The People Behind the Beloved Gapeteria

Gap Inc.

Let’s be honest, food is an important part the day and at Gap Inc. headquarters, there’s no shortage of phenomenal fare.

With four corporate cafes – three in San Francisco and one in New York – also known as the Gapeteria – it’s easy for employees to become foodies. Ingredients are locally sourced from produce distributors like Feed Sonoma, a co-op that brings together a hundred plus local farms that distribute only the highest-quality, seasonal ingredients.

Strategically situated with sweeping views of the bay and the New York skyline, the Gapeteria is the place to grab breakfast, lunch, and everything in between. Inviting faces and breakfast familiarities are a great start to the day – executed by a crew of seasoned chefs and line cooks.

To find out a little more about what goes on behind the scenes in the café, we interviewed Ashley Nicole Cooper, line cook at the 2 Folsom Café; Garrett Benedict, Chef at the 1 Harrison Café (pictured above); and JuYang (Young) Li, Sous Chef at Mission Bay.

Here’s what we learned:

Merging their love for food and creating feeds their soul.
Chefs have creative control over the menus with little restraint from the executive chef. Garrett’s favorite dish, the Bomba Salad, originated from his love for fresh ingredients and a fellow employee’s reaction of this “bomb” dish – hence the name. Every Tuesday morning, Ashley whips up an unconventional breakfast – now dubbed “Totchos” – which includes tater-tots, scrambled eggs, choice of protein, nacho cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

They provide lots of options.
Each Gapeteria has a variety of stations, unique to the location. From fresh salad bars featuring seasonal veggies to a pop-up serving dishes like tikka masala to an all-vegetarian station with new specials each week, there’s no shortage of choices. And of course, each café has the good stuff too, like artisan sweets from the best local bakeries and locally-sourced coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee and Sightglass, to name a few.

The chefs all have a different story.
The cafe employees all come with a unique set of skills and experiences. Prior to Gap Inc., Young attended culinary school fulfilling his love of cooking that was fostered by his father. Garrett recently joined Gap Inc. by way of the restaurant industry working at notable eateries including Al’s Place in San Francisco. Ashley’s experience as a waitress and passion for cooking brought her to Gap Inc. five years ago and she’s never looked back.

Their service is top notch.
Their passion lies not only in the food they serve, but the service they provide. There’s an infectious energy walking into the Gapeteria that’s begins with the people that work there. With hundreds of employees, Ashley never misses the mark – recalling people’s “usual order” and their names while Young’s passion for serving people keeps him coming back after 11 years with Gap Inc.

Lastly, because they probably know best, one couldn’t help but ask our chefs …  “What is your favorite restaurant in the bay area?” They said, Rich Table, Horatio’s, and Roy’s.

Interested in working in one of our corporate cafes? Check out our jobs.

Pssst. The work-life balance is hard to beat!

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