"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Menu Planning > Today's Menu
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-28-2008, 05:03 AM   #1
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,557
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:


__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 07:38 AM   #2
The Dude Abides
 
TATTRAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bermuda Native in D.C./NoVA
Posts: 5,428
Send a message via AIM to TATTRAT Send a message via Yahoo to TATTRAT Send a message via Skype™ to TATTRAT
Looks like ya got Zippys beat there

BOWL ME UP!
__________________
flickr

@JONOBRANDS
TATTRAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 08:59 AM   #3
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: SE Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,655
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.
Robo410 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,557
Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT View Post
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.
__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 02:40 PM   #5
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410 View Post
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.
__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 02:51 PM   #6
Hospitality Queen
 
jkath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,448
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 :)
__________________
Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
This week's topic: Pinterest and Potatoes
jkath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 02:52 PM   #7
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 7
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.
__________________
Have Milk?...Need Cookies?
moncat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 03:14 PM   #8
The Dude Abides
 
TATTRAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bermuda Native in D.C./NoVA
Posts: 5,428
Send a message via AIM to TATTRAT Send a message via Yahoo to TATTRAT Send a message via Skype™ to TATTRAT
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!
__________________
flickr

@JONOBRANDS
TATTRAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 03:45 PM   #9
Chef Extraordinaire
 
kitchenelf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 19,725
Send a message via MSN to kitchenelf
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.
__________________
kitchenelf

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
kitchenelf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 07:06 PM   #10
Master Chef
 
Constance's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southern Illiniois
Posts: 8,175
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.
__________________
We get by with a little help from our friends
Constance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 08:26 PM   #11
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cicero, IL
Posts: 5,093
This sounds akin to when I start 'scrounging' around the kitchen looking for stuff to put together for a meal (wife has strict budgetary requirements!).

What I would come up with would do the trick, but I don't think it was anything as tasty as what you guys listed! LOL
Maverick2272 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 10:13 PM   #12
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: SE Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef View Post
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.
absolutely, green beans or snap peas would work well too. and pork could opt in for chicken. I think it works real well with sweet potatoes, but it is a traditional recipe where you use what you have to make it work.

Brunswick stew is another great one...sautee bacon, onion and garlic, brown chicken (unless you want to use rabbit or squirel), corn, limas, tomatoes, potatoes and broth. salt pepper and thyme and some chili flakes for my taste. serve in a bowl with crusty bread or rice. (toss in some blanched kale or other dark leafy green if you got it. goes great.)
Robo410 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2008, 05:12 AM   #13
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,557
Now this is a whole lot of Chicken Cacciatore:

__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 08:31 AM   #14
Executive Chef
 
AllenOK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA, Oklahoma
Posts: 3,463
The country club I currently work at usually serves the help from buffet leftovers when the buffet comes back.

I do have waitstaff that tries to butter me up to make them a meal. I have to feed waitstaff at night, if I don't have a buffet coming back. Usually it's burgers and fries. I have a reputation for making good burgers amongst the caddies and grounds crew (from when I pulled shifts at the half-way house last summer). The Food & Beverage Manager will come to me every couple of days and ask for "my great chicken and veggie plate", which is simply a marinated, grilled chicken breast, some long grain and wild rice, and sauteed yellow squash and zucchini. This particular manager really likes garlic, and I always add a little shallots and garlic to the pan when I saute the veggies, as well as salt and pepper, and once it's fragrant, add a splash of white wine, and put the pan under the top heat lamp while the rest of the food cooks. The veggies come out tender, but not overcooked, and the garlic and white wine add great flavor. Apparently my grilled chicken breast is the best of all the cooks that have cooked chicken for this manager. I make sure it's cooked, but not overcooked and dry sawdust. This same manager also loves my Fettucini Alfredo, but, since that's not really "diet" food, he doesn't indulge in my Fett-Alf except for once every couple of weeks.

I gave a broccoli salad recipe to the cold-foods cooks, which they make occasionally for Sunday Brunch. That salad apparently is very well liked by members and employees. I used to make "Texas Caviar" years ago, that the employees all went nuts for.

When I worked for a country club up in Michigan, I did have one "hit" for staff meal. The Sous Chef needed one more item, and was coming up with blanks. I told her to make a "Frito Pie", as we had everything needed, and it was just sitting in the produce box taking up room. She gave me that "deer caught in the headlight look", as she had never heard of it. I told her to heat up the leftover chili. I would go grab the Fritos, which were in dry storage, and nobody was using them. I told her that we couldn't assemble it until service, or it would get soggy. Once 4:00 hit, I poured some Fritos into a hotel pan, poured hot chili over it (it wasn't the best chili, IMHO, but then, I was the only cook from OK, the rest were Michiganders), and sprinkled some cheddar cheese over it. Diced onions, sliced jalapenos, and sour cream on the side in bowls. The employees downed all of it, and asked for more. However, the Exec. Chef looked at it and shook his head (remember, he's a Michigander, and doesn't understand Frito Pie). That was the only time I ever made it there.
__________________
Peace, Love, and Vegetable Rights!
Eat Meat and Save the Plants!
AllenOK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 10:46 AM   #15
Certified Cake Maniac
 
LPBeier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Great "Wet" North
Posts: 20,311
At camp last summer, feeding 600 kids and workers at a time, you got sick of seeing the food you made, whether it be pancakes, lasagna, pizza, etc. We actually served the same meals every week because there was a new batch of kids.

I got on an egg salad kick which I made regularly for some of my special diets people, another of the cooks ate canned peaches every time she couldn't stomach the leftovers or the day's meal.

But once in awhile our manager would make us "pop can" chicken (no beer allowed in the camp) or some of his wonderful Asian dishes. Also, each of the main cooks were able to do a staff meal of their own on Saturday and Sunday which was the time between camps. I became famous for my greek food and I did some french classics as well like lobster & prawn bisque (with shells leftover from the boss's meal) and chicken cordon bleu.
__________________
Living gluten/dairy/sugar/fat/caffeine-free and loving it!
LPBeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 04:11 PM   #16
Sous Chef
 
BBQ Mikey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 750
I always did a Spicy Noodles w/ chicken and vegetables using sweet soy sauce and chili paste. I miss working at P.F. CHiangs but I got a better offer and went with it.

Most of the time the family meals left something to be desired,,but we were all spoiled from working and eating there.
__________________
"wok-a wok-a"
BBQ Mikey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 04:52 PM   #17
Certified Cake Maniac
 
LPBeier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Great "Wet" North
Posts: 20,311
At the restaurant I did my apprenticing at we all took turns at staff meal and since there was a real variety of people there we had some incredible stuff, from authentic English fish and chips, to wonderful curry dishes, traditional Asian fair and many European delights as well.
__________________
Living gluten/dairy/sugar/fat/caffeine-free and loving it!
LPBeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.