Make Really Good Leftovers: 'Eating With Chefs' Cookbook

A peek inside the after-hours "family meal" at 18 of the world's best restaurants.

Whenever a posh eatery releases a cookbook, you can be certain of two things. The first is that the book will feature museum quality photography and somewhat self-indulgent essays about food as art. The second is that almost all of the recipes will demand some combination of hard-to-find ingredients, expensive equipment, and frightening technical skill, making them damn near impossible to replicate at home. You're not familiar with immersion circulators? Your local Safeway doesn't stock Nordic herbs? Tough luck, toque.
But Eating With Chefs (Phaidon) takes a different approach, spotlighting the simple and hearty dishes enjoyed by the kitchen workers and waitstaff at 18 of the world's best restaurants in the hours and minutes before service. The family meal, as it's universally called, is "the glue that cements the team together," writes author Per-Anders Jorgensen, and he proves it at restaurants as diverse as the esteemed French Laundry in California, Paris' innovative Le Chateaubriand, and rough-and-tumble Roberta's in Brooklyn. Whether it's a three-star chef cooking for his staff, a dishwasher sharing a peasant dish from back home, or an anonymous underling whipping up whatever's left in the refrigerator, Jorgensen is there, taking pictures and writing down the (typically unwritten) recipes. —PAUL CAINE