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Family dinner Trullo
Photograph: Andy Parsons

The magic of family meal: the food that fuels London's restaurants

Written by
Rose Johnstone

Head chef and co-owner of Trullo, Conor Gadd, takes us behind the scenes at one of the team’s pre-service dinners

The staff meal is the only opportunity our team gets to sit down and catch up. It’s really important – we take it very seriously. If I see someone working during the staff eating period, I’ll give them a bollocking.

We do it twice a day: breakfast at 11am and then dinner at 4.45pm before service. There are 12 of us in the morning and 18 to 20 at night. Everyone – the chefs and the floor staff – sits down for 15 to 20 minutes. In my kitchen, the chefs love cooking staff food as they can make whatever they want (within our budget!). It’s an opportunity to experiment. A lot of them have spent time in India and they love cooking curries. Gnocchi is on the restaurant menu at the moment, so for the staff meal we’re doing amazing things with potato skins. We have a guy leaving soon, and he’s asked for vegan burritos on his last shift.

One of the main requirements for cooking staff food is sustenance. You’re not going to cook soup for people who are on their feet all day. For me, comfort food is sitting round the dinner table knowing that, for 15 minutes, you’re in your sanctuary. We’re family here, and families bicker, but if there are any problems we can always talk it out at the table.

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