Balo Orozco ferments funky flavored kombuchas

Hosted by

Fermenting strawberries and fennel flowers into market-inspired kombuchas. Photo courtesy of Sunset Cultures.

Before he was fermenting gallons of kombucha, Guadalajaran-born chef Balo Orozco was cooking in sushi restaurants then running Hartwood in Tulum. While working for Gabriela Camara at the recently shuttered Onda in Santa Monica, he recalls making kimchi and pickles from the food waste in the kitchen. The pandemic inspired him to start brewing kombucha under the label Sunset Cultures.

With flavors like strawberry fennel flower and mandarin carrot, his offerings are anything but ordinary. For his grapefruit rice kombucha, inspired by a sake tasting at Ototo, Orozco sources heritage grain from Koda Farms and uses Buddha's hand citrus.  

Chef Balo Orozco helmed the kitchen at Hartwood in Tulum and for Gabriela Camara in San Francisco and Santa Monica before starting his kombucha project, Sunset Cultures. Photo courtesy of Sunset Cultures.