Lessons From The Chef Who Fed Google

BCX Disrupt Summit, 16-17 November 2017, Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre. Book at www.bcxdisrupt.com.

What can the South African business fraternity and tech insiders learn from a chef? Well, when it is ‘the chef who fed Google’ – as Charlie Ayers is best known – then quite a lot, especially when it comes to executing business visions in a way that delivers positive results for both companies and their local communities.

Feeding Google and culinary robotics is the title of Ayers’ talk that he will present at the upcoming disruption innovation conference, the BCX Disrupt Summit, taking place on 16 and 17 November 2017 at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre. Ayers landed his plum job after he won a cook-off in 1999. The contest was judged by Google’s employees, which at the time numbered just 40, and set him up for a career at the tech giant that would span six years.

By the time he left Google in 2005, Ayers and his team of five chefs were serving 4 000 free, gourmet lunches and dinners a day at the company's headquarters in California. He left Google and went on to replicate this model at Facebook and Youtube, publishing a cookbook in 2008, Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef that Fed Google, that exemplified his culinary vision.

The following year, Ayers opened Calafia Café & Market A Go – a neighbourhood spot right across from Stanford University serving organic, sustainable and healthy farm-to-table food. Calafia epitomises Ayers’ idea that ‘being green’ is good for the producer, consumer, environment and local community. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Johnson & Wales University, for his contributions to the culinary arts. Ayers will draw on all these experiences – as well as the lessons learnt through his ongoing work as a private chef, personal chef to the Grateful Dead and consultant to start-up companies – in his BCX Disrupt presentation, which will also look at the emerging area of culinary robotics.

A pioneer in this field, Ayers is part of the team behind Chowbotics, which develops robots for food service. The company’s first product, Sally the Salad Robot, creates custom salads. Ayers will speak on the first day of the BCX Disrupt Summit amongst a line-up of some of the world’s greatest disruptors; the second day features an exclusive masterclass by Malcolm Gladwell.

BCX Disrupt Summit ticket prices are:
General: R8,200 (general access to day 1)
VIP: R16,400 (VIP access to day 1)
Masterclass: R12,200 (access to day 2)
Premium: R18,300 (general access to day 1 and access to day 2)
Premium VIP: R26,400 (VIP access to day 1 and access to day 2)

Further information and bookings at www.bcxdisrupt.com