Backstage at Baadal

What do you like most about working at Google?

  • The people
  • The culture
  • The innovation
  • Baadal

Yup, I’ve heard and said it all!

Baadal is our full-service on-campus Indian restaurant at Google’s Mountain View headquarters. Started a handful of years ago by Chef Irfan the torch has now been taken over by Chef Mahesh and Cafe Manager Carmelo Pullaro. And man are they apt at setting fire to your taste buds with their culinary skills!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a private lunch with the Chefs hosted by Chef Mahesh and his sous chef Francisco. As you may know Indians are know for their hospitality and walking into Baadal that day felt just like I am walking into someone’s home in India. The Chefs greeted us and sat us at a beautifully set table with crisp linen and shining stem wear. A party in our mouths awaited us! Just take a look at the menu:

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We started with a feast for the tongue and the eyes alike. A lip-smacking dose of Strawberry Lassi,

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followed by crispy and tangy Dhai Papdi Chat.

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With out tummies half full we then gorged on delectable Kadai Paneer and Saffron Pulav.

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No Indian meal ever ends without a dose of sweet somethings…in this case Bread ka Halwa that was so perfectly roasted to glory that I had a hard time parting with it.

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I often post pictures of my Mom’s, sister’s and my own cooking but rarely do I talk about the love and labor it takes to get to the final products you see in the picture. The magic at Baadal also wouldn’t happen without the immaculate care the Baadal chefs put into their art. I got the rare opportunity to take a look behind the scenes:

Food safety and guest feedback is King, so much so that reminders are posted all over the walls to remind the Chefs of what makes their way to us Googler’s stomachs and then straight into our hearts.

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For any of you that know me personally I am quite the clean freak but Baadal’s kitchen left even an approaching OCD like me spellbound by how sparkling neat and clean this place was.

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Yeah, so clean that I had no problem letting my jaw drop to the ground!

In case you are wondering what makes Indian food so irresistibly mouthwatering it’s a cocktail of these carefully measured spices that goes into each dish:

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Pictures speak a thousand words, just like these endless tubs of papad

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but we at Google are numbers people at the core. So brace yourself because I learnt some pretty mind blowing stats about the number of mouths fed at Baadal every day and what it takes to do that:

  • Chef Mahesh, Sous Chef Francisco along with 7-8 line chefs, three receivers and one washer run the entire show.
  • On an average day they cook for 1,200 people culminating into Friday Biryani days with 2,000 guests.
  • On Paneer Tuesdays 240 pounds of paneer are ordered in to feed vegetarian and non-vegetarian Googlers alike.
  • Biryani Fridays call for 440 pounds of rice and about 400 pounds of chicken (ouch!).
  • 50-70 gallons of kewra chai smoothly flow down Googlers throats every day.

It would be an understatement to say that this is an incredibly well-run ship. I, and many Googlers, are grateful to the entire Baadal Team for not only making us not miss home but pampering us with the love and care we are used to from our parents in a land far far away from home.

Watch out, Bay Area! It won’t be long until Baadal tops the Bay Area Indian fine dining scene…in case it’s not already up there.

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