View all posts filed under 'Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes'

Cooking Up A Storm at the Googleplex with Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR

Monday, 16. June 2014 5:25

Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR makes gnocchi in the Google kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Google)

Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR makes gnocchi in the Google kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Google)


How did New Orleans’ Emeril Lagasse influence Chef Matt Accarrino’s career? And just what does this “Food & Wine Best New Chef 2014” winner think of restaurants that don’t make any of their own pasta?

Take a listen as Accarino of the celebrated SPQR in San Francisco answers these questions and more when he joined me in the teaching kitchen at Google headquarters in Mountain View a few weeks ago for a very special event.

Accarrino and yours truly laughing it up in the kitchen. (Photo by Craig Lee)

Accarrino and yours truly laughing it up in the kitchen. (Photo by Craig Lee)

The occasion was a cooking demo in conjunction with my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), to which Accarrino contributed a recipe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, Videos & Podcasts | Comments (7) | Author:

My Q&A at the Googleplex with Pastry Chef Bill Corbett of Absinthe

Monday, 12. May 2014 5:26

Yours truly, interviewing Pastry Chef Bill Corbett, at Google headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Google)

Yours truly, interviewing Pastry Chef Bill Corbett, at Google headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Google)


It’s not every day you get to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View.

But a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to do an event there with Pastry Chef Bill Corbett of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar at San Francisco.

Corbett is one of the more than 50 chefs featured in my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press).

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants, Videos & Podcasts | Comments (4) | Author:

Take Five with Mia Messier, Head Chef for Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem” Show

Thursday, 22. March 2012 5:38

Crew members touch up the stage for Cirque du Soleil's "Totem'' in San Jose.

Mia Messier was a hotel and restaurant chef in Montreal when she decided to run away with the circus.

Not just any circus, but the worldwide phenomenon known as Cirque du Soleil.

Who can blame her?

Now a veteran of nine years with the Montreal-based entertainment company, Messier has traveled with various Cirque shows through more than 25 countries for anywhere from six weeks to a year and a half at a time.

It’s her job to feed the hungry troupe of 52 performers from 20 countries, along with 68 other crew members, while they’re on the road.

Recently, I had a chance to visit her cafe at Cirque’s “Totem” show, now playing in San Jose through April 15.

The fanciful costumes are all hand-made.

Would you believe this got its start as a piece of white fabric?

Light-weight and stretchy.

A mold is made of each performer's head to create these intricate head-pieces.

I also got a quick peek backstage that afternoon with Cirque publicist Francis Jalbert, as crews were touching up the 2,700-pound turtle carapace that is the centerpiece of this particular show. Behind it, a hydraulic stage is flanked by what look like soaring, solid wood reeds. But would you believe they’re actually inflatable, so as to make transporting easier?

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:"Take Five'' Q&A, Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, Restaurants | Comments (11) | Author:

Chowing Down at the 49ers Training Camp Cafe

Wednesday, 31. August 2011 5:25

This big guy marks the spot for the 49ers training camp facility.

In Santa Clara, there is a special café that’s open 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Seven days a week. Year-round. And it feeds a rather burly crowd with extremely voracious appetites.

Welcome to the café at the San Francisco 49ers training camp, located appropriately enough at 4949 Centennial Blvd.

The nearly two-year-old café, operated by Bon Appetit Management Company, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks for free to the football players, staff and sports media. It is not open to the public. But recently, I was invited by team management to take a tour and to enjoy lunch here.

Talk about a hungry crowd; it’s not uncommon for Chef Chad McWilliams to go through 30 pounds of egg whites and 200 pounds of chicken a day here, as he serves up to 250 people at a time.

Bacon-wrapped filet with Burgundy wine balsamic reduction. Oh, and a few crunchy tater tots.

That includes having at the ready 75 protein smoothies (a frothy blend of egg whites, Greek yogurt, honey and fresh berries) when the players come huffing and puffing off the training field. Or stocking the café late at night with plenty of chicken skewers, cold cuts, quesadillas and trail mix when there are evening meetings or workouts.

Practicing after lunch.

The players usually get two hours to eat, then digest, before hitting the field again.

Unlike his previous stint as a chef at eBay, where he cooked a lot of Thai and Indian cuisine, McWilliams’ sticks to more basic meat-and-potatoes fare here, along with plenty of Chinese and Mexican favorites.

“They like comfort food,’’ he says with a smile. “I remember trying out Cornish game hens here once, and that didn’t go over so well. The guys much prefer chicken breasts.’’

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, Health/Nutrition, Restaurants | Comments (14) | Author:

Lunch at Lucasfilm in San Francisco

Tuesday, 28. September 2010 5:28

In the immortal words of Yoda, "Eat we must, first.''

Last week, I dined with Yoda, ET and a Storm Trooper.

They and other iconic characters from mega-director George Lucas’ films were on hand in the form of models, statues and bobble heads when I was lucky enough to step foot inside the Lucasfilm Letterman Digital Arts Center in the magnificent Presidio in San Francisco to enjoy an al fresco lunch.

I say, fortunate, because the sprawling center — home to the special effects powerhouse, Industrial Light & Magic, and the video game producer, LucasArts — is not open for public tours.

Oh, sure, you can snap photos of the Yoda fountain at the entrance, and walk inside the lobby to see a life-size Darth Vader. But that’s as far as you can get unless you get an invitation to the Friday “Friends & Family” day each week. Yup, you have to know someone who works there to get an “in.”

That’s how I managed to get a peek inside last Friday, thanks to my friend Tami of the stylish blog, Fête à Fête, and her fiance, Gio, who is a model builder for Lucasfilm. How cool a job is that? Gio took time out from his busy schedule to show me around.

A model used in the immortal scene in "ET.''

Like many Silicon Valley tech campuses, Lucasfilm has a gourmet cafe on site. But hands down, this one has got to have the most breathtaking view around. Replete with heavy-duty wood chairs and tables on open-air terraces, the Lucasfilm cafe is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. On one side looms the landmark Golden Gate Bridge; on the other, the grand ornate dome of the Palace of Fine Arts that looks so enormous and near, you’d swear it must be a painting. Oh, but it’s not.

Serving up fresh baked pizzas at Lucasfilms cafe.

The roaring pizza oven.

A stir-fry made to order.

While Silicon Valley tech employees often get the perk of subsidized or free meals (Yes, Google, I’m talkin’ about you), at Lucasfilm, employees pay full price. But the quality is so high, not many seem to mind.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Enticing Events, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, Pizza, Restaurants | Comments (27) | Author: