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Eric Dela Cruz: My Life As a Google Chef

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's a known fact that the employees at Google live a charmed life. Besides massages and Internet-wired shuttles, Googlers are invited to free breakfast, lunch, and dinner each and every day. The Google campus has 17 gourmet cafés, complete with 700 culinary staffers and 20 chefs. Last Friday I was lucky enough to check out some of the cafés — more on that later! — and speak with Eric Dela Cruz, a chef at Cafe 7. To see what his life as a Google chef is like

.

Eric studied culinary arts at the City College of San Francisco. Before Google, Eric worked at Draeger's cooking school and as a chef for Bon Appétit magazine. After sampling some of his fresh, California cuisine, Eric and I sat down to chat. Here is what he had to say:

PartySugar: Why did you decide to work at Google?
Eric Dela Cruz:
Well, I work Monday through Friday. I get weekends and holidays off. I live the chef's dream. Not too many chefs have a schedule that allows them nights and weekends off. One of my old bosses called to tell me Google was hiring and I immediately knew it was right for me. I get to cook whatever I want with the best quality food around. It's really great because we purchase everything top quality and everything we buy has a positive effect on the environment. We buy 100-percent sustainable, local ingredients. There is no pressure to make money on each plate, I don't have to cook what sells. Food is art and Google is my playground.

PS: What is your day-to-day schedule like?
EDC:
I get into the kitchen at 5:45 every morning and start to prep the day's meals. I write a lot of the menus, so I work on those. I answer emails, oversee the arrival of our ingredients. By 6 a.m., I make sure the cooks are prepping the food. The cooks are very important, they are everything. I make sure they know the menus and have decent knife skills. Service starts at 11:30, so we have a couple of hours to make everything. Each day we serve several amuse-bouches, salad and soup bars, a noodle station, two entrées, a veggie station, two pizzas, a sandwich station, and a pastry dessert station. After lunch, we prep for dinner service. I make sure that gets underway with the night cooks and leave around 4 in the afternoon. But we are always preparing, cooking, and serving. In the morning we set out a continental breakfast, lunch service is from 11:30-1:30. At 3 we set out a healthy snack like crudité platters and cheese plates. We have sushi on Thursdays and a full happy hour on Fridays.

PS: Is each café responsible for obtaining their own ingredients or does everyone get the food from some giant Google refrigerator?
EDC:
Each cafe functions individually like its own restaurant. We all get our food from the same providers, but since the menus vary, what we order is an individual thing. In my café, there is a person — the receiver — whose job it is, each morning between 6 and 10, to make sure we receive all of our ingredients. There isn't really much competition between the cafés. Naturally you want yours to be the best café, but really what is special is the variety. You know we have 17 different cafés that make totally distinct types of food. You could eat at a new one for 17 days in a row, that's almost half the month tasting new foods.

PS: How do you feel about the chef who left Google to work for Facebook?
EDC:
God bless the guy. Congratulations and good luck! You know when opportunity comes knocking, you have to answer the door.

PS: What did you eat for lunch today?
EDC:
Nothing. I don't really sit down and have full meals while I am at work. I'm tasting things all day that by the end of the day I am full.

Be sure to check back tomorrow when I take you on a photo tour of the Google cafés!

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Join The Conversation
merie33 merie33 7 years
wow adam..thanks for that informative answer! I'm graduating from culinary school in a year or so, and google definitely looks like something I'd like to look into!
reesiecup reesiecup 7 years
On-site doctors you say? Well, if Google has it's own on-site pharmacy, call me in 2 years when I'll graduate!
Adam-Lasnik Adam-Lasnik 7 years
Just wanted to say some things as a fella who happens to work for Google (but does not speak for Google in this context, much less speak for our awesome chef team!) Yes, the food is outstanding in its variety and quality. And yes, Francoishardly, there is frequently Thai, Japanese, and Indian food. Of equal note, the chef team is amazingly responsive, kind, and friendly. It's kind of like the bar Cheers, but with 18 locations now. Wanting to work for Google? Hell, yeah, you should go for it. No, it's not just people with engineering degrees, and yes, there are many great offices outside of Mountain View. Go check out http://www.google.com/jobs Megln1022, yeah, weight gain can be a problem. While the chefs offer a ton of healthy stuff (some of the cafes even specialize in uber-healthy cuisine), saying no to all the desserts is insanely hard. We have a nickname for the dilemma: "The Google 15" -- a play on the phrase "Freshman 15" which signifies the 15 pounds you can expect to put on when you join college (or join Google). I gained 14 pounds, actually, but luckily started going to our main gym and taking some cardio classes to help out. And also convinced myself that, no, I don't need to try five different desserts from two separate cafes each day :o j2e1n9, yes, you can bring your dog to work, but it's supposed to be an occasional treat for you and your colleagues, not an everyday thing. Since I can't have pets in my apartment, I really look forward to seeing dogs at work! One woman brought this gorgeous Portuguese Water dog -- that was awesome! Wackdoodle... Google has apparently let go folks sometimes when acquiring other companies, but I haven't heard of any "layoffs" in general. And despite some of the awesome perks of Google, I think the company is reasonably frugal. Most of us fly economy class when we travel, and aim to stay in corporate housing not overpriced hotels. And Cvandoorn, while we can get massages and haircuts and such on site, we *do* have to pay for them. Food is free, visits with on-site doctors are free, but this doesn't mean everything else is free, too :). Anyway, partysugar, I thought that was a cool interview and I liked the comments, too. Hope this comment's okay for my first one here :)
catherine1 catherine1 7 years
I have a family member that works at the google campus in Mountain View, you have to remember when a company offers that level of perks, you have to sell your soul to them.... Your identity as well becomes a Google identity.... however, for a short while, I think it would be fun...
catherine1 catherine1 7 years
I have a family member that works at the google campus in Mountain View, you have to remember when a company offers that level of perks, you have to sell your soul to them.... Your identity as well becomes a Google identity.... however, for a short while, I think it would be fun...
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 7 years
A friend of mine tired to get a job at Google and told me about all the perks employees get. He didn't get it and now he works at Microsoft.
Tech Tech 7 years
Such an informative interview Party! Can't wait to see all the pics! Free meals throughout the day AND a "full" happy hour on Friday? Now that is what I call putting the oo back in Google!
girlfriday girlfriday 7 years
This is a great interview. Thanks Yum Sugar! I have a closet dream to go to cooking school - I don't think I'll ever do it, cause I know the real culinary world is not something I could hack - but I always enjoy reading about kitchen behind-the-scenes stuff. Looking forward to reading more of this...
girlfriday girlfriday 7 years
This is a great interview. Thanks Yum Sugar!I have a closet dream to go to cooking school - I don't think I'll ever do it, cause I know the real culinary world is not something I could hack - but I always enjoy reading about kitchen behind-the-scenes stuff. Looking forward to reading more of this...
cvandoorn cvandoorn 7 years
They also get free massages and get to take their pets to work. I also read there's a hair dresser on site, as well as dry cleaning.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Oh...and Google has mass layoffs now too!I'm all for companies offering a lovely healthy cafeteria and some niceties (t-shirt and tote bags and yearly bonuses) but Google went "old school" IPO internet crash crazy with the things they give their employees and now they're all going to pay for that extravagance.The internet company I worked for was making money hand over fist and wasting money too on company ski vacations for everyone, keeping the fridge sticked with expensive beers, free food in the kitchen (not junk food either - full on freshly catered meals for breakfast and lunch), comp'd meals at nice restaurants in our area and bogus monthly bonuses of $200 to $500 for every employee that could recite the company ad copy. Ridiculous. And then our CEO went nuts and decided to run for VP of the US on the Libertarian ticket and offered the company coffers up to any company willing to fund his campaign.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Oh...and Google has mass layoffs now too! I'm all for companies offering a lovely healthy cafeteria and some niceties (t-shirt and tote bags and yearly bonuses) but Google went "old school" IPO internet crash crazy with the things they give their employees and now they're all going to pay for that extravagance. The internet company I worked for was making money hand over fist and wasting money too on company ski vacations for everyone, keeping the fridge sticked with expensive beers, free food in the kitchen (not junk food either - full on freshly catered meals for breakfast and lunch), comp'd meals at nice restaurants in our area and bogus monthly bonuses of $200 to $500 for every employee that could recite the company ad copy. Ridiculous. And then our CEO went nuts and decided to run for VP of the US on the Libertarian ticket and offered the company coffers up to any company willing to fund his campaign.
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
Oh I would love to work at the company, but I'm not in computers, and I live NO WHERE near San Fran. Bummer though, heard it's a great company to work for!
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
Oh I would love to work at the company, but I'm not in computers, and I live NO WHERE near San Fran. Bummer though, heard it's a great company to work for!
Dana18 Dana18 7 years
This is amazing!
Dana18 Dana18 7 years
This is amazing!
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 7 years
Do they need any dishwashers?
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 7 years
Do they need any dishwashers?
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 7 years
I heard you can bring your dogs to work at Google too. Damnit!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
all we had in our kitchen at work today was day old lemon poppyseed mini muffins and a half gallon of OJ
mlen mlen 7 years
wow i want to work for google- that sounds amazing! i'd be fat as a house though!
Food Food 7 years
I've visited the campus before and she's not exaggerating, they have ALL kinds of food. It is an amazing foodie heaven of sorts. ur_momm - they call it a "campus" because there are many different buildings all spread out like a college campus. it's their main office headquarters where everyone from marketing to engineering and everything in between works.
Food Food 7 years
I've visited the campus before and she's not exaggerating, they have ALL kinds of food. It is an amazing foodie heaven of sorts. ur_momm - they call it a "campus" because there are many different buildings all spread out like a college campus. it's their main office headquarters where everyone from marketing to engineering and everything in between works.
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