Summer Chef-in-Residence

Job Overview

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) seeks a Chef-in-Residence for the 2020 summer season at its Rock Bottom Ranch site in Basalt, Colorado. An environmental education site with a focus on regenerative agriculture, Rock Bottom Ranch raises livestock and grows vegetables featured at ACES’ annual summer dining events, weekly farmers’ markets, local restaurants, and on-farm store. 

Rock Bottom Ranch’s vegetable and livestock production is inspired by natural systems and is continually working toward more regenerative and sustainable practices. The 113-acre site dedicates approximately 70 acres to natural wildlands and 35 acres to pasture-based, rotationally grazed livestock systems. To maximize production and extend the growing season at our mountainous 6,400 feet elevation, one acre of outdoor vegetable and cut flower production is supported by four season extension structures (a stationary hoop house, mobile hoop houses, and a passive solar greenhouse). 

Our production farm, educational site, and demonstration kitchen is open to the public and offers farm tours, youth & adult programs, and food events throughout the year. The Chef-in-Residence program was launched in 2016 to allow chefs (aspiring, as well as established) to cultivate a deeper connection to local, seasonal foods. Our program offers opportunities to lead and become involved in a diversity of food events, education, value added products, farming and other explorations of food. Events are diverse and range from casual to formal, 40 to 125 guests, with opportunities to support events up to 400 people. Get to know Rock Bottom Ranch!

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

  • Event food preparation and execution
  • Food production assistance
  • Food education

1. Event food preparation and execution (70% time allocation)
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Lead planning, preparation, and execution of various ACES dining and educational events. Coordination, planning and additional support from RBR Director and additional kitchen staff is provided.
  • Prepare menus, preparation lists, sourcing lists (mostly from 300 feet or less) and rental orders.
  • Lead kitchen staff and coordinate with RBR Site Coordinator for event setup, execution, and cleanup.
  • Travel to farms and wineries to source products for events.

2. Food production assistance (15% time allocation) 
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Assist with agricultural operations including:
    • Vegetable harvest, washing, and packaging; and
    • Poultry slaughter, break down, and packaging.
  • Experiment with food preservation. This could include canning, pickling, freezing, and/or fermenting seasonally abundant foods for future kitchen use and/or sale to the public. All food products must meet local health department requirements and food safety guidelines. ACES maintains a Colorado Retail Food Establishment License and commercial kitchen.  

3. Food education (15% time allocation)
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Plan and prepare children’s summer food cooking classes and demonstrations. This requires coordination with the ACES Education team.  

Secondary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Become familiar with all agricultural operations on the ranch and assist with various agricultural projects.
  • Overall site maintenance including event preparation or other site duties that may arise.
  • Other duties as assigned to further the mission of ACES.

Desired Qualifications and Characteristics

  • Provide welcoming and educational environment to all guests.
  • Maintain a strong work ethic.
  • Recognize that kitchen work is rewarding, yet physically and mentally demanding.
  • Have schedule flexibility and ability to work 40+ hours per week.
  • Be able to stand for long hours in various kitchen conditions.
  • Have the ability to work with a sense of purpose and urgency.
  • Be able to lift heavy objects, 50+ pounds.
  • Maintain a friendly, inviting personality and positive attitude.
  • Have respect for farm products, fellow crew members, and ACES education team.
  • Have a strong willingness and desire to learn.
  • Have a clean driving record.

Preferred Qualifications

Preferred but not required, candidates will have the following:

  • An interest in changing the way our communities eat and grow food.
  • 3+ years of technical cooking experience, with various styles, techniques and regional influences.
  • Ability to lead a kitchen service.
  • An interest in plant-based menus. We promote a plant-based diet supported with appropriate portions of pasture-based meats, dairy and eggs.

Dates of Employment

June 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020. 

Reporting Relationship

This position reports to the ACES' Rock Bottom Ranch Director.


This position is located at ACES' Rock Bottom Ranch site in Basalt, CO.

Work Schedule

40+ hours per week, 2 consecutive days off per week. 

Compensation and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience. This is a seasonal, full-time position that is currently ineligible for the ACES benefit package.  

To Apply

Email cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Please write the following in the subject line: RBR Chef-in-Residence Application. *ACES employees work with school children, therefore ACES conducts background checks for criminal history and motor vehicle records.  

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is an Equal Opportunity Employer. ACES does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, genetic information, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational need.