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Staff Meals from Chanterelle (Cookbook) Hardcover – Unabridged, August 1, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Restaurant staff meals are a lot like family meals. In fact, most staffs call it exactly that--the family meal. And the challenges are the same: how to please the palates of people who know precisely what they like, and how to do it in a time- and cost-effective way. In this hefty volume (433 pages of recipes!), David Waltuck, chef and owner of Chanterelle, the award-winning, critically acclaimed restaurant in New York City, shares his solutions to this universal quandary.

The family meal at Chanterelle is a chance for the staff to "take an enjoyable and sociable break from their hectic schedule." Just like at home, they relax, "schmooze," and get to know each other. The key, of course, is that no one is slaving away in the kitchen. Whatever they eat must be made in advance, with minimum fuss, and left to simmer, braise, bake, or roast, until they're ready for it. A number of people share the responsibility for feeding the crew, and the diverse menu reflects the diversity of the staff. From Chicken Soup with Fresh Herbs and Homemade Matzoh Balls to Meat Loaf, Italian Style, to Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons to Chanterelle's Breakfast Waffles, these recipes are for quintessential comfort food. Restaurant work is physical, so portions must be ample and provide the energy everyone needs to work the next shift. The meals should be flavorful and interesting but appeal to a broad range of eaters. Every one of these extraordinary recipes delivers, from the luxurious Butternut Squash and Bourbon Soup and the tender, braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Rosemary to the nut-packed, mildly spicy Chicken with Cashews and the easily elegant Cream Cheese Pound Cake. These recipes can be put together quickly and easily and are either ready in a flash or can be left to cook unattended. There are a few more-elaborate recipes, for celebrations, perhaps, that require a little extra TLC, but between the easy-to-follow instructions and the useful tips (how to clean squid, saving a separated butter sauce, testing fish for doneness, and more), your family and your guests will be well fed--and you will be the hero. Just like the Chanterelle staff sweatshirt says, "Good food and plenty of it." --Leora Y. Bloom


"... has been getting the best buzz of the current cookbooks in release...a chef cookbook unlike any other." -- The Atlantic Journal Constitution

"...a reminder that time at the table is time well spent, and worth honoring with good food." -- COOKBOOK DIGEST

"...a warm and friendly book that celebrates the restaurant tradition know as the 'family meal.'" -- Fine Cooking

"Comfort food epitomized. Staff Meals evokes fond memories of how great food can transform a family's simple gatherings into celebrations." -- Thomas Keller, The French Laundry

"Give your family a treat! We all know what an extraordinary restaurant Chanterelle is, so I'm not at all surprised to see the extraordinary dishes David and Karen Waltuck serve up to their staff 'family' every day." -- Michael Romano, Union Square CafÈ

"I wish I was able to book a table to eat these beautiful dishes." -- Mario Batali, Babbo, Po, and Lupa

"It's a mouthwatering melange of 200 dishes that ordinary people can duplicate in their own kitchens." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"There are great ideas for weeknights...to dishes you can put in the oven and forget..." -- Redbook

"These are the kind of meals you might like to prepare for family and friends." -- Daily News

"Who would have thought that the best fed people in New York are the staff at Chanterelle?" -- Bobby Flay, The Mesa Grill and Bolo

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Product Details

  • Series: Cookbook (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; First Edition edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761116982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761116981
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I think this is a very pleasant, accessible collection of recipes (with lots of chef-to-cook asides). David Waltuck focuses on his Chanterelle family -- his cooks, cleanup crew, and wait-staff -- for whom he makes meals that give new meaning to "employee benefits."
It struck me that his happy gang working behind the scenes at a stellar restaurant is at odds with that story that runs from Orwell's scullions in "Down and Out in Paris and London" to the desperados in "Kitchen Confidential." But, hey, Waltuck's proof is in his pudding - life must be fine if a night on the job includes "Roast Chicken Stuffed with Basil" or "Spaghetti with Mussels, Tomatoes, and Cream," and maybe a blackberry cobbler.
The recipes are eclectic like food markets in New York City - kind of French, kind of Hispanic, kind of Asian, kind of Middle European, kind of North African, kind of small-town American. Things the recipes have in common are keen, punchy flavors - the sautéed/baked Cornish hens call for garlic, tomatoes, wine, olives, thyme, and red pepper flakes - and quantities that feed 8 to 10 people (or can be upped for a crowd).
The hidden gems: roughly 30 pages of salad dressings that look like they can have many real-life uses and a run of breakfast and brunch items that might go over well enough to be worth the price of the book (I'm thinking of "Buttermilk Corn Muffins with Orange").
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Format: Hardcover
I could use all kinds of fancy adjectives to describe the dishes and information in this book, but there is no need. I have only owned this cookbook for about a month and can honestly tell you that this "foodie" who was raised from generations of great southern cooks is enraptured with this compilation of wonderful recipes. Although I love some Southern dishes, my palette is more broad and contemporary, so Staff Meals from Chanterelle fits the bill perfectly.
There are recipes that are truly "comfort foods". Then he has dishes that have elements of comfort in them but also urge you to go beyond the confortable to stretch your wings a bit...to take a small risk with a new enhancement. I love some of the dishes he terms "ethnic" but admits that he "loves to experiment" and says that this particular recipe is his own rendition and cannot be assigned the term ethnic. Then there are some "gourmet" dishes that, although are not of the same calibre as the meals served in his restaurant, has Waltuck's signature all over them. The food literally "makes you happy". Most of the recipes are fairly easy to make and call for ingredients usually found in any kitchen pantry. Although some call for very specific ingredients, he explains that these can be obtained in any good international market or a good supermarket.
Another feature I love about his book is the sidebars with tips, important cooking information, and descriptions that help the cook do a better job when preparing the dish. The recipes are easy to read and follow. They are not long and tedious but straightforward and clear. The format is very readable.
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By A Customer on December 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My lasting admiration to whomever came up with the idea behind this book. Unlike the other 4-star celebrity chef cookbooks being peddled on the Food Network, all of which seem to detail extravagant and daring 12-course meals featuring five different reductions and three unpronounceable ingredients, David Waltuck's submission considers comfort food. A steaming crock of French Onion Soup, made-from-scratch fudge Brownies, creamy Mac-n-Cheese, and even Mint Juleps are given the same treatment that made Chanterelle one of the best restaurants in New York.
Imagine that! Food that you'd want to cook at home! In a cookbook!
Foie Gras and scallion lobster bisque topped with sun-dried tomatoes and carmelized pears is nice, but sometimes I just want some Mac-n-Cheese, dammit.
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By A Customer on September 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have dozens of cookbooks...and am generally quite cynical about them...but I find myself returning to this one a lot. Every time I try one of the recipes, I have the most dire predictions...oh no I've ruined all the food I have. Ruined indeed! These are some of the best meals I've ever turned out.
If you like your food dry, tough, bland, ugly, typical, and difficult to make, there are several other cookbooks that will serve you to a tee. But if you like your food falling-apart tender and juicy, rich and beautifully spiced, unique and yet quite easy to prepare, this cookbook I've found works fine.
Also I'd say that I always choose the finest ingredients but if I had to use less than the best, I would want these recipes, which will make the most out of whatever you've got. I would give this away as a Holiday gift to anyone who was already at Joy of Cooking level. And who didn't need to lose lots of pounds.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're interested in this book, you're probably a foodie like me. And, like me, you probably have a collection of cookbooks. STAFF MEALS is my favorite. From this book I have cooked many a family meal (two kids, 8 and 11 and a spouse) to many a rave - haven't hit a false note yet.
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