At Per Se, the importance of staff meal takes on an almost religious intensity. "The fascination was simply in seeing how ingredients were alchemized, how that same English cucumber, vacuumed, compressed and barely recognizable in a Sunday-night salad, became the dice in a fine, simple yogurt sauce Monday afternoon for a North African family meal of lamb and falafel." I loved staff meal when I worked in a restaurant. We were always trying to one-up each other with what we could come up with based on left-overs and what we could use. Stuff like fish was off-limits because of its cost, so it forced everyone to be creative, but also experimental.