Restaurant people are an interesting breed – regimented schedules and idiosyncracies about mise en place tend to make them creatures of habit and it’s no different when it comes to staff meal. In most restaurants, staff meal happens during the day after prep is finished and before service begins. And while the act of cooking and eating a meal is seemingly simple, the idea behind staff meal goes much deeper than the food that’s prepared.

In most cases, the back of house team prepares staff meal in conjunction with the daily prep of the restaurant. Together with the front of house staff, the entire team eats together in solidarity. This meal not only provides nourishment, but also a chance for everyone to take a break and have a moment to themselves before the chaos of service begins. At Yardbird, the staff meal rotation allows each chef to create a meal for the team. Dishes range from local Cantonese home cooking to pasta and elaborate build-your-own sandwich spreads.

Even at the most high-end restaurants, staff meals usually aren’t fancy and they’re often far from what you’ll find on the menu. They’re meant to be simple and tasty. But regardless of what’s being served, the ritual of coming together for staff meal is what’s important. As they say, the team that eats together, stays together. It’s about bonding time and camaraderie.

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