Monday, May 12, 2008

Google's first chef to open restaurant in Palo Alto

When he started as the chef for a fledgling Mountain View company called Google, Charlie Ayers cooked for 40 people out of a tiny kitchen.

By the time he left six years later in 2005, Ayers supervised seven cafes serving 5,000 employees daily, plus guests. Inside his kitchens, cooks rocked out to the Grateful Dead and Phish, blasted out on a Bose sound system.

"We cranked the hell out of that thing," Ayers said on Friday, back at Google to talk about his recently released cookbook, "Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google."

These days the San Carlos resident still draws quick parallels between music and his cuisine.

"I consider the way I cook like a culinary jam session," said Ayers, who describes his style as focused on fresh and local ingredients, prepared by healthy methods.

Non-Googlers will soon get the chance to taste his food when Ayers opens the Calafia Cafe and Market a Go Go in Palo Alto's Town and Country Village. Though slated to open this spring, the prepared-foods shop and adjoining cafe with a technology spin will now likely open in November, Ayers said.

He chose to start his own restaurant in Palo Alto because more than a few locals have tasted his cuisine.

"This is where my fan base is," he said. More>>