Maude’s Journey through the Central Coast
The Maude team caravanned up the coast in late April with an initial stop in Santa Barbara County to tour wineries producing the iconic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of the region while wrapping up day one with a sunset ranch tour on horseback. Handlebar Coffee Roasters was a welcome early morning stop for the culinary team where they met the former professional cyclists who shifted gears, arming themselves with beans from around the world and a German-built coffee roaster. Springtime produce of fava beans and strawberries were picked at local, Fairview Gardens Organic Farm before turning to the sea with visits to The Cultured Abalone and with the only female uni diver in California Stephanie Mutz.
Heading north near Hearst Castle, Jack and Michelle Rudolph of Stepladder Ranch welcomed the culinary team to their dairy and farm. Resplendent with a citrus orchard and avocado grove from which their drove of pigs dine on only the ripe fruit, inspiration for the menu was taken from their beautiful catalog of bloomy and creamy cheese.
Back down at Morro Bay Oyster Company, Curtis and pastry chef, Yesenia Cruz, donned waders while Executive Chef Justin Hilbert dived into a wetsuit to fish up some Pacific Gold oysters that paired with the wine team’s finds. Shucking shellfish at sundown with the backdrop of Morro Rock topped off a perfect day.
Rounding out the trip was a visit to the lab of professor and phycologist, Michael Graham of Monterey Bay Seaweeds, where he farms seaweed specifically for the culinary market and a quick forage of wild seaweed in Pebble Beach. The final afternoon entailed a plucking abalone under the pier at Monterey Bay Abalone Company.Curtis and Executive Chef Justin Hilbert got their feet in the sand and plan to take you along for the journey up the coast with this summer menu.