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A New RBR Kitchen

Posted in Ranch Report

Rock Bottom Ranch has a new kitchen (and so much more!). Nearly a year after fundraising efforts began, renovations are nearly complete on the western half of the Field Studies Center at ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch.  

If you have visited the Field Studies Center in the last few years, you may have noticed that the kitchen, which doubled as a Naturalist exhibit area, was in need of a remodel. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, we’ve worked with an extensive team of ACES administration staff and Educators, local chefs, building inspectors, health inspectors, kitchen designers, contractors, plumbers, and electricians, to build our new RBR Kitchen. We have created an outstanding space for the plethora of programming we host at Rock Bottom Ranch.  

The RBR Kitchen prior to renovations.

The new space fulfills a variety of needs: it provides schools groups, families, ranch visitors, and staff with a gathering area, classroom, work space, and, of course, a new kitchen.  

Our need for a kitchen was two-fold. First, we required a demonstration kitchen space that would facilitate ACES educational programming at the Ranch. Almost immediately after coming to ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch, I recognized a gap between purchasing local food, and understanding how best to prepare it. In other words, folks are thrilled to purchase sustainably raised local products, but in many cases lack the culinary confidence to prepare these products (i.e. whole chickens). ACES is an educational organization and last year, in an effort to close that gap, we hosted the first series of our RBR Kitchen cooking demonstrations, albeit in an inadequate teaching space. Second, our Farm to Table Dinners at Rock Bottom Ranch have gained immense popularity in the two years ACES has hosted the educational gatherings. For these events, the existing RBR Kitchen was seriously lacking the appropriate infrastructure to prepare the locally-sourced meals in-house.

The RBR Kitchen now features a 4’x15’ island that can seat up to 20 adults; offering plenty of space for meetings, day-to-day workspace, and a preparation area for cooking and events. Restaurant-grade sinks now offer improved places to wash hands, rinse and prepare food, and clean all of our equipment. A vintage, commercial-grade Wolf range will help improve the efficiency of our little kitchen during demonstrations, cooking classes, and for preparing the feast at our Farm to Table Dinners.

 The new RBR Kitchen! 

Over the next few weeks, we will be putting final touches on the new space. Thanks to the generosity of one ACES donor, another venture within the remodeling project was adding a new cookbook library. Over 100 cooking and food reference books have been selected to live in the new kitchen for all Ranch visitors to explore and enjoy.  Please look for an announcement near the end of January about the progress of the library.As we continue to work with our county’s environmental health team, we are exploring the possibility of catering ACES events, and perhaps, renting the kitchen space out to entrepreneurs who need access to a commercial kitchen to launch their businesses.    

Be sure to join us on January 13th, 2015 for our first RBR Kitchen cooking demonstration in the new kitchen. Space is limited to 14 participants and the class is filling up quickly. Click here to see the upcoming topics for this winter’s RBR Kitchen and RBR Kitchen Skills demonstration series.

~ Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director