Chef-in-a-Box meals at The Forum

People love to share a wonderful dining experience, but nothing really brings people together like complaining about food – whether it be food in a school cafeteria, hospital food, or food at the workplace.

Raul Garcia with Chef-in-a-Box mural
Raul Garcia with his ‘Chef-in-a-Box’ mural

Early in the production in Camden Town, the crew would go out for a pub lunch or go to a nearby pub for dinner if they were staying to work overtime.  As time wore on and as urgency for production grew, the studio started to provide meals in order to keep people at their desks.

The meals started off as half a sandwich and an apple, but the evening meals eventually became more substantial.  The ‘Chef-in-a-Box’ meals came in plastic containers, designed to be spill-proof.  Raul Garcia tested the spill-proofing by turning one of them upside to take a photocopy image.  Soon, a wall of the studio was covered by a mural of take-away meal images.

Pete Western eating Chef-in-a-Box meal
Pete Western enjoying his ‘Chef-in-a-Box’ meal

Of course, the quality of the meals was terrific fodder for the gag drawing artists.  Here are some drawings by Tom Sito and Rej Bourdages.

Tom Sito gag drawing about meals at The Forum Gag drawing about meals at The Forum Rej Bourdages gag drawing 1 about Chef-in-a-Box meals

In spite of the many complaints, there were those who really liked the meals.  Elaine Koo told me, “The meals that were brought in were hot and lovely.”  She had worked in circumstances that were not nearly as professional and pleasant, so she felt, “it was like sharing an apartment rather than a workplace.”  Indeed, the crew developed a ‘community’ that remains special to them 30 years later.