Facebook Culinary Team Tony Castellucci, Chris Moss, Josef L. Desimone, Virgil Hidalgo
Ever wondered what the typical Facebook employee eats? Are you as curious as I am as to whether Facebook staff is getting a “free lunch” and if yes, what is it?
Yes, you’ve guessed it – one of the most important perks of large Silicon Valley companies is alive and well – free lunch.
Not only is it free but tasty and on a gourmet side, too. In a recent article “What do they eat at Google” we go on to describe what the employees of the tech giant eat on a daily basis and why Google food has become a synonymous with gourmet.
Facebook’s respect for good food is reciprocated. This article is about Facebook’s approach of the matter and what do they feed their staff with. It seems like Facebook, in pretty much the same manner as Google, go way beyond simple sustenance with menu items like venison, boar and Kobe beef burgers, trying to refine and improve the concept. No doubt, the workplace cafeterias (called Café X and Cafe 6) serve better food than most cruise ships.
To build on the trend established by Google, Facebook first employed one of their Sous Chefs Josef Desimone, who in turn took lots of additional kitchen staff from Google.
Desimone, who self proclaimed himself “culinary overlord”, is in charge of planning breakfast, lunch and dinner, five days a week. He entertains himself as much as his diners by experimenting with different themes, from Chinese to Haitian to an all-chocolate menu that featured chilli-ricotta-cocoa ravioli and asparagus with chocolate vinaigrette.
Photo source: Facebook
Never serving exactly the same food twice, Chef Desimone offers unique menus. Meals are structured around cultural or global themes, which change not only daily, but between lunch and dinner. Employees can even make requests. His intent is to constantly offer new and interesting foods while also providing an opportunity for Facebook employees to expand their food preferences and refine their palate. He sees his role as one of providing sustenance while also providing a type of culinary education to employees too.
The feel of the café at Facebook headquarters is a cross between a university dining hall and a hotel buffet. Young, vibrant employees in jeans and T-shirts eat their food at simple white tables with plastic orange and grey chairs, designed to extend Facebook’s overall interior decoration – raw and industrial.
But then, you won’t find paper plates at the Facebook’s staff canteen. Instead, there are reusable melamine bowls and plates, and real coffee mugs. Cookies are baked daily in both low-fat and full fat versions. Food containers feature allergen labels disclosing if they contain seafood, nuts, wheat, dairy or eggs. Many ingredients are organic and sustainable.
You also won’t see lunch and dinner meals served out of huge stainless steel catering containers. Instead, everything is served from colourful Le Creuset pots or plated in individual ceramic ramekins because it’s more visually appealing.
Photo source: Facebook
Number of eating and drinking facilities: seven
The two main cafeterias Café X (main cafeteria) & Cafe 6, plus five unofficial bars: The Shady Lady, Freeze Ultralounge, Pedram’s keg presence, Café Y and Howie’s Keg.
Number of Facebook employees eating each day (Monday to Friday): 800+
Number of chefs cooking for Facebook employees: 60 (give or take a few)
In addition to Josef Desimone (officially: Culinary Overlord, Director), there are two Executive chefs: Tony Castellucci & Dean Spinks, plus a pastry Chef Shanon Burum. Facebook has eight Sous Chefs: Scott Lenau who’s Executive Sous Chef &Purchaser, Virgil Hidalgo, Ezekiel Duru Executive, Dana Shepard, Kevin Ogle, Shane Bondurant, Sanjay Shankar and FN Dave Poth.
Meals served in a single day: 2,300
Food type: International (Afghani, American, Asian Fusion, Brazilian, British, Burmese, Cajun/Creole , Caribbean, Chinese, Cuban, Filipino, French, German, Greek and Mediterranean, Hawaiian, Himalayan/Nepalese, Indian/Pakistani, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin American, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Russian, Singaporean, Spanish/Basque, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese) and mostly organic Monday-Thursday, American comfort food Fridays
Chef Desimone mainly uses local suppliers, goes about 75 percent organic, and estimates that 85 percent of the menu is vegetarian. But within the remaining 15 percent, Facebook eaters can be daring, he says.
Value for money: Unmatched
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and limitless snacks are provided to the staff — all of it for free. And at the office’s many snack bars there is a bountiful supply of bananas, Snickers bars and Vitamin Waters. Even the reception desks are furnished with hefty bowls of Starbursts, Tootsie Pops and Peppermint Patties. Free toothpaste and toothbrushes are also provided in the bathrooms. Make friends with someone at Facebook, and you, too, can partake of the scrumptious offerings that change daily, as employees are allowed to bring guests to dine.
Photo source: Facebook