What will Google do without its chef?

Google has been on a roll, but the search juggernaut might have lost its secret weapon with the departure of executive chef Charlie Ayers. Ayers is packing up his knives and leaving the Googleplex (the outdoor cafe is shown here), where he’s fed gourmet meals to overeager engineers for more than five years. Ayers, who used to cook for the Grateful Dead, was not slinging mystery meat, either: A typical Google lunch menu includes grilled petite New York sirloins seasoned with Creole spices, served with a Crescent City steak sauce and crispy organic onion rings. Google is oddly obsessed with its food, taking time out in its IPO filing to declare that it would continue offering its employees free meals and having Ayers address financial analysts. Google’s taking applications for his replacement.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey