“Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants.”
“At its most elemental,” write authors Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy, “a staff meal is the food a restaurant serves to its employees.”
This meal ranges from planned and creative (at its best), to thrown together, to (at worst) “simply not served at all.”
“We believe that a great staff meal,” they go on to write, “is ... vital to a restaurant’s success. ... because if the food isn’t tasty, the staff may skip the calories altogether, leaving little fuel in the tank during the shift.”
In his introduction to the book, chef Ferran Adria of elBulli fame writes: “I insist, where the cooks eat well, you will eat better.”
Not to be overlooked is the camaraderie built around the meal, no small thing in itself.
The authors visit restaurants around the globe to investigate the when, what, who, how of staff meals, delivering both interesting facts and interesting menus.
Restaurants include Mugaritz in Spain with its menu of Basque Tuna Stew, Garlic-Baked Chicken Wings With Foil-Roasted Vegetables, Crosshatched Potatoes With Parsley Sauce and Rice Pudding; The City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., with its menu of Chicken and Dumplings, Cucumber and Sweet Onion Salad and Bananas Foster Bread Pudding With Brown Sugar-Rum Sauce, and Charleston’s McCrady’s, where chef Sean Brock cooks up Double Stack Cheeseburgers with Special Sauce, Beef Fat French Fries, and The Elvis Presley Milkshake.
It’s a delightful book, so chock-full of photographs that you’ll get a feel for each restaurant that the authors visit, not to mention plenty of that tasty food. Hardcover. Running Press. $35.
Reach Marion Sullivan at email@example.com.