Danny Meyer on Staff Meals at His Restaurants

Friday, May 17, 2013

Danny Meyer, of Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and more, talks about the food that the chefs make for one another—the staff “family meal.” It is simple, often improvised, but special enough to please the chefs’ discerning palates. In Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurant to Your Home, the restaurants’ culinary director, Michael Romano, coauthor of the award-winning Union Square Cafe Cookbook, collects and refines his favorite in-house dishes for the home cook, while served Karen Stabiner shares stories about how this imaginative array of dishes came to be.


Danny Meyer

Comments [8]


Your points are valid.

Another option is they can rummage through the dumpster.

Dec. 14 2013 09:00 PM


The listener’s misunderstanding of the manner in which you provide family meal was not due to you being unclear.

You didn’t gloss it up, whatever that means. You did explain that the family meal your establishments provide differs from the menu food. You also explained that the care of preparation and the attempt to optimize outcomes were the same. And you explained that, that, more than pep talks, or education sessions, or reprimands, is what best translated into long term dividends.

I am providing this web address to my co-workers and management so they can listen to your interview. It’s my attempt to inspire “inspiring” family meals at my current place of employment, and to upgrade our level of hospitality - which falls short of enlightened, and is heading south.

I have witnessed the deterioration of our family meal in the past few months to the point that, for the first time, staff now resort to paying for their own rice and beans takeout, rather than eat yesterday’s leftover whatever. You don’t need a Wharton MBA to connect the dots of the corresponding falloff in our customer’s experience. The withholding of the love in the staff’s food experience is manifesting itself in the dining room.

I worked my third Thanksgiving last month. I was famished at the end of a non-stop, thirteen hour workday. As I gnawed on an inedible, room temperature, turkey drumstick, I thought back on the good cheer and good food of the previous two years. I resolved that pending a family meal turnaround, I’ll be giving thanks someplace else next year.

Dec. 14 2013 08:15 PM
Claudine from Sacramento

Does anyone know where i can find a schedule for classes for Danny Meyer? Im interested in attending one of his classes, im from Sacramento, CA Any information is much appreciated..

Jul. 01 2013 06:46 PM
john O'Sullivan from manhattan

After 32 years working Front of House....including 2 long stints at 2 three star places,one of which Mr.Meyer used to bring his family....I was never served the same food for 'family meal' that would be served to the paying customers.It's just not done. Mr.Meyer can gloss it up all he likes.I believe there has even been a book written about 'staff meals'.all - such distortion of the real facts. If the head Chef even spends 5 minutes on planning daily or weekly staff meals with his sous chefs - then that's a miracle.
Nearly all sous and line cooks dislike FOH staff - unless it's a cute new female server or 'tender with a sensual appearance.We get leftovers or outdated produce. Ask most servers....these are the facts.

Jun. 21 2013 08:42 PM
Peggy from Morristown nj

2 drops -tiny drops- of olive oil will prevent the water from boiling over when making pasta. I can detect no difference whatsoever in texture and taste. However my friend, Italian and an excellent cook, will not even try it because it seems so non-traditional. Any thoughts?

May. 17 2013 01:26 PM

[[gary bernstein from New York City

Landrys charges the staff $4.75 per week to participate in their "discount" program allowing the participates the ability to buy menu items at a discount. Could be/ should be illegal. May. 17 2013 12:46 PM]]

Or employees can quit and go work elsewhere. Or they can pack their own dinner at home.

May. 17 2013 01:20 PM
gary bernstein from New York City

Corporate chain restaurants do not under circumstances serve staff meals. In addition, one company, Landrys charges the staff $4.75 per week to participate in their "discount" program allowing the participates the ability to buy menu items at a discount. Could be/ should be illegal. In the end, the staff meal is an important aspect of a
well run restaurant.

May. 17 2013 12:46 PM
A listener

How many copies sold makes this book a success? Is this what home cooks are looking for or do they want very basic "how to" books?

May. 17 2013 12:43 PM

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