Montalvo Art Center is a private non-profit art center located on a 175 acre estate in Saratoga, CA with a historic villa, two theaters, art gallery, hiking trails, gardens and an artist in residency center. Its mission is to foster community engagement through the creation and presentation of multidisciplinary art. Every year the center invites 15 different artists to stay for 12 months to produce works and give performances to the public.
In addition to musicians, painters, actors, writers and architects, the center awards a culinary fellowship to an emerging chef with a strong interest in sustainable agriculture and cuisine. For a year, the resident is given a nurturing space to explore his or her culinary interests – while cooking for the other artists in residency five nights a week. Michelle Fuerst just finished her year-long residency as the culinary fellow, but before leaving, proposed that the center obtain a wood-burning oven – a cooking device which embodies the values of slow food. Cooking with a wood fire creates a type of ritual around cooking, highlighting the relationship between grower and chef while fostering direct community involvement around the meal, which is Montalvo's mission. Michael Pollan said in a recent NY Times article, “a wood-burning oven is the center of social gravity.”
Concreteworks has been hired to fabricate a custom Nido Oven for Montalvo. Nido Ovens are composed of several parts, the inner shell being a predefined dimension made out of refractory concrete and the exterior shell is flexible in geometry and cladding. The oven for Montalvo will be slightly different than the classic Nido Oven pictured below, and the color is inspired by the stone wall. The oven will be installed this November.
Classic Nido Oven