Book Reviews

Book Review: Come in, We're Closed.


Staff meals in restaurants and hotels always pose problems for the management. Often, the complaints deal with poor quality and overcooked food, insufficient choice, and suitable selection for employees with medical or religious dietary restrictions. (If you are a devout Jew or Muslim, pork or other restricted foods on offer limit your choices; sometimes it is the only choice).

These problems are more prevalent in hotels especially in large North American cities where staff by necessity is pan national and multi racial with a variety of dietary habits.

Come in, we’re Closed, the brainchild of two authors is an excellent book exploring how some of the locally and internationally better-known restaurants feed their staff, more specifically kitchen staff.

By necessity, most serve dinner only, as it is strategically easier to arrange for a communal meal when the restaurant serves only dinner, rarely or never lunch.

Each restaurant visited was carefully selected with the mutual agreement of the owner/chef and sometimes both.

While most of the restaurants are at least locally famous for their food, the internationally very famous ones in France, or in the U S A were left out, maybe because of time constraints or the management’s hesitation to invite both authors.

In some restaurants, a designated cook prepares staff meals, in others this duty rotates to encourage application of new techniques or different tastes to accommodate a range of nationals working with the crew.

The quality of food varies between mostly leftover foods augmented with freshly cooked, or specifically designed menus of less expensive ingredients.

An interview with the chef or owner, and in some cases both, reveals the philosophy behind communal staff meals – they help build morale and cerate a cohesive group of cooks with the objective to cater to the clientele and community at large.

The recipes provided show how sophisticated some are.

The photography, design elements, and writing are simply superb.

A thoroughly enjoyable, captivating and fascinating read with outstanding

recipes to boot.

Highly recommended to all chefs/restaurateurs, hotel and restaurant managers, hotel and restaurant school instructors and ambitious amateur cooks.

Get your copy before the edition is sold out.

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