Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Culinary Internship

Culinary Internship

One of the perks at Google is that if you like the food enough (and trust me, you will!), you can volunteer for a Culinary Internship at one of the cafes. (Yes, you get to choose which one) I've been a big fan of Jeff Freburg's Cafe-5IVE for as long as it's been open, so when the time came, I chose that Cafe.

Being a kitchen newbie, I only had to work half a shift. So I reported to Jeff at 8:30, and after we discussed what was going on, I was assigned to help Kristen with the pastries. Under Kristen's direction, I zested some lemons, then mixed huckleberry, lemon juice, and agave to make huckleberry sauce for the souffle. I then put the sauce on the souffles and racked it in preparation for lunch. I then helped put together the soup for the pineapple dessert cups, scooped ice cream, and loaded the cookie jars (a dream job, if you ask me!).

After that, I got reassigned to the hot line, and helped make some vegan cheese, started heating some cream for tomorrow's macaroni and cheese, and generally got in the way while Fish and Chips were being fried. Then I stood behind the soup station and served visitors for an hour before the rest of my group caught up with me and I took lunch with them.

This was definitely a highlight of my career at Google. I really got to appreciate how hard the kitchen staff worked --- I didn't get to sit down from 8:30 to 12:30, and I was amazed by how hot the kitchen got, and how much got done in so little time. Yet the staff stayed calm, as though they did it every day --- which of course they did! And the equipment. Sure, million dollar data centers are cool, but $100k ovens have an immediate, direct, visceral feel to them that just yell "COOL!"

And of course, nothing beat the satisfaction of having Chef Freburg come to me afterwards and invite me back to the kitchen any time. I'll definitely take him up on it!
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