Google chefs host local farmers for "Top of the Crop" event

The event brings Google chefs and local farmers together, showcasing fresh produce

Google has long been known in Silicon Valley for having one of the best employee food programs, which lets employees eat for free at any Google cafe.

Once the cafes close, Google employees can chose from office "micro-kitchens," providing gourmet coffee machines, cold drinks, fruit, yogurt and snacks 24 hours a day.

But Google chefs aren't satisfied with the degree of food perks they serve up, just yet. Executive chefs are working to get more local food into Google's 29 cafes in San Francisco Bay Area by hosting an event it calls, "Top of the Crop."

It brings Google chefs and local farmers together, showcasing fresh produce, so that the two groups can work more closely together to produce meals that highlight fresh local fare.

Google said its local and sustainable program takes produce for its San Francisco Bay Area locations from within 150 miles of Google's main campus in Mountain View, California, and its seafood from within 200 miles.

"We really want to offer an abundance of produce," said Scott Giambastiani, an executive chef at Google. "And that's what Googlers typically ask for... we have a young workforce and sure they like the occasional indulgence but overall they want those healthy choices."

Giambastiani said Google makes 4.5 million meals a year, in Mountain View alone. There are 26 Google cafes in Mountain View and another three in other Bay Area locations.

Still, each chef has the autonomy to select the food items he or she wants to serve at each restaurant location. Giambastiani hopes events like Top of the Crop will encourage chefs to go with local and sustainable ingredients over other choices.

Thirty percent of all the food Google buys is considered local and sustainable.

In addition to Top of the Crop, Google chefs also sometimes visit nearby supplier farms and ranches.

"This has been a lot of fun for our chefs," Giambastiani said. "They can talk to farmers, they can share knowledge and kind of pick each other's brain."

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Kerry Davis

IDG News Service

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