Job Details

Executive Chef

  2019-10-18     Esalen Institute     55000 Highway One     Commensurate with experience   

At Esalen, we care about being present. We bring that to everything we do. We don’t just build a table, we build a work of art that’s also a table. We don’t just say hello, we make eye contact and listen with intention. We feel the same way about our team members - showing up in support of their full being. We offer great health care, access to workshops, and the space to further our mission by contributing to your own human potential.


  • This role is responsible for the culinary operation and all aspects of food preparation of the Esalen Kitchen, Bar, Cafe and Retail. The objective of the Esalen Kitchen team is to provide our guests with the most healthy and nourishing experience possible during their time at Esalen, while acknowledging and embodying Esalen’s values and programs. This position reports to the General Manager and CEO.

What will this role do?

    • Plans, directs and manages all food preparation and culinary activities ensuring the quality of the overall culinary products and deliverables experience for the Esalen Institute, Cafe, Bakery and retail products.
    • Ensures the quality, consistency, presentation and delivery of all food enhancing the of the dining experience. 
    • Menu planning and design – creating and modifying menus ensuring varied and diverse menus, including daily vegetarian and vegan options, nutritional balance and dietary information is readily available.
    • Develops recipes determining portion specifications and communicating to Kitchen Manager ordering and purchasing requirements.
    • Trains and coordinates the work of kitchen employees during the shift and ensures appropriate professional standards of behavior, work standards, productivity, and safety practices are adhered to.
    • In collaboration with Kitchen Manager, co-Manages human resources in the kitchen in order to attract, retain, and motivate staff while providing a safe environment:  hire, train, develop, empower, coach, counsel, conduct performance reviews, conflict/problem resolution, provide open communication vehicles and discipline as appropriate.
    • Selects product for the Bar and cafe that complement and support the culinary experience.
    • Inspects and ensures cleanliness, sanitation of the kitchen and safe food handling/storage for health code compliance, safety, and operational effectiveness.
    • In collaboration with Kitchen Manager, Review of guest feedback and acting to resolve culinary and customer service issues..
    • Design, Preparation and delivery of food, beverage and service for Esalen special events and catering.
    • Budget creation estimating food and labor requirements needed to deliver all culinary activities and products. 
    • Oversee the Bakery operation and production 
    • Hiring, training and supervision of Cooks and Lead Staff
    • In collaboration with Kitchen Manager provides support of Residential scholars.
    • In collaboration with Kitchen Manager co-leads Weekly team and monthly business meetings.
    • Communication with upper management and other departments as required;
    • Other various tasks as assigned.
    • Work in collaboration with Farm and Garden around produce and Menu
    • Work with the Kitchen Manager and Kitchen Staff to design, develop and deliver ongoing food education to the esalen community and workshop participants.  
    • Oversee and manage the preparation of approximately 250-300 quality meals, 3 times a day, 365 days of the year in a timely manner

Qualifications + Requirements + Skills

    • At least 5 years experience and high competency working in the food preparation and management of a large staff with a high meal count in hospitality industry.
    • Experience and ability in meeting deadlines in a changing environment.
    • Experience in menu preparation in a creative and financially responsible way.
    • Forecasting and operating within budget plans.
    • Experience working within the culture and organization of Esalen, or similar like-minded organization is preferred.
    • Ability to work within a team in a creative, compassionate and direct way.
    • Ability to take responsibility, inspire and be held accountable.
    • Flexibility and the ability to make on the spot decisions.
    • Ability to provide superior guest experiences in demanding situations.
    • Willingness to connect with and  care for residents and guests.
    • Ability to take initiative, and be detail oriented with awareness of the larger picture.
    • Create and drive an Esalen Culinary culture.
    • Lead staff by delegating, empowering, positive attitude.
    • Strong communication skills, with an emphasis on listening, empathy and common sense.
    • This position is a unique opportunity for a passionate individual to involve themselves in sustainability development of Farm & Garden to Kitchen.
    • Willingness to develop educational programs that will heighten awareness of food sources, networking staff and seminarians with sustainable food producers, local food systems and practicing farm to fork principles.
    • Promote better health through nutritional guidelines for people and planet.
    • Develop kid friendly programs and activities emphasizing farm to fork principles.
    • Makes themselves available to influence and educate staff and seminarians through thoughtful eco-epicurean practices.
    • Develop branding possibilities using Esalen’s unique position as a leader in Permaculture

Physical Requirements

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee must be able to maneuver on uneven ground, stand for long periods of time, often carry and lift up to 50 pounds, operate food preparation appliances and machinery, tolerate exposure to changes in temperature, and be able perform daily repetitive hand movements as it pertains to food preparation.


  • The pay for this position is commensurate with experience. This role includes a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and paid time off. Esalen gives teammates access to an extensive range of daily experiential classes (yoga, dance, tai chi, and meditation), ongoing in-house education and training programs, and scholarship for Esalen workshops and massage.

Esalen provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.


Do not contact this company in solicitation of any product or service.

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