We just got our copy of Come In, We're Closed, subtitled "Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants." The authors go behind the scenes at 25 top restaurants around the world to learn what the servers and kitchen crew get fed before the doors open.
Juan Mari Arzak's eponymous restaurant Arzak is in the book (Duck & Shrimp Paella); So are superstars Michel & Sebastien Bras from Laguiole (Brined Pork Loin with Caramelized Vegetables), So is Wylie Dufresne's wd-50 (Grilled Hanger Steak with Classic Béarnaise Sauce).
And then there's The Herbfarm in Woodinville, with a salad, fried chicken, and strawberry shortcake. To drink, homemade tarragon and cherry soda. A local farmer is always invited to join the staff. Says exec chef Chris Weber, "It's family meal and they're part of our family."
Staff meal "teaches our cooks to become chefs," Weber explains. "It instills the importance of sticking to an allotted budget, creating continuity in a meal, and using time wisely."
Not to mention deciding what parts of the garden bounty the staff gets to enjoy.
The book includes a couple of tips from Chef Weber. The one cooking tool no home cook shoudl be without? "The sense of taste." The one ingredient? "Fresh chives."
This post was previously published on Seattle.Eater.com.