and also as I am net well to do, therefore I am asking how much I am expected t lay out, and do you accept credit/debit cards?
    Thank you very much.

    (Signed)
    Robert Banks
    631-667-6630

  • Bessie Chaikin

    How can I obtain tickets? Would love to attend. I received an invitation from white star line. Would love to attend the dinner event. Please send information.

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