I have had a rich and wonderful career cooking in foreign countries for royalty and celebrities, but never have I done anything like my opportunity to cook at Google.
Google feeds breakfast, lunch and dinner to about 4,000 employees at their beautiful Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. I was offered a chance to visit the campus and prepare a menu. I took the challenge.
Google headquarters offered valet parking and beautiful grounds complete with volleyball courts rivaling our finest Fort Lauderdale beach courts.
The air is crisp and cool, the buildings are colorful and contemporary with the Google element of whimsy.
Classic Google colors of red, green, blue and yellow are everywhere. The company maintains an onsite nutritionist.
I was shown to the kitchen to begin my food preparation. It's a large, well-equipped kitchen with dozens of cooks. All the food prepared here is a benefit for Google employees whose average age is 25. Unlike a traditional restaurant where stringent food and labor costs dictate the menu, this is a chef's Disneyland where food is born of inspiration and pure love of cooking.
The food is served to thousands of well-educated and savvy foodies. Many of the ingredients are organic and locally grown. There is every imaginable seasonal produce item, the finest natural meats and poultry, fresh fish, lobster, rock shrimp and organic tofu — both Japanese and Chinese.
There is a huge walk-in just for condiments. There are four varieties of Thai chili paste, Indian curries, hot chili pastes from India and Indonesia. There's a storage room for just organic grains, nuts and seeds. I gently caress the bottle of 12-year-old balsamic vinegar and pop a fresh macadamia nut into my mouth.
The ingredients are as diverse as the people who work here. With thousands of young, hip and health-conscious employees to feed, I was in my element.
I was told to make a soup, salad, appetizer, entree, vegetarian entree and dessert. I prepared Steve's Google-icious Menu: Edamame Hummus, Bahamian chicken chowder, sun-dried tomato agnolotti with roasted mushroom fra diavolo sauce, Indonesian seared rock shrimp salad with Asian slaw, Ligurian petrale stuffed sole, giant baked stuffed portobellos with asiago cheese, baked tofu with mango-macadamia crust, streusel stuffed plums with candied ginger and balsamic pomegranate reduction.
The edamame hummus was one of my recipes that everyone seemed to love.