Good taste makes great gifts
Ever wonder what the chefs and owners of elegant restaurants eat in "real life," whether the staff feasts on foie gras or is left to consume the portions that pampered patrons pass up? David Waltuck, chef/owner of Chanterelle, still trendy after 20 years and one of New York's gastronomic jewels, answers those questions as he invites us to the "family" meals he cooks and shares with his entire staff every day before the restaurant opens its doors. Staff Meals from Chanterelle Cookbook, written with Melicia Phillips, has over 200 recipes for the hearty soups, slow-simmered stews, stir-fries, roasts, seafood, pasta, salads, dressings and desserts that sustain the restaurant's close-knit team during long, strenuous hours of work. This is not fancy four-star fare. Though many of the dishes are international in origin, most of them are unfussy and satisfying, the kind of straightforward food that has fueled families for generations - paprika-spiked Pork Goulash, succulent Short Ribs Braised in Beer, Chicken Gumbo served over Cornmeal-Onion Biscuits - and now fit the needs of our time-challenged schedules. Waltuck's recipes are easy-to-follow, and his prep steps unusually thorough. Now we can all sit down to a savory staff dinner without having to serve, bus, saut or truss.
Sybil Pratt has been cooking up this column for more than five years.