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Old 01-28-2008, 05:03 AM   #1
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Staff Meal

Staff meal, family meal, crew meal. They're all terms for the same thing in a restaurant. I remember reading The French Laundry cookbook awhile back, there was a small section where Thomas Keller spoke about family meal. He said that you could tell which cooks where the most passionate about food, because they always put out great staff meals with the ingredients on hand. Keep in mind that in restaurant kitchens, most of the times it's the scraps that are going into the staff meal, beit fish, beef, lamb, etc. If you're lucky, you get to work in a kitchen where the scraps are at least high-end scraps.

There have always been certain dishes made by certain cooks that are always requested by the staff to make again and again. In the restaurant I work at now, it's Jay's Thai Chicken Curry and Chris' Roast Pork with Onions and Tomato. In other restaurants, it's been Arroz con Pollo, Fish Curry, Pork Adobo, and other dishes. For those in the industry, what's been among the best staff meals that you've eaten and if you cook(ed) them, what's some of the dishes you've made that were hits?

For me, one dish that I have to make at least once a month is my Chili Pasta. I usually make the chili a day or two ahead, and then reheat it and toss it with pasta the day that it's my turn to make staff meal. Five lbs. of pasta and 7 lbs. of ground meat scrap later, this is what you get:


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Old 01-28-2008, 07:38 AM   #2
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Looks like ya got Zippys beat there

BOWL ME UP!
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:59 AM   #3
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when I worked Asian, my standby was Grandma's Tofu...ground pork scraps, GGS (ginger garlic scalion) sichuan peppercorns, soy, chow in a wok to make a rough sausage, add tofu on top and steam together, serve over broth sauteed greens and sticky rice.

otherwise ground nut stew (African) brown chicken pieces (wings necks backs etc) saute onion and garlic add broth, ground nuts (chunky peanut butter works) chopped tomatoes, okra, potatoes (white or sweet), hot chilis (jalapenos work fine) simmer and serve over rice

these are both "slop" recipes that are incredibly tasty, but you won't find them on menus I guess because they are "family" dishes.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
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Looks like ya got Zippys beat there

BOWL ME UP!
How do you like Zippy's? It's not the greatest, but they're everywhere and they're open 24 hours. A Zippy's Fried Chicken and Chili plate is my favorite after drinking meal at 4am.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:40 PM   #5
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otherwise ground nut stew (African) brown chicken pieces (wings necks backs etc) saute onion and garlic add broth, ground nuts (chunky peanut butter works) chopped tomatoes, okra, potatoes (white or sweet), hot chilis (jalapenos work fine) simmer and serve over rice
That sounds pretty good. That might be a good idea for the next time I have family meal and there's some chicken scraps to burn. We don't have okra but I could probably use either haricot verts or sugar snap peas.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:51 PM   #6
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My first job was in a restaurant, where the menu changed every 3 days, depending on what was freshest at the moment. (Even the menus were done in calligraphy, by hand, by our head waiter). The chef made all kinds of odd dishes for us each night, but I fondly remember two in particular:
The first is a beet salad, with lemon and many greens with the most amazing vinaigrette I'd ever had, and the other was made with leftover squab and phyllo dough. YUM!

IC, it's good to see you again, btw :)
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:52 PM   #7
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I had a friend who's family owned a mansion that they rented out space for businesses and the like. In the bottom was a tea-house like restaurant. When I was hanging out with my friend I was always able to get a BLT but was denied the one time I went there with my family. I never understood why till now.
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef View Post
How do you like Zippy's? It's not the greatest, but they're everywhere and they're open 24 hours. A Zippy's Fried Chicken and Chili plate is my favorite after drinking meal at 4am.

I don't think I have ever had it when a long night of being an adult was not involved, lol. I always got the Surf Pac, Chili n' Chicken, and most always a big ol doughnut from the bakery.


Not the best, but man, it always seemed great at the time!
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:45 PM   #9
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Chicken adobo with baked thyme rice was always a favorite for us. We didn't do many staff meals but when we did this one was the favorite.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:06 PM   #10
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When I was expecting my first child, I was all alone in a fair-sized city, 800 miles away from home. (It's a long story.) I had very little money to live off of, and went through some hungry times.
I ended up getting a part time job as dinner hostess at a private country club. The pay was low, but the job included free supper.
Evidently, the chef had heard of my plight, because the first night I worked, he served me separately from the other staff, making me a good-sized Quiche Lorraine, which I lapped up like a hungry hound dog. He brought it to me on a tray, along with a little bunch of grapes and a big glass of milk.
After that, I ate with the other staff, but there was always extra on my plate, and I always got milk instead of tea.

It's been many years, but I do remember that his Swiss Steak was really STEAK, with onions and mushrooms...maybe a few diced carrots...and an amazing brown gravy.
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