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Employee Profile: Niles, Clif Culinary FOH Coordinator

Name: Niles

Title: Clif Culinary FOH Coordinator

Hire Date: 3/2015

How would you describe what you do to someone who knows nothing about Clif Bar or your role?

I get to engage with some of the coolest coworkers a company can ask for. I handle the FOH (Front of House) and the system’s backend for our in-house Kali’s Kitchen and Rifugio Café. In the mornings pre-COVID, I worked on menu development and food prep for our lunch service. A few days a week I got to adventure upstairs to our Café and help with the barista section. This allowed me to make “The BEST” cappuccinos and lattes Clifsters could get (just don’t tell Navi, the head barista, I said this). For the remainder of the day I get to help provide delicious meals and work on a team of individuals who love to think outside the box and develop awesome dishes.

What do you love most about working at Clif Bar?

Honestly, the thing that has kept me around is Thursday breakfast (ha-ha Just kidding...). The people and the Clif spirit are why I love Clif Bar. Clif Bar stands for so much to me. It stands for friendship, community, hard work, and family. Every day is a new adventure and being in such a friendly environment where people work together collectively and cohesively with smiles on their faces is what I enjoy every day.

What are your interests and passions outside of work?

Outside of work, food is my interest. Instead of cooking it, eating is my passion. I did not get this big from not eating (LOL). I enjoy traveling and the outdoors. I like participating in sports, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding to name a few, and spending time with my wife (she made me say the last part).

What is one of your most memorable food experiences?

One of my most memorable food experiences was during a trip to Italy with my mom. We stumbled upon a local restaurant in Venice. Once we sat down and began to order, we got the feeling the staff didn’t seem as though they liked tourists very much. The waiter was quite rude and did not want to answer any of my questions. He seemed like he barely wanted to take the time to take our order. The food arrived and the pappardelle I ordered was AMAZING!!! So, what did I do, I “bothered” the waiter. I called him over and expressed my joy for their pasta dish. I started asking for more pasta and more sauce. Each time he came back, I threw out more questions about the techniques they used and their processes of making the dish. After three huge plates of pasta and 30 questions later the waiter seemed like a completely different person. He was super friendly and talkative. He even gave me a tour of their kitchen and I got to meet the lovely women in charge of making that wonderful dish. This is a memorable food experience because it shows that food brings people together and allows individuals, even if they don’t speak the same language, to communicate and understand each other.

What is one of your most memorable Holiday food experiences?

Every year my brothers and I all gather and cook up a storm for our family during the holidays. A few years ago, I decided to take charge of the main dish and I made a 26lb prime rib for my family for Christmas. I slow aged the prime rib for 2 weeks, which helped condense the flavors and helped the proteins in the meat become more tender. On Christmas morning, just like most kids run down to see what’s under their tree, I ran down to the kitchen to see how my prime rib looked. I then placed it in my oven and slowly roasted it for 10 hours on very low heat. The final product was a thing of beauty. Probably the best prime rib I have ever eaten... I’m sorry to say, but House of Prime Rib tasted like Sizzler compared to that. It was such a special moment to hear how everyone in my family enjoyed it so much.

What is one of your most memorable Holiday memories?

I think my most memorable Holiday memory was coming down on Christmas morning and having all my family there in one place. It was awesome to have my sister, all my brothers, my mom and grandparents together.

What has been or will be your greatest adventure?

My greatest adventure is and will be figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s something that’s unknown, it’s something that’s scary yet exciting at the same time. Will I stay in food, who knows, maybe...? Can I be the next Gordon Ramsey? Eh, I don’t cuss that much! Will I become a doctor, not likely, but still a possibility. Is it possible that I create a Big and Tall selection of clothing and be the next Giorgio Armani? It is such an unknown, but only dedication and hard work will help with this adventure.