Waiters and waitresses have to eat too, so most restaurants have a “Family Meal” before the dinner service begins. Family meals stitch the staff together so when there’s a crunch, wait staff will refill water glasses or drink orders even if it’s not “their” table.
Writing about family meals has become in vogue (check out this great family-effort fish taco from Sam Sifton in the Times magazine). But we were inspired to sit in—and chronicle—the family meals at some less expected food and drink businesses, including a farm, a winery and a restaurant.
For the first installation, we went to D’Canela’s, an inviting, Latin cuisine restaurant in Amagansett owned by Luis Aucapina from Ecuador. Here, the staff is family. “My wife and I don’t have kids yet, so I treat my staff like my children,” says Aucapino, who thinks eating together develops a positive spirit.
Kitchen staff cooks the Family Meals but occasionally Aucapina cooks specialties from Ecuador for them. Chicken Quesadillas and Enchiladas with chicken, beef or pork are served frequently as Family Meals. Other staff favorites include Fajitas with shredded chicken with tomatoes and onions, chicken wings with pasta, and posole— a hearty Mexican soup with pork, corn, green tomatillos and jalapeños.
Aucapina does wine tastings with his staff at least twice a year when new wines appear on the menu and occasionally they all have a drink together at the end of the evening when service is over.
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