2. Staff Meal
Check your nearest bookshelf or television set. The internal culture of the restaurant industry is of more interest now than ever. Cue the recent surge in staff meal popularity, inaugurated here with our Inside Staff Meal feature, elsewhere exalted in a cookbook (Union Square Hospitality Group has their own forthcoming next April). The public and even the professional culinary audience are comparing family meals from one restaurant to the next, rejoicing and bemoaning the best and worst of behind-the-scenes family meal. And a few of the savviest chefs have taken advantage, making staff meal not just another facet of the fattened lexicon of chef lore, but something diners can order—an experience they can taste. At District Commons in Washington, D.C., Chef Jeff Tunks transformed staff meal into a nightly ritual, serving “Family Meal” to locals and students who’ll pay a reasonable price for some BOH fixins. Richard Blais did something similar at The Spence, serving four to six family meal dishes in his regular menu. Of course, staff meal isn’t just an opportunity to profit on restaurant culture, but to enrich it. 2012 ICC Presenter Chef Linton Hopkins makes education its own course in staff meal at both of his restaurants.
Sweet Olive Chef de Cuisine Mason Hereford mixes up creative meals for crew lunch at Sweet Olive – New Orleans, LA