DUNNING — With vacation music on and decorations lining the partitions, staff at Eli’s Cheesecake Firm took a break to refill on desserts constituted of their coworkers’ household recipes and get their palms on a cookbook just lately printed by the corporate.
The Tuesday vacation occasion, held at Eli’s bakery at 6701 W. Forest Protect Drive, celebrated the corporate’s staff and the fortieth anniversary version of the Eli’s Cheesecake Cookbook, printed in September with 100 recipes. This yr’s version options eight recipes submitted by staff.
Almost 200 staff obtained to style dishes from Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Congo, Kosovo and United States whereas studying about their coworkers’ cultures.
Antonio Rivera, who’s from Mexico, has labored at Eli’s for 22 years — and his spouse and their two youngsters work there, too. Once they have been requested to submit a recipe from their household, it was a simple selection, Rivera mentioned.
The household’s recipe is arroz con tres leches, a candy rice pudding recipe. What makes it particular is the three forms of milk — most individuals solely use one, Rivera mentioned.
“My spouse’s mother used to make it once we have been in Mexico,” Rivera mentioned. “Then we might make it for our youngsters. So once they requested for a household recipe, we knew the right one.”
Rivera is the pinnacle chef for the cafe at Eli’s and usually cooks for his coworkers. He mentioned he’s honored to have a household recipe within the cookbook to share his tradition with a wider viewers.
Maureen Schulman, a co-writer of the cookbook, needed to discover a strategy to spotlight the corporate’s love for meals whereas showcasing its range. She mulled over the thought of asking Eli’s staff for recipes for about three years earlier than placing it into motion, she mentioned.
The part of the e book known as, “The Tales That Made Us, The Recipes That Formed Us.”
“We wrote a wholly new chapter as a tribute to our group members from world wide,” Schulman mentioned. “Particularly within the vacation season, meals unites us, and it is a nice instance of it. They’re sharing their tradition; they’re sharing their recollections of once they grew up.”
The chapter options recipes for Puerto Rican caramel flan, cherry pie with a gluten-free crust, sugary puff puff balls from The Congo, a caramel milk cake from Kosovo and a Mexican no-bake cake with layered fruit, cream and biscuits; amongst others.
Elias Kasongo, who’s from The Congo and has labored at Eli’s for 28 years, submitted his grandmother’s recipe for vitumbua, also referred to as puff puffs. The sugary, fried delights have been treats he grew up on, and now his spouse makes them at house each week.
Kasongo mentioned being a part of Eli’s cookbook — and attending to share his household recipe with the employees — is a reminder of how a lot the corporate embraces range and its workforce.
“It jogged my memory of how lovely this place is that wherever you come from, you keep in mind if you have been youthful …,” Kasongo mentioned.
These values of giving again are instilled in Eli’s enterprise mannequin, mentioned firm President Marc Schulman, whose father opened the favored household restaurant, Eli’s The Place For Steak, in 1966 and began the Eli’s legacy. His father was additionally the brains behind a number of the firm’s signature cheesecakes, which he debuted in the restaurant in 1978.
Rising up within the restaurant trade together with his father, Marc Schulman mentioned the 2 values he was taught have been to “deal with the opposite as in case you are the opposite” and “charity won’t ever bust you.” The corporate usually partners with local charities and food banks to present again to the group and created a GED program in partnership with Wright Faculty to combine college students into the meals enterprise.
In a time of worker shortages and elevated gross sales partly as a result of pandemic, Schulman mentioned it felt further particular to honor his staff with the cookbook and the vacation occasion. He likened it to “yearbook day” in highschool as a result of everybody was desirous to get their books signed by the authors and featured cooks.
“We attempt to honor our individuals,” Schulman mentioned. “That’s what makes the product specialm is the dedication, the historical past and the commitmen. t… We now have a devoted workforce, and that has allowed us to develop.”
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