Maybe its the simplicity of the food—I do seem short on time these days—and those staff meals were always last minute affairs, prepared by whoever had enough time between filling straggling lunch orders and prepping for dinner rush.
Everyone had their specialty, the one thing they always made. I was always pasta, Oaxaca was always Chilaquiles, Antonio hamburgers, and Alejandro chard tacos.
Alejandro was stealth in his cooking. You’d be working, thinking about how starving you were and the next thing you knew he’d be handing you a plate of warm tacos. Sometimes he would beef them up with mushrooms, roasted butternut squash, or potato, but often they were simply braised swiss chard with lots of chile flakes and a generous sprinkling of queso fresco on top to cool the heat. He would slowly braise the rainbow-stemed greens with sweet onions and garlic while warming the corn tortillas over the wood-fired grill. We would eat them as quickly as possible, juice running down our arms into our chef coats.
There was something incredibly satisfying about those ten minutes of the day when we were all silent, hovering over our tacos, thinking our own thoughts. Inevitably one person would finish, toss their plate in the dish pile and it was back to work.