The culinary experience at 1440 Multiversity is one that extends far beyond a meal. In fact, it is a central tenet of the 1440 journey that provides education, sustenance, connection and inspiration for living well both on campus and at home. All meals at 1440 are mindfully prepared, sustainable and locally sourced from farms and growers within 300 miles of campus. Menus are seasonal, creative, and engaging, allowing guests to connect with the culinary team – and one another – over the simple pleasure of a meal that makes them feel good.
From Joanie's Garden where many edible florals and ingredients grow, to the Teaching Kitchen that provides a foundation of learning about "food as medicine," to Kitchen Table that serves every meal on campus from the heart, the 1440 Culinary Team nurtures each guest of 1440 throughout their stay. Each week the 1440 Culinary Team – chefs, gardeners, and partners – provides a peek inside the latest happenings of all things food at 1440, with some fun thoughts and takeaways to help you live well and eat well wherever you may be.
August 12, 2021: Chef Notes – All About Chilies
Cooking with dried chilies is a unique way to unlock different flavors that fresh chilies don't have. Many fresh chilies have their own type of characteristics such as heat and sweetness, and of course go great for any type of salsa, from the most common pico de gallo to a nice fire-roasted variety. But when it comes to dry chilies, flavors become more complex with different notes of sweet, spicy, fruity, smoky and savory. Having those types of flavors can really become part of great powder, sauce and even a delicious mole.
Getting a good-looking dry chili starts off with any type of chili/pepper such as jalapeño, serrano or poblano. The fun thing about chilies is that when they dry their name changes from what it was when it was fresh.
There was time here at 1440 Multiversity when we had an abundance of fresh chilies. We had several pounds of poblano chilies while our Campus Gardener Mike MacDonald was growing a large amount of both jalapeño and serrano chilies. With those I was able to dry all the poblanos and turn them into ancho chilies which we eventually used in some of our dishes at Kitchen Table. When the jalapeños finally dried, I took time to make an adobo. By placing the chipotles in the adobo, the chilies were able to rehydrate in the sauce and have an extra boost of flavor. We haven't used much of the dry serrano chilies because of their high heat level but when there's a chance to boost the heat of any sauce, we do.
Keep an eye out the next time you are enjoying a meal at Kitchen Table for the addition of these flavors; we hope you enjoy experiencing them as much as we enjoy preparing them!
--Chef Beto Rivas
July 28, 2021: Pastry Chef's Notes – Tips for Great Bread Starter
I first started baking bread about 10 years ago while working as a Pastry Chef for the first time. The restaurant I worked at bought great local bread but I thought it would be so much more exciting to have bread made fresh in house. In the beginning I made some pretty spectacular failures of baguettes and rye loaves that were as heavy and dense as a concrete slab. That same year the Tartine Bread Book came out which highlighted the process by which Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco makes its famous bread. I went from dense bread to making a sloppy sticky mess that couldn't possibly form anything resembling a loaf. I decided to work in a local bakery part-time to learn in person. I learned so much about local flour, sourdough starter maintenance and baking in a wood-fired oven.
After working at that bakery for some time I opened a bakery with some friends in the Santa Cruz Mountains, then went on to work at Manresa Bread where we really put a lot of focus into the quality of local grain, milling flour in-house and incorporating it all into both breads and pastries which I had not seen before. We utilized different varieties of ancient grain I was not familiar with and saw how it affected the flavor and texture of the bread.
I brought those learnings to 1440, and making bread for our campus is such a wonderful catalyst to showcase the amazing local ingredients we are fortunate enough to have so close. We can make a loaf with Ancient Wheat Berries like Einkorn that we mill in-house (with our brand new Komo Mill!), incorporate salt harvested from Big Sur, and use some amazing produce that Gardener Mike grows in Joanie's Garden, all fermented with a sourdough starter that is fed twice a day. Most recently I made a loaf with roasted garlic, rosemary and sauteed garlic scapes from Joanie's Garden. I have my eye on the Poblano Peppers that Gardener Mike has been growing for a fun loaf of bread, and I'm looking forward to serving this and our other creations soon on your upcoming visit to the 1440 campus!
Are you interested in trying your own bread baking? Here are my tips for a great sourdough starter:
Happy baking! I hope my story, and these tips, provide you inspiration to try making your own bread at home.
--Pastry Chef Nicole Sanchez
July 13, 2021: Executive Chef's Notes – How Preserving Ingredients During the Pandemic Turned into an Adventure in Miso
In March 2020, the 1440 campus temporarily closed for public operations due to the pandemic, shifting its focus to philanthropic and community building initiatives. As a result, we had food inventory that would have gone to waste – but instead of going into the compost, our staff looked to fermentation to salvage any food that was left over. One of those fermentation techniques I found fascinating was creating miso. I had made traditional miso in the past, but never with untraditional Japanese ingredients. I walked into our largest refrigeration unit and noticed pounds pistachios, one of my favorite's ingredients. Then looked to our dry storage and noticed a large amount of white beans. The rest is history!
Miso is a key ingredient in Japanese cooking and forms the base of many soups, marinades, and sauces. The paste is typically a mixture of beans, (traditionally soybeans), sea salt, and koji inoculated rice or grain, and depending on the variety of ingredients, miso can be smooth or chunky and is fermented anywhere from 3 months to years.
I decided to create a pistachio and white bean miso using traditional Japanese technique, with the ingredients inspired by our 1440 menu. The process takes patience – lots of patience – in some ways reminiscent of a meditation. Each ingredient needs to be taken care of in a special way: The pistachios were cooked three times to remove any impurities, then hand-crushed to keep their texture. The beans cooked slowly with kombu and water, the water changed three times during the process to make sure no flavors would concentrate from the starches, and the koji rice needed to be dried out and kept in a very sanitary environment to not bloom before being added to the other ingredients. When you combine the miso ingredients the smell is sweet, funky and savory all at the same time. Once incorporated you then pack the miso into tight balls, removing all the air that you can, then stack that mixture in a ferment crock, weighed down before a long snap in a cool dark place.
I chose to ferment my miso for a full year, tracking every three months to see, smell and taste the changes. I was never disappointed through the process as I learned more and more about this ancient technique. I feel gratitude for those who paved the road before me, and all the miso that I had worked with but never knew or appreciated until I started my own. The last three months of the aging were the hardest – like a child the night before Christmas, I could not wait to try the pistachio miso. When the miso hit the one-year mark, I decided to taste it in the most simple way by making a bowl of miso soup. The aroma from the soup was bright, sweet, deep in pistachio flavor and umami forward. This one jar of miso has now inspired the 1440 kitchen to create 12 different misos and counting.
This inspiring technique is one that I will continue to learn from and inspire every kitchen I work in to create new flavors by simply not wasting the beautiful food we procure. A zero-waste kitchen is a focused and hard goal, but we are on our way with inspiring techniques like miso.
--Executive Chef Kenny Woods