staff meal / comida / family meal

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Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2014
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I'm curious what others are eating for staff meal? I feel like 90% of the time I eat chillaqilles, which I prefer to Sysco corn dogs. On the rare occasion we get decent product to work with. I've had some abysmal staff meals during stages. Pics! I know some of you are eating amazing things.
Fried rice and chicken wings. Lots of chicken wings.
Depends who's cooking but Singapore noodles, Lemon grass chicken and ginger garlic shrimp are all favorites.
Used to get family meal twice a day at my last job. 11am and 5pm . Usually they were made by the inexperianced cooks and were terrible but occasionally you would get someone trying to impress the chefs. They would come in extremly early to get it done. Some of the best were korean pork dumplings with broth. braised pork ribs, pork pad thai, beef & mushroom pie.
As hot entree would confit 10 pork bellys per day most of the meals revolved around pork off Cutts lol. Got very sick of pork.
We do leftover food

Most of the times its rice/ beans/noodles pork of some sort . Often times i will make salad and other times we buy pretzel dogs from a guy and bring em to work. For 2 bucks you can't really get better.

Salad is another thing. Salad is easy cost less than most and its great for the crew. Now i am not gonna say salad is the thing everyone is looking forward to but we mix it up , and also try not to eat a lot before dinner service .

Staff meal is great at the end of the shift as well. Usually if we are in the weeds during lunch or pre dinner time we just do a good family meal at the end of the shift. We usually work together clean together and try to eat together as a team regardless.
We do staff meal after service, usually around 1030 (we are only open for dinner). Our whole staff sits down together and eats, kitchen, floor, bar. We take turns in the kitchen making dinner, I have quite a few Jamaicans so we get some pretty amazing brown stew chicken and curry fish. The boys laugh at how many dumplings I can put down, always seems like a good idea at the time until end up in a comatose state from all the starch.
We're not allowed to waste govt. money on such trivialities. We have other ways to do that.

That was good.

The topic is truly interesting. I'm in my 4th (80's-2010s) decade of being in the kitchen and damn if I haven't seen it all. I will NEVER own a restaurant, but I will say that one of the most obvious ways of keeping your venture going is to have a good team. Which 99% of the time equates to a "happy" team. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to achieve this is to let the staff have great food! Damn it! It's so bloody simple and obvious. If so many are willing to marry an obnoxious, bloated, cow because she makes great food ("yea, but she's a great cook!") think what kind of loyalty you'll get from your staff.
I've worked at some high-end gigs where they have the balls to bring in product just to be used on the staff. And of course at all of these types of establishments the morale is crap, I mean 100% without exception. The gigs that had the best camaraderie where the ones with a very loose and not chintzy staff-food policy.
Amazing how something so simple has such a great effect.
I have seen quite a range. From frozen corndogs dropped in the fryer to leg of lamb. Personally, I don't really think it's cool to just reheat something. I'd rather open up a can of tomatoes and change it into something else. Or take a couple of minutes and chop up a couple of onions and make it into something different. Or I'll walk around the kitchen and take one handful of whatever people are cutting - corn, peppers, whatever.

The go to is often taking extra proteins or a making a big frittata, extra seasoning and made into DIY tacos. Love chilaquiles. Or enfrijoladas - comfort food.

When I am asked to make family meal, I also like to make a game of it and play "clean out the walk-in" and try to incorporate as many half-deli cups and odds and ends into something tasty. Stews, pasta, stir fries and pizza are good for this. Or a "everybody in the pool" paella or jambalaya.

One fun one was college-dorm room style instant ramen with doctored up broth, a fried egg, few slices of pork, scallions. Or 5 stale baguettes made into cubano style sandwiches -pressed between two sheet tray and toasted in the oven.

Unfortunately, vegetarians and vegans and gluten-free people are common enough and vocal enough that we have to accomodate them with something other than salad.

Almost always sriracha as a condiment, regardless of the style of dish.

Vegan staffers can have deep fried tofu and sweet chili sauce out of bottle. heck those whiney ungreatful bastards!

+1. I laughed reading that.

Tweyland, you are too nice. Since staff meal is optional to eat, every restaurant I've ever worked at just made whatever, eat it if you want. They didn't cater to any staff member.
Not my choice. Mark set by chef and GM who don't want to hear about it from those ... people.
I made this for my wait staff a few months ago, image.jpg steamed beef pizel over rice with a couple fried eggs and marscapone. They didn't like it.
Staged in France (Fontainebleau) for a week so another could attend his sister's wedding. I was 10 years older than the others and not French and was therefore KB. However, staff had their own freezer and it was bits and bobs of leftovers (one star Michelin). In 6 days we had either rabbit or eggs every day, veg and starch like humans and a sweet something. Fold up table and chairs that appeared from ?? Wine was offered but I waited until after service. The sauces were vac saved leftovers from a previous service that were augmented to fit the number of staff. No meal was served without sauce. Often, the owner's wife would join us.
Pasta. So much pasta. We buy nice dry pasta for the staff, sauces are made from leftover bits and bobs. Occasionally my Indian sous will make a pretty banging curry, occasionally I'll make fried chicken and slaw. But mostly pasta.
Vegan staffers can have deep fried tofu and sweet chili sauce out of bottle. heck those whiney ungreatful bastards!

I with ya on this.
usually it's a live an let live attitude I sport, but this is one very vocal group that just drives me up the wall. Unless you're working at a hippy-vegan joint, bring your own food. Seems so bloody obvious, but damn if at almost every one of my last 15 years of misc kitchens there isn't at least one of these types reading me the riot act. funny stuff. Prior to 15 years ago I never heard a peep. To which I conclude means that the younger generations have an over representation of spoiled brats.
fwefff…. that was fun. :coffeelots:
How can you be a cook if you are unwilling to eat or try the products you are supposed to be preparing for others lovingly and caringly as you would for yourself or your mother... is what I always wonder. Tasting shouldn't count against your dietary restrictions, if you want to be worth your salt in a kitchen.
How can you be a cook if you are unwilling to eat or try the products you are supposed to be preparing for others lovingly and caringly as you would for yourself or your mother... is what I always wonder. Tasting shouldn't count against your dietary restrictions, if you want to be worth your salt in a kitchen.

I think it's only a problem for the high maintenance FOH staff. Unfortunately I am FOH, but I am grateful for any staff meal even if it's spam and eggs.
Overly salted pasta dishes from a chef who can't seem to understand that bad product can't get better with more salt.
FOH gets to order from the menu--no seafood, no steak--so there's no "staff meal" per se. Works out well in the summer months, just a handful of extra burgers and salads on the rail at the end of the shift.

Slower months I'll let them have a little fun, and make more random weird stuff at their request--I think last week they had me do fried ice cream, Swedish meatballs, and a bolognese--but for the most part it's just business as usual.
Our service starts at 5PM nightly, and 3PM is family meal followed by preshift meeting and kitchen cleaning at 3:30PM. 2 people teams are scheduled at 1pm daily to provide family meal at 3pm for about 20-30 staffs. Mostly they are BoH since FoH gets there a bit later. Also sweets, usually cookies or pies and daily sorbets or gelato, are provided by the pastry team each day. Typically the staff meals are pretty fantastic here. Ribs, briskets, port loin and chicken thighs are usually stocked in the freezer strictly for family meal. The smarter or lazier guys would have the proteins all marinated and ready the night prior, and leave a note for the morning prep team to drop it in the oven at certain time and temp. There is always some sort of starch mostly jasmine rice and pasta, pizzas are not uncommon, and sometime pastry team will bake fresh bread or rolls. Vegetables are are required each day with salad being most popular, followed by roasted veggies. I personally like to make blanched broccolini with chinese oyster sauce. The cooks can order anything they like with in reasonable budgets if they chose to make something we do not carry. And they are allowed to use scraps or items that are left over in the walk-ins, since we change daily specials quiet often. Some of the memorable ones recently were truffle and foie gras pasta, hanger steak soft tacos, mapo tofu with minces pork, spicy korean soup with sous vide eggs, fresh ramen with agitama eggs and roasted pork, and yesterday was boneless chicken thighs thai curry style with fresh mint, basil and cilantro. Occasionally if certain sushi chefs are scheduled for lunch, they would make futomaki, tamago roll and waygu spring rolls. I gotta be honest, i look forward to family meal when i get to work each day. Occasionally i would get in early just to eat the staff meal, even if i am scheduled at 5pm just for service. It's rewarding and refreshing to have a work environment that actually put an emphasize on staff meal. At this restaurant, you will get bitched out by your peers and management, if your family meals are sub-par in quality or quantity. There's a few times that management had to order subs and sandwiches delivered cuz food ran out before everyone got to it. LOL. I thought that was pretty badass to be honest. Personally, I never get scheduled for family meal anymore due to seniority, but it was fun when i had to before.
Uchiko!!! I went several years ago on a layover. I'm Japanese from Hawaii and my client who I was with on a layover didn't know what I would want to eat so he just assumed Japanese. I wouldn't think to find great Japanese cuisine in Austin but it definitely rivaled some of the best modern style Japanese cuisine I've had. Great work you do there!