Reimagining food

Adobe has found one ingredient in the recipe for happy employees: creative, diverse, food.

Thanks to a growing foodie culture around the world, more and more people are becoming choosy about what they eat, challenging their palates, and consuming in a way that aligns with their values. But Monday through Friday, when the noon hour strikes, office workers everywhere still engage in the same time-honored tradition: hustling out the office door to scavenge a mediocre lunch at a nearby take-out place.

That’s why Adobe has hired its first executive chef, Mirit Cohen, to help the company reimagine its food program.

“Sharing a meal is the oldest form of social networking,” Cohen says. “Even with all of the technology we have in our lives, people still stop and share lunch. It’s a powerful cultural vehicle, and Adobe is making the idea of food within these walls align with the rest of its culture.”

The new gourmet sandwich shop on the San Jose campus was named Layers after the Photoshop feature that was a breakthrough in photo editing when it debuted decades ago. The San Francisco café is being redesigned to reflect the historic building’s heritage as a tool marketplace, with a focus on the various tools employed in the kitchen. (Rotisserie, anyone?) For a family-themed café,  the company will even pepper the menu with employees’ favorite recipes from home.

When your employees come from all over the world, it’s not easy to satisfy every palate. That’s why Adobe’s food program is built around diversity of flavors. The San Jose family café will feature a variety of typical home-cooked fare from Asia, the America, Europe, and India—because “home-cooked” depends on where you call “home.” A Napa Valley-themed gourmet market will feature a huge organic salad bar and small-plate dishes with a Northern California and Mediterranean feel. Layers, the San Jose sandwich shop, will feature sandwiches of the world with made-from-scratch ingredients: locally grown produce, bread baked in-house, and meats smoked onsite.

San Jose Family Café

Diversity also means mixing up the options from day to day.

“We aren’t like a restaurant that you might visit once a month,” Cohen says. “We’re feeding the same people every day, so we’re very focused on variety. Nobody will be bored eating here.”

On-site cafés will focus on healthy fare but also feature plenty of indulgences. Want a good, old cheeseburger? You’ll find an awesome one here. Need a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie or brownie to close out your meal? You got it.

Employees can even take home some new skills to try out in their own kitchens. They can take classes taught by café chefs to learn how to make their own baby food or learn summer grilling tips.

Napa Valley-themed gourmet market in San Jose

“Some companies have a great food program because it improves productivity or keeps the company competitive,” Cohen says. “Those are valid reasons, but they’re not the most important. The most important reason is that we want people to feel cared for when they’re at work. That’s part of our culture, too.”