About West Coast Koji

West Coast Koji is a San Diego based fermented foods company that specializes in koji-based fermented goods. Utilizing traditional fermentation methods to create unique, delicious, and umami-packed sauces, condiments, and seasonings. Exploring the unique flavor enhancing properties of koji (aspergillus oryzae), and applying them to flavors localized to Southern California.

Head Fermenter/Owner Michael Vera has been working in the food industry since he was 17, starting as a dishwasher at the local pizzeria, and working his way up through the kitchen. Throughout the years, he's worked around the country at luxury hotels such as The Ritz Carlton, The Fairmont, as well as multiple James Beard and Michelin recognized restaurants. It's plain to see that food, flavor, and hospitality are at the forefront of everything that goes into Chef Michael's vision for West Coast Koji.

Michael began his fermentation journey in 2017, curious about common ferments such as kombucha, hot sauce, pickles, and other lacto-ferments. Which quickly turned into a fascination with the microbial processes of more complex ferments such as making vinegar from scratch, and koji based foods. An avid learner and forager of wild food, Michael was always looking for ways to preserve flavors, and capture a moment using preservation or fermentation as a medium to do so. 

In the Spring of 2020, Michael saw the need to share knowledge and awareness of fermented foods. His passion for exploring unique ideas and flavors led to the beginnings of West Coast Koji, where we continue to learn and share knowledge about the amazing flavor enhancing properties of aspergillus oryzae.

West Coast Koji is all about flavor, respecting traditional makes and methods, and pursuing the perfect umami seasoning.