Family meal is Louisville restaurant’s secret tradition

Did you ever stop and think about what the folks cooking or serving your restaurant meals have for their own dinner? They’re working all through the dinner hour, after all.

Unsurprisingly, at many Louisville-area restaurants, a long-standing tradition is for staff to eat together, often before their shift. Known as the family meal, this can be when some of the more interesting, home-cooked style dishes are prepared. It’s also a time for folks to come together outside of the rush and enjoy dining together, just like everyone about to walk in the door will.

And there’s no shortage of approaches, meal types or traditions at local spots.

“Our family meal is served every night before our dinner service. It could be something as simple as hamburger and fries, Asian stir fry, meatloaf, mac and cheese, a casserole, pizza or pasta. Sometimes our kitchen staff will individually cook meals for the entire restaurant staff and other times it is executed by my sous chefs,” said chef John Plymale of Porcini Restaurant, 2730 Frankfort Ave.

The family meal was “first started this to build camaraderie between all our team members. Our conversations could be something as simple as what did you do last night or as complex as someone’s love life; what’s happening in the near future for restaurants; or just a few minutes of quiet time before we go to our nightly service sequence,” he added.

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