Corporate cafes have become eclectic, interesting eateries, especially around Silicon Valley. The only problem is that their clientele is usually limited to nearby employees. Not so with Green Hills Café, a corporate café for Central California Alliance For Health in Scotts Valley, which is open to the public as well as to the staff, and offers a surprisingly wide array of menu options. Chef and owner Jason Perez talked to us about their creative menu.
The menu ranges from tacos to yellow-curry-crusted rock cod to beef bourguignon. What inspired the eclectic approach?
JASON PEREZ: My background is pretty varied. I worked in corporate cafes for years. I worked at Google and Cisco and Apple, so I’ve learned a lot of different styles of food. Our concept is we have a captive audience, and we want to keep them coming back as opposed to leaving and going elsewhere. So we want to provide enough of a variety on our menu that people won’t get bored. We try to feature all different flavors from around the world. We’re a café without borders. We’re just trying to be unique and offer a lot of different things.
It seems like you offer even more on the daily specials than on the everyday menu.
That’s what we do. Part of my contract is that I have to provide one vegetarian option and one non-vegetarian option special per day. On top of that, I do a really healthy, fresh salad bar. I have a grill, so I make my own veggie patties, burger, chicken sandwich, things of that nature, and pastries. Stuff like that. It’s unique for a corporate café since we’re open to the public.
How does the produce bar work?
We call it the produce bar because we do a lot of things. We do romaine lettuce, but we also do baby greens and spinach. We also do our own kale—it’s cured here, and we put it on the salad bar. We also cook quinoa. We have that out there. Tofu. A lot of other stuff. We’ll cook our own peas. It’s not canned. Everything is fresh. It’s a fairly good-sized salad bar. The dressings are all made from scratch. It’s always nice to be able to have a coleslaw or corn and black bean salad, something on top of just cucumbers and stuff like that.
1700 Green Hills Road, Scotts Valley. 345-0259.