A cookbook, a cause, a community

Here at Box, we love food. One of our most beloved employee perks is our dining program. Over the years, this benefit has taken a few forms - from boxed lunches when there was just a handful of Boxers, to daily catering, to today, when we have an in-house cafeteria with a full staff and our own Executive Chef Philippe Routhier, overseeing operations.

Our kitchen staff colleagues are the greatest benefit of having our own kitchen. The kitchen staff brings to Box new forms of creativity and experimentation. Like so many other teams at Box, they bring expertise from across the world, and we do our best to simply create an environment in which this expertise can flourish.

Box Culinary's latest creation: a cookbook. The cookbook profiles several of our kitchen staff members, their culinary origin stories, and their favorite dishes from home.

Diversity & inclusion are at the forefront of how we create and foster organizational structure. So we wanted to embrace all the different cultural influences that each of our employees bring to Box and how they got here, thus showcasing their skills in a new and vibrant way. Each chef brings color and joy to our daily lives here in the Box kitchen, and we wanted to translate that into pictures and words and flavors to be savored. All proceeds of the cookbook will support pro-bono legal services of La Raza Community Resource Center in San Francisco, a non-profit that supports and defends San Francisco immigrant communities.

We created this cookbook to celebrate and honor our kitchen team. Bringing food prep in-house has redefined our company culture. We now have visibility into how our food is sourced, ensuring that all of our ingredients are organic, seasonal, sustainable, humane, and as local as possible. By producing our own meals, we can fine-tune production based on employee tastes. Our chef and cooks know what Boxers like, and they know how to challenge palates in new and exciting ways, while prioritizing mindful food sourcing.

Under the management of Chef Philippe and Executive Sous Chef Joe Bintz, the professional growth of kitchen staff members is also a priority. Each staff member is encouraged to practice different techniques in cutting, seasoning, and cooking. Staff members also get exposure to food ordering, catering, and other culinary operations. Knowledge is never silo-ed. The goal is that each and every employee should spend their days deepening and widening their own culinary skill set, while producing phenomenal lunches and dinners for the entire company using the best local, sustainable ingredients.

The chefs also encourage staff to extend their development beyond the kitchen by taking on mentors from other Box teams. If a kitchen staff member has a long-term goal of running their own restaurant, he or she might find a business-savvy mentor from Box's Business Development or Sales teams. Some kitchen staff members' first priority is to improve their English, so they find a mentor who can work with them on language skills. Other staff members might not be certain that working in the culinary world is their long-term path, so they find mentors who can help them with general professional skills, such as interviewing and writing resumes. Or, they might find a mentor who shares a part of their identity (for example, Latinx or female or queer), who can share wisdom on the unique struggles and gifts of that identity.

In return, the kitchen staff has an open invitation extended to non-culinary Boxers. Engineers and accountants alike can come back and learn how to properly fillet salmon, how to roll sushi, or how to form the perfect pupusa. Many teams spend time in the kitchen as a group, learning to prepare an entire meal together. We also have an herb garden open for the enjoyment of everyone.

At Box, there is no wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the company. Every Boxer, whether in the kitchen or at a desk or roaming the halls, is a colleague, a partner, and a friend. To that effect, we're so grateful to the management team at Imagine Culinary Group for working with us to create a culture of openness and learning in our kitchen.

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