in downtown boulder, colorado, stores and restaurants are often painted exuberantly, like snowboards and tie-dyed clothing. The Kitchen, which opened in 2004, is just the opposite. It is all about restraint.
The meticulous storefront facade is gray and brown, with a small white sign that looks like an old-fashioned calling card. It reads: the kitchen . In every way, The Kitchen 9s message is no excess.
The restaurant, a light and airy loftlike space with just a few chandeliers for decoration, has one of the most progressive recycling programs in the country. It recycles or reuses nearly 100 percent of its cdiscards. d Eco-Cycle, a Boulder-based nonproEt, collects its recyclables and composts all of its food waste 4bones, eggshells, meat trimmings, food left over on plates. Even the napkins, menus, takeout containers (sugarcane-based), garbage bags (cornstarch- based) and toilet paper are compostable.
When I recently met Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson, the owners of The Kitchen, they were showing off their new compostable straws. cYou could throw these straws into a garden, d said Musk excitedly. Just about the only stuff they put in the trash right now is petroleum-based products like plastic wrap.
At The Kitchen, trash has almost become obsolete, like wooden ... more. less.
tennis racquets or cell phones the size of ciabattas. If you walk by the restaurant late at night, you will see the staff at the long communal table, collectively making sure none of the leftover food and wine goes to waste. cWe give the staff all the food and open wine bot- tles we can, so the next day we start fresh, d Musk said.<br><br> The restaurant also promotes alternative energy sources. It pays a pre- mium on its electricity bill and, in return, the electric company agrees to buy The Kitchen 9s power from wind farms in Colorado. cIf we use 12,000 kilowatts of energy one month, then the electric company buys 12,000 kilowatts of wind power, d Matheson said.<br><br> And The Kitchen gives all of its leftover cooking oil to a neighbor who converts it into biodiesel fuel and uses it in his pickup truck and Volkswagen Golf. cHe 9s like this mystical man, d Matheson said. cHe comes and gets the oil and disappears. d Musk and Matheson view furniture the same way they do food: They carefully consider its source and recycle as much as possible.<br><br> The communal table 9s top and the bar were built from roof rafters salvaged from an old mansion around the corner; the porch columns from that house serve as 123 Almost everything at The Kitchen in Colorado is eco-sensitive, down to the biodegradable straws. But here 9s the best part: luscious dishes like pork chops with herb salsa and chopped salad with goat cheese. Writer Lois Smith Brady explains why one of America 9s greenest restaurants is also one of its Enest.<br><br> Photographs by Roy Zipstein Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk (in purple shirt), owners of The Kitchen, believe in simple dishes like grilled broccoli with anchovy dressing, opposite. the feel-good kitchen Lois Smith Brady, a writer in Aspen, Colorado, contributes to the Vows and State of the Unions columns in the New York Times. the communal table 9s legs.<br><br> Musk 9s wife, Jen Lewin, constructed the chan- deliers using old crystal she found on eBay and recycled electronic parts. The two men behind The Kitchen describe themselves as cvery intense in very different ways. d Musk lives in a beautifully renovated Victorian house in town, with his wife and two children. He owns two polished silver cars (a Mercedes-Benz and a Volkswagen van).<br><br> Matheson, the primary chef at the restaurant, also has two children and is separated from his wife. He lives in a farmhouse outside Boulder and rides a beat-up old Vespa that looks like the one in the movie The Motorcycle Diaries 4at the end of the road trip. Sitting in the restaurant recently, Musk wore a purple paisley shirt, jeans and Prada loafers.<br><br> He looked stylish but relaxed. Matheson, in baggy jeans and a rumpled shirt, simply looked relaxed. When asked their ages, Musk said he was 33, while Matheson scratched his head and replied, cEither 36 or 37. d Matheson had a no-waste childhood 4in an old-world way.<br><br> He grew up in the countryside outside Cambridge, England, with one brother, a dog named Potato (bought for a sack of potatoes) and an eccentric-artist mother who cooked everything from scratch. She bought eggs from a farm next door. She got meat from a farm down the road 4or sometimes liter- ally from the road.<br><br> cWe used to eat roadkill as kids, d Matheson said. cCountry etiquette is, if you ran it over, you weren 9t allowed to take it. The car behind you picked it up. d In his family, nothing was wasted, from vegetable trimmings to bro- ken furniture.<br><br> If a chair collapsed, they would make mirror frames out of it. cSunday roast leftovers would be used for shepherd 9s pie the next day, d Matheson said. cOr my mother would make stock.<br><br> Her freezers are Elled with every stock under the sun 4rabbit stock, pheasant stock, pigeon, duck. d He added, cWe didn 9t do it to save the earth: We just hated to throw things out. d Similarly, the chefs at The Kitchen take salmon trimmings and convert them into salmon roulade, turn steak into meatballs, burgers into Bolo- gnese sauce, Esh bones into stock. cEverything gets reused and reused, d Matheson said. He also tries to cook without creating any waste.<br><br> When he grills broccoli that he 9ll drizzle with an anchovy dressing, he cooks the stalk as well as the Foret. And he grills sea bass whole 4head included 4and serves it with a lemon-parsley sauce. cWhen you see an animal in its whole form, you realize it was a living thing, it had senses, d Matheson said.<br><br> The Kitchen encourages its suppliers to work with each other to create a ccircle d of recycling. Here 9s one example: restaurant The Kitchen buys from Conscious Coffees, a fair-trade roaster of organic beans in Breckenridge, Colorado. It purchases produce from Cure Organic Farm in Boulder, which distributes only within a 30-mile radius.<br><br> coffee roaster Conscious Coffees gives its empty coffee-bean sacks to Cure Organic Farm. farm Cure Organic Farm uses the sacks to store vegetables in winter. Some of their vegetables wind up on the plates at The Kitchen.<br><br> circle of recycling restaurant farm coffee roaster Feel-Good Recipes Chopped Salad with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts Mixed Greens with Plums and Parmesan Grilled Sea Bass with Parsley-Anchovy Sauce Marinated Pork Chops with Herb Salsa Grilled Broccoli with Anchovy Dressing Angel Food Cake with Three-Berry Compote Summer Fruit Pudding Recipes begin on p. 130 A succulent grilled pork chop with a caper-)ecked herb salsa, opposite, makes for what Matheson calls chappy cooking. d So does a salad tossed with juicy local Elephant Heart plums and shaved Parmesan cheese, left. 124 food & wine " august 2006 foodandwine.com food stylist: alison attenborough; prop stylist: alistair turnbull green kitchen lessons The Kitchen is one of America 9s most eco-friendly restaurants.<br><br> Here 9s why. sustainable purveyors The chalkboard on the wall thanks the restaurant 9s suppliers, including Fiona for her granola and Monroe Organic Farms, which supplies eggs. staff meals After the restaurant closes, the staff eats any perishable food that may be left over and >nishes any open bottles of wine, so nothing goes to waste.<br><br> wind-powered lights Wind farms in Colorado supply electricity for the lights in the restaurant. The chandeliers are made of old crystal found on eBay. biodegradable everything Nearly everything The Kitchen uses is compostable, including the take-out containers, garbage bags, drinking straws, napkins and menus.<br><br> cotton hand towels The Kitchen stocks its bathrooms with cotton towels to keep its use of paper goods to a minimum. recycled furniture The wooden tables were built out of roof rafters salvaged from an old mansion being renovated around the corner from the restaurant. 127 food & wine " august 2006 126 food & wine " august 2006 Musk, who grew up in South Africa, was forced into a no-waste, make- use-of-everything lifestyle while working in California 9s Silicon Valley in the 1990s.<br><br> He and his brother, Elon, moved to Palo Alto and co-founded Zip2, providing online city and restaurant guides. For years they were basi- cally homeless. cWe slept in our ofEce, showered at the YMCA, d he recalled.<br><br> Then, in 1999, they sold the company for $307 million. Yet the no-waste lessons stuck. Though he does some cooking, Musk mostly focuses on hiring people with the right spirit 4antiwaste yet ener- getic and loving.<br><br> (For a businessperson, Musk uses the word clove d a lot.) He and Matheson also seem to be on a Erst-name basis with all their food suppliers 4mostly organic, small-scale, eco-friendly and just plain friendly farmers and business owners. They buy granola from a lady in town named Fiona; shellEsh from Ingrid, who shops the docks of Deer Isle, Maine, for them; vegetables from Anne at Cure Organic Farm in Boulder. They also try to form a circle with their suppliers when it comes to recycling.<br><br> The Kitchen serves coffee from Conscious Coffees, a fair-trade roaster in Breckenridge, Colorado, that gives its leftover coffee-bean sacks to Anne at Cure Organic Farm, who uses them to store vegetables in the winter. Matheson oversees the recycling and composting. If there 9s a creature rumbling around in the trash containers behind the restaurant late at night, it is probably not a bear; it 9s him.<br><br> cTrying to get people to put things into the right bin is a continual battle, d he said. The Kitchen 9s recycling area is the cleanest I 9ve ever seen. cClean d is also the restaurant 9s mantra when it comes to food.<br><br> cIf you 9ve got good spinach and a nice piece of Esh and a wedge of lemon, that 9s all it really takes, d Matheson said. cIf you can taste two or three key Favors in a very clean form, that makes for happy cooking. d Some people might assume Musk and Matheson serve vegetarian or macrobiotic food. Far from it.<br><br> In fact, one of their signature dishes is a suc- culent grilled pork chop with an herb salsa. cI don 9t want to pretend we 9re tree huggers, d Musk said. cIf anything, this place should be called Pork, Pork and Duck Fat.<br><br> We 9re not eating granola bars. d There is no art on The Kitchen 9s walls, but if there were, Musk said, it would be anatomy posters of pigs as well as ca Dutch master of a cow being broken down. d After so much talk about recycling, reusing and conscious everything, Matheson turned wry. Standing up, he sighed, cI 9m getting a cigarette. d Green cleaner Celilo, a restaurant in Hood River, Oregon, buys biodegradable cleaners from Simple Green ($4 for 22 oz; simplegreen.com). Glass countertop The new bar at Flea Street Café in Menlo Park, California, is made of cTableau d recycled glass by Fireclay Tile (from $100 a sq ft; 408-275-1182 or >reclaytile.com).<br><br> Eco-paints Gray 9s at the Park, a bistro at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, Washington, used a Pittsburgh Paints line that 9s low in volatile organic compounds (from $20 a gal; pittsburghpaints.com). Cork #ooring The Expanko cork ?ooring at ACME Chophouse in San Francisco is made of recycled material (from $5 a sq ft; 800-345-6202 or expanko.com). 4 Jen Murphy four great green ideas The Kitchen grills sea bass whole so the skin gets crispy and the )esh stays moist 4plus there 9s less waste.<br><br> opposite: Angel food cake with a mixed- berry compote is virtually fat-free (except for the whipped cream!). recipes begin on p. 130 128 food & wine " august 2006 foodandwine.com<br><br>