Executive Chef/Kitchen Manager

Job Type

Full Time




55000 Hwy 1
Big Sur
United States


Come roll up your sleeves and level up the Dining experience at Esalen.


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 do your personal and collective work.


We stand for supporting you to realize your potential.



This role is responsible for management of kitchen personnel and ensuring the effective delivery of all food at Esalen. The objective of Esalen Culinary 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.


The Culinary team is responsible for the preparation and delivery of all meals, and will operate a small bar every evening that sells a limited range of wines and beers*.

What Will This Role Do?

  • Oversee and manage the preparation of approximately 250-300 quality meals, 3 times a day, 365 days of the year in a timely manner
  • Plans and manages the procurement, production, preparation and presentation of all food at Esalen in a safe, sanitary and cost effective manner
  • Ensures the quality of the product, consistency of presentation, and proper handling of all food products in accordance with California State Health Codes.
  • Inventorying, ordering, receipt and accounting of all food and supplies – produce, meat fish, dairy goods, dry goods – from both external vendors and Esalen’s own farm and garden.
  • Menu preparation – ensuring varied and diverse menus, including daily vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Manages employees during the shift and ensures appropriate professional standards of behavior, work standards, productivity, practices, and guest care are adhered to.
  • 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.
  • Bar supply and management.*
  • Lodge/dining area maintenance.*
  • Review of guest feedback and acting to resolve culinary issues.
  • Preparation and delivery of food, beverage* and service* for Esalen special events and catering.
  • Budget management, including management of petty cash, kitchen/bar deposits*.
  • Purchase and maintenance of kitchen machinery, equipment and supplies.
  • Hiring, training and supervision of the following Culinary Staff:
  • 1 administrative and management personnel;
  • 5 Staff Cooks.
  • 8 Kitchen Help
  • 1 -2 CIA externs (5 month rotation).
  • 8 Work Scholars (28 day rotation).
  • Assorted hourly workers – dishwashers, bar staff, karma servers.
  • Preparation of staff schedules and payroll.
  • Monthly orientation of work scholars.
  • Weekly team process 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

* Note:Responsibilities listed involving bar sales/inventory/ordering/management and lodge management are short-term/temporary until FOH Lodge staffing is established.

Qualifications, Requirements and Skills

  • At least 3 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
  • Promote, educate “Good, clean and fair” principles.

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.


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

No requirement