Cookbook: Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants

While I am not one to spend my life eating at famous and/or trendy restaurants (even living in Los Angeles, the home of many of them), I am always up for a quick peek behind the curtain at their food — and the people that make it. One great way to gain insight from chefs is by looking at the meals served to their staff, either before or after the dinner service. Many chefs credit these meals with bonding their staff together like a family and helps them face the rigors of restaurant life. One quite stuck with me throughout the book. Anita Lo, Chef and Owner of Annisa’s said,

“I don’t see how you can make your staff care about food if you’re note feeding them well.”

A simple idea, yes, but one that I think is very powerful. I think it could be applied in the home as well. How can you hope to have children who appreciate food if you aren’t serving them something they can, and should, appreciate.

Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants

Each section of the book — focusing on each restaurant profiled — begins with some wonderful pictures and then a short description of the chef, the staff and types of food served at their staff meals. Immediately preceding each set of recipes is a short “In conversation with…” Q&A section.

Again, I am not the height of a gastronome, so many of these recipes were a bit to frou-frou for me, but as with all books, I look for the lessons I can learn and the small things I can apply to my own cooking.

Featured recipes include:

  • Skirt Steak Stuffed with Charred Scallions from Ad Hoc
  • Beautiful Lace Fried Eggs from Arzak
  • Bread and Butter Jalapeños from The Bristol
  • Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Brown Sugar Rum Sauce from City Grocery
  • Chicken and Eggplant Rice Noodles from Cochon
  • …and many more!

I marked a few of the recipes to keep for later use, including:

  • Raspberry Virgin Mojitos
  • Chicken and Dumplings (with cornmeal dumplings quite different from the ones I make now)
  • Curried Rice and Chickpeas
Description from…

“Peer behind the “closed” sign in the world’s greatest restaurants, and you may glimpse a packed table whose seats are elusive even to the most in-the-know diner: the daily staff meal. This insider’s look goes behind the scenes to share the one-of-a-kind dishes professional cooks feed each other.

Join authors Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy as they share these intimate staff meal traditions, including exclusive interviews and never-before-recorded recipes, from twenty-five iconic restaurants including: Ad Hoc in Napa, California; Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain; The Fat Duck in London, England; McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina; Uchi in Austin, Texas; Michel et Sébastien Bras in Laguiole, France; wd~50 in New York City, New York, and many more.

Enjoy more than 100 creative and comforting dishes made to sate hunger and nourish spirits, like skirt steak stuffed with charred scallions; duck and shrimp paella; beef heart and watermelon salad; steamed chicken with lily buds; Turkish red pepper and bulgur soup; homemade tarragon and cherry soda; and buttermilk doughnut holes with apple-honey caramel glaze. It’s finally time to come in from the cold and explore the meals that fuel the hospitality industry; your place has been set.”

Previously in Cookbooks:

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  1. Pingback: Cookbook: The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall | My Word with Douglas E. Welch

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