Intimate Meals At The World's Best Restaurants

Have you heard of a staff meal? If you've ever worked in the restaurant industry, you probably have, but many people may not be familiar with the term. A staff meal is a meal that is prepared for the staff of a restaurant in between service hours. At first glance it looks like it's only a necessity — feeding the team before they get back to work — but authors Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy see a staff meal as much more, and they illustrate this through their first co-authored cookbook, Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants.

A collection of more than 100 recipes, the cookbook is grand in scale and contains pages and pages of beautiful photography — it would look just as good on your coffee table as it does in your kitchen, but we recommend you cook with it. The foreword by Ferran Adrià sets the tone for a journey that travels all over the world to some of the world's best restaurants, where Carroll and Eddy take you inside and invite you pull up a chair at the restaurants' staff meals. The cookbook not only gives you an intimate look at some of the most well-respected and critically acclaimed kitchens, but it also illustrates the beauty and importance of a staff meal and why so many in the restaurant industry cherish them today.

"[Staff meals are] the distillation of the hospitality business; why people went into the business in the first place," explains Carroll in an interview with The Daily Meal, "[They're] to feed their soul, feed their spirit."

And soulful and spirited they are. The recipes, which come from an array of restaurants that Carroll and Eddy visited, including Morimoto in Philadelphia, wd~50 in New York City, and Mugaritz in Errenteria, Spain, are unlike any other restaurant recipe because they're an expression of who the chef is and they're not meant to serve customers, they're meant to serve "family." Staff meals come in all shapes and sizes, whether they act as an audition for a job at the restaurant, are a chef's last ditch effort to make use of produce that will go to waste, or display a secret family recipe from someone's grandmother. The recipes in this book are great to have on hand because they're approachable — they're meant to serve more than one, they use simple and inexpensive ingredients, and the presentation doesn't matter at all. The book is available Tuesday, Oct. 2 for you to enjoy and welcome into your kitchen, just as these many chefs welcome you into theirs.

Curried Rice with Chickpeas

"In 1846, curry's place in the hearts and minds of the British people was forever fixed when William Makepeace Thackeray wrote "Poem to Curry," with its sweeping conclusion, "Tis, when done/A dish for Emperors to feed upon." So as it turns out, St. John's vegetarian..."

— Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy





Maine Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

"For authenticity, Eric recommends using Cajun andouille, a pork-based sausage that is fatty and heavily smoked but not heavily spiced. LaPlace, La., has declared itself the andouille capital, hosting an annual festival every October, but when Eric returns to his family's home..."

— Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy





Wagyu Beef Bibimbap

"The components of this dish are stitched together with a sweet and spicy sauce made simply of water, sugar, and gochujang, the Korean fermented chile-soybean paste. Says Anita of the dark maroon condiment, "It's one of the basics of Korean cooking. In the old days every Korean house had three pots in their backyard. One for..."

— Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy





Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce