Nearly everyone on Google Inc.'s sprawling campus here knows Thunder Parley, at least by reputation. But it's not his unusual name, outgoing personality or skills as a software engineer that make him stand out.
He is the most famous foodie at a company that takes gastronomy nearly as seriously as Web-search algorithms.
Parley was raised in a small New England town on Life cereal and SpaghettiOs. He used to think Taco Bell was authentic Mexican fare, and he never ate salmon except out of a can.
But now he draws crowds to dishes offered in Google's 17 cafeterias by championing them in reviews he posts to an internal e-mail list about food. Many of Parley's personal favorites, such as a brined, slow-cooked beef daube, find their way into regular rotation. He described a sweet concoction known as the Google bar in such mouthwatering terms that 600 vanished in half an hour.