Adventures in Cheese

A chronicle of my journey to London to work in a well-known British cheese shop.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Feeding Time: Biscuits, Tea, Pasta Carbonara . . .

Staff meal is a gauge of a restaurant's success. It may not show you what's going to the bottom line (indeed it often indicates what's not), but it speaks volumes about staff morale, the culinary talent of line cooks, and the generosity of chefs and owners - all crucial to the maintenance of a happy, healthy restaurant.

So I took it as a good sign that at Neal's Yard much emphasis is placed on lunch and tea. Mornings and afternoons are punctuated with rounds of Monmouth Coffee or Barry's Tea served, on good days, with Duchy Oatcakes, clotted cream and Rosebud Preserves. Lunch at the shop can include whatever cheese, eggs, yoghurt, and bread you desire. Mongers often bring veg or meat to supplement. I've seen some fine meals made with the breakroom hotplate and panini press.

Lunch and tea at the Arch, however, take workplace culinary endeavors to another level. The cheese team breaks for tea around 10 a.m. Someone mans the Dualit toaster and helpings of butter, cheese, and charcuterie are passed around for noshing. Yesterday, the special treat was German-style pork liver sausage which Mary had made - from her own hogs!

(left: Bronwen and Bill in preparation for another multi-course meal.)

Bill can cook a mean meal with a pocket knife and hotplate. Cured pork products and melted cheese are popular in his repertoire, as are fresh pastas and farmer's market veg. For a special occasion cheesemaker visit, he added cooked fingerlings to melted leeks, baby brussel sprouts, and bacon and topped the mixture with a prodigious amount of gooey St. James (see photo above). It may not be a meal that makes you sprint back to work, but it does encourage you to look forward to the next day's repast.


At 8:28 PM, Blogger Sairbair said...

Hi Lindsey! Love your blog. I got to have one of their divine lunches, too. Quite the spread these guys throw together. Yum! -Sarah in San Francisco.


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