An ode to staff meal: Green Soup with Chickpea Salsa and Cheese on Toast
Published January 10, 2018
In my opinion, the most important meal of the day in a restaurant is not necessarily the one being served to the customers, it is actually the one being served to the employees. Staff meal, or perso as it is called in french, is a group meal served to the entire restaurant staff prior to the beginning of each service. Synonymous with the restaurant world, especially here in France, this meal is an essential part of the workday. Even if the actual sitting-down part of the ritual lasts only for a brief 30 minutes, taking the time to collectively eat together encourages team building and allows all levels of staff a space to connect as they nourish themselves in preparation for the grind that lies ahead of them.
It should go without saying that a well-prepared staff meal goes a long way towards setting a positive tone for the service. For me, the food being served should be healthy, delicious and abundant, all while remaining economical. This may all sound fairly straightforward but one must bare in mind that whoever is making dinner also has the rest of their regular prep work to complete simultaneously. This is why many cooks readily turn to pasta as a go-to as it is both easy to prepare and filling. Personally I prefer a humble, yet well-executed soup as it can readily be made with just about anything extra I happen to have on hand.
This herbaceous green soup, was itself inspired by masses of leafy greens that had been arriving each week atop beautiful early fall turnips destined for a salad on the menu. Rather than sentence them to the bin, the resulting vitamin rich soup, garnished with an improvised chickpea salsa and served alongside copious amounts of crowd pleasing cheese toast, made for a quick and easy way to use them up.
One last final note, this one about cheese toast: I love cheese toast, especially because of the endless variations one can makeup up from any combination of different cheeses. It’s also an excellent way to use up day-old, or even two or three-day old bread that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage, and that, is what staff meal is all about.
Link to recipe here.