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Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google Hardcover – April 21, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In a cutting edge cookbook for the Internet generation, Google’s legendary founding super-chef, Charlie Ayers, tells you everything you need to know about the newest nutrition buzzword: brainfood. He outlines the basics on how the right foods can transform your mind and body, and then teaches you how to stock your kitchen with the healthiest foods available. Raw, organic, and fermented is Charlie’s mantra, which is reflected in more than 90 easy-to-prepare recipes, whether it’s a Kick-start Breakfast, a Power Lunch, or a Light, Bright Dinner. And, following the world-famous formula Charlie used at Google headquarters, the meals and snacks are designed to feed your brain exactly what it needs at different points throughout the workday. From hipsters looking to think more creatively to high-fliers who need that extra edge for success to new moms and dads, looking to repair the damage of myriad sleepless nights, Food 2.0 has the recipe for delicious food for sharper thinking no matter who you are or what you do.

From Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google: Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus chilling
Cook Time: 6—8 minutes

1 lb (450g) good-quality ground lamb
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 artisan-style hard rolls
4 small handfuls of baby spinach leaves

For the marinated onions
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp unrefined light brown sugar

For the sauce
2 inch (5cm) piece of English cucumber, coarsely grated
¼ cup Greek-style plain yogurt
¼ tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

• Put the lamb in a bowl and add the garlic, cloves, cumin, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined, then shape into four burgers. Chill until ready to cook.

• Mix the red onion with the vinegar and sugar. Let marinate while you prepare the sauce. Squeeze the cucumber to remove excess moisture, then mix with the yogurt, garlic, mint, and a little salt and pepper. Chill.

• When ready to eat, heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan. Sprinkle burgers with a little kosher salt and brush with olive oil. Cook the burgers until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes on each side.

• Meanwhile, split the rolls and toast them. When the burgers are cooked, assemble your creation with baby spinach leaves, tzatziki sauce, and the drained marinated onions.

From Publishers Weekly

While working in California as the executive chef for Google, Ayers came to believe that we can all eat delicious, clean, fast cuisine that is good for us, good for the community, and good for the Earth. In his first cookbook, Ayers shares recipes that fed the young minds at Google for more than six years as well as tips on eating, shopping and cooking smart. Ayers isn't telling readers anything new, but his clear and concise recipes are inspiring. The Smart Pantry section includes lists of Ayers's favorite vinegars, oils and grains, and includes creative recipes for homemade condiments like Chutney-Yogurt Crust for fish, Roasted Jalapeno Ketchup, and Flavor Cubes, such as one made with carrot juice, eggplant and garlic puree frozen in ice trays and used to add quick flavor to soups or sauces. The Smart Recipes section offers such original recipes as a Jade Smoothie, made with cucumber, apple cider and lemon sorbet, and Dragon Breath Noodles, with peanut butter, ginger and honey. Photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing; First American Edition 2008 edition (April 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756633583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756633585
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Way back in 1999,Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided they didn't want their employees falling asleep halfway through the day because of poor choices at lunchtime. They wanted fresh, energy producing foods to be prepared for their workers and they hired Charlie Ayers, former caterer for The Grateful Dead, to do it. He did that and more, and when he left in 2005, he was serving up meals to 1,500 people a day and overseeing 10 cafés and 150 employees.

Now on the verge of opening his own restaurant, Calafia Café and Market a Go Go, in Palo Alto, California, Charlie Ayers has also released a new cookbook, Food 2.0 - Secrets From the Chef Who Fed Google.

This book is perfect for a Deadhead, food lovin', organic eatin', Internet junkie like me. I totally relate to everything written and feel much more relaxed about my food choices. I always feel like there's a hard line there between vegetarian and omnivore, organic and non-organic, but Charlie has set down a brand new line somewhere in-between it all that just makes SENSE. He urges everyone to "go organic" without beating us over the head with dos and don'ts. There's just common sense and Charlie's own preference, followed up with the reminder that we all need to do what is right for ourselves.

Charlie has a real-life non-nonsense "parent" approach to many things, especially about frozen food - stuff I've been doing for years, but was afraid to share for fear that the hardcore "only from fresh" crowd would shun me. From his feelings on olive oil and his "4 best herbs to grow at home" (the very four I have growing right now) to the section on pasta and his thoughts on why we should eat organic, we are very like-minded.
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Format: Hardcover
Charlie Ayers has done for food approach what Google did to the interwebs when Sergei and Larry decided to take information already out there and make it more user-friendly. Thus ends the parallels between this cookbook and Google which, through innovative thinking, gave a talented chef a venue to bring fresh, simple food to hungry people.

This is a brilliant cookbook, but not necessarily for its recipes. What makes it remarkable is Charlie Ayers' holistic approach to dining:

- Buy local when you can because it's the right thing to do (and this is coming from a Conservative with a capital C);

- Eat well but mostly plants because it's good for your body (and, as someone continually struggling to lose weight that's a tip I'm taking to heart);

- Make your own "fast food" by preparing in advance through "flavor cubes" and freezer storage and both your waistline and bottom line will thank you for it (and haven't we all been at the point where a run to McD's seems easier than making something that's actually good for us?); and

- Indulge in the sensations of home-cooked food, from the fun of shopping and preparation to consumption (something which definitely appeals to the foodie in me).

We need more chefs who think like this. Thank you, Charlie. This is truly a masterpiece!
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Format: Hardcover
For most Americans the cubical is little more than a prison with bi-monthly paychecks and a nice 401K. They are shabby ersatz rooms of false walls covered in nondescript synthetic fabric with little to differentiate one from the other. Any given cubical could belong to a paralegal, claims adjustor, or travel agent. Not so for the folks at Google, the world's number one Web site.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided way back that their company would redefine the office environment for the 21st Century. Google employees enjoy a very loose (i.e. comfortable) dress code, amazing benefits, and they can even bring their pooches to work. Page and Brin are full of outside-the-cubicle thinking.

Take lunch for instance. The chief Googlers decided that the common model, half an hour to gorge on processed foods, was bad for productivity. The partially hydrogenated, high-fructose diet of the average American is the root of our societal obesity crisis. Fast-food drive-thrus, all-you-can-eat buffets, and chain restaurants are the leading culprits in this epidemic. Again Google would be different.

Page and Brin sought out a chef to custom design the menu at the Google commissary so that workers would not be sluggish. The menu had to be healthy for sure, but it also needed to be more than that, it needed to be empowering. Chef Charlie Ayers's brain food was considered a secret to the early success of Google. And everything that came rolling out of "Charlie's Café" was free to every employee. Those years spent feeding the brains of Google have now manifested themselves into Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google.

Ayers's innovative concept for food that not only serves the body but fuels the mind begins with what he calls the "Big O.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for the wrong reason. I've had Charlie's catering. He came to Tattered Cover in Colorado for a reading, and well, I had to be there. Charlie and his sweetie Kimmie are awesome people I wanted to support.
I never realized HOW good a cook (and at heart, I'd rather have a good cook than a bad chef) he was until we hired him for one New Year's shindig in Denver, but I remember the drool-worthy Google menu coming out on a listserv for Zero. As I was living on rice and ramen, I cursed him everyday.
I assumed I'd have a cookbook that was pretty to look at but would not see much use.
This book is a keeper, aside from the above mentioned Red Page of Doom and the inability to get the shots in focus (and what is up with the parsnips page? Every time I flip past it I hear "One of these things is not like the others" in my head).
Get this book for the granola recipe alone. The Google hot sauce is a bonus (and really is good with a peanut butter sandwich)and is easily made vegetarian (the original has fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce).
Then make two dishes each week.
Yes, the photography leaves a bit to be desired, although the journalistic shots capture Charlie's spirit well.
I hope a redesign is in the stars for this one.
Pick it up, pour a handcrafted beer or kombucha and enjoy reading through it a time or two before diving in as a cook.
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