Houston Co. chef explains reasoning for last-meal support

HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Brian Price is used to cooking for people who know they're about to die. He's done it 218 times.

"Not to minimize those crimes because those guys are about to pay for their crimes and so do they deserve a last meal or is it just humanity showing their more compassionate side shortly before they poison him to death," Price said.

For 10 years Price was the Last Meal Chef, somewhat by choice.

The former prison inmate got the job while doing time for assaulting his ex-wife and kidnapping his brother-in-law in '86.

Assigned to the kitchen, he took over the duty after praying about it.

"I try to make the best meal possible...but then an hour, two hours later all it's going to be is stomach contents on an autopsy report and does that bother me, no I believe I did the best I could," Price said. "I pray over the meal and I pray for that person's soul and I would pray that they would find the Lord before they left this world."

Something he hopes he can start doing again.

He's offering to cook and deliver those final meals from his restaurant in Houston County, at no cost to taxpayers.

Last week, the state halted the tradition after a prominent state senator complained about a hefty final request.

"When justice is distorted and they say we're not going to give him a last meal just because he doesn't deserve it, then justice becomes revenge," Price said.

Outrageous requests did land in his kitchen -- things like 24 tacos. However, he said portions were always cut down.

Only food in the prison can be served, nothing from the free world.

"They're killing in our names, so should we not feed them in our names also and show that hey we do have a compassionate side and show a little bit of mercy and grace which is unmerited favor," Price said.

Price thinks the last meal tradition should go to a vote rather than one man's opinion ending the practice.

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