Staff, a cookbook by Brad Carter

The  Staff Canteen

When Brad Carter, chef owner of Carters of Moseley in Birmingham was asked to create a cookbook of recipes from the restaurant, he wasn't sold by the idea. 

What started as a way of populating the Michelin-starred restaurant's Instagram stories with fresh and fun content became his inaugural book, Staff, which he hopes will be the first of three. 

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In an interview with the Staff Canteen, chef Brad Carter explained that unlike many restaurants, where staff dinner tends to be "a bowl of rice and a difference sauce each day," at Carter's, the team sit down at 5pm everyday, not unlike a family would for the kind of meal most of  us would happily pay for. 

"We eat as well as the guests but in a different way, using cheaper cuts," the chef explained, because he doesn't believe that staff should eat badly while guests eat high-quality meals.

"They commit 95 percent of their lives to working in the restaurant they choose to work in and I own the restaurant so I make sure that it's a nice place for them to be."

And so, instead of product posts on their Instagram account, the team started sharing pictures and videos of them preparing staff meals and eating it. 

It proved so popular that they eventually decided to include recipes; this is where Brad had the idea for Staff. 

Not your bog standard cookbook

Rather than a collection of recipes he cooks at the restaurant, the chef wanted his first book to be accessible, funny and reflective of his life and career where it is now.

The magazine-style book tells the story of the chef’s humble beginnings, how he made up for not wanting to fit the academic mould with stoicism.

In the face of necessity, Brad started working in a pub kitchen so that his  mom didn't have to work three jobs to support him.

The book  is a visual ode to his raving days when the chef toyed with the idea of being an MC while he half-heartedly learnt how to cook. 

It testifies of his love for Birmingham and the friends he has made over the years, from local artists to suppliers and the people whose financial support allowed him and his partner Holly to fulfil their dream of having a restaurant of their own. 

The book tells a story of fusional, warm, lifelong relationships interwoven with food, and the chef believes that is this familiarity that appeals to the public.

People have asked to eat the Staff meals on the restaurant’s Instagram account, offering to pay for these instead of the Michelin-approved tasting menu.

"We have to sometimes clear the food from the restaurant and we'll say: 'how was it' and they're like 'ah how was your kebab you had earlier, was it nice?' "

"We put hours and weeks into some of the dishes and they're asking about the staff food," he laughed. 

The chef already has his next two books in mind, all three of which are a nod to The Prodigy albums (Experience, Fat of the Land and finally Music for the Jilted Generation). 

"The last one will be everything in the kitchen sink - all the dishes from Carters and whatnot." 

"This is celebrating what we've achieved here, who the people who work here are and the things that we go through everyday."

"But I've gotta sell a lot of these ones first," he joked. 

Once he's done with the book signing events - including one this Sunday, 9th June 2019 at Carter's -  the chef is planning on opening the restaurant on a Sunday for a three-course, several sitting dinner, serving recipes from the cookbook. Until then, leave your "I'm in it to win it" comment below for a chance to win a copy of Staff!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th June 2019

Staff, a cookbook by Brad Carter