You might want to be careful when reading the recent LA Times article about Thunder Parley, the Google staffer who’s making a name for himself by critiquing the offerings at various cafés and restaurants on the company campus. To read this article is to hear all about the free meals the tech giant offers its employees. For an office dweller wondering which boring local joint he is going to patronize yet again for lunch, or a freelancer trying to figure out what leftovers to cobble together to make a proper meal, this may just be more than you want to take on. I don’t know about you, but free “slow-cooked beef daube” doesn’t show up on my regular lunch menu.

Once you get beyond that, you might appreciate Parley’s story of going from a childhood of SpaghettiOs and Life Cereal to black truffles and foie gras. He’s become so influential that he now sits on the hiring committee for new Google chefs. Current chefs compete to try to woo him into their restaurants (the farther the café from Parley’s cubicle, the “greater the bragging rights”). “You’re kind of blessed if you have Thunder in your building,” says one of the chefs.

Nah, that’s pretty annoying too.

I guess the rest of us can take comfort in the fact that we don’t run the risk of gaining the “Google 15”—the 15 pounds new employees pack on once they begin being plied with all that free gourmet food.

OK, that makes me feel a little better.

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