Head Chef/Kitchen Manager

Head Chef/Kitchen Manager Position
Earthdance Creative Living Project, Plainfield, MA

Interviews happening now!
Position Start Date: February 2018

Earthdance is an artist-run workshop, residency, and retreat center, largely run by resident staff and volunteers, and located in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts.  We provide a dynamic mix of dance, somatic, and interdisciplinary arts training, with a focus on sustainable living, social justice, and community. Earthdance has been spearheading innovative arts programming and maintaining a beautiful facility for rental groups in the Pioneer Valley for over three decades. www.earthdance.net

At this moment in time, we are focused on putting the Community aspect of Earthdance’s identity front and center. Inspired by a commitment to equity, social justice, and sustainability, the Earthdance Community, Staff and Board have been researching alternate organizational models. The future shape of this organization is still being visioned. The new organizational structure & functioning will likely be less hierarchical and more cooperative. A change in structure could mean a re-ordering of how we hold tasks, roles and responsibilities, and the shape of this position may change over time. We are especially interested in candidates who are committed to undoing oppression, and expect that new hires will collaborate with us in this exciting process.

The Head Chef/Kitchen Manager is responsible for all aspects of kitchen management: planning the ordering of supplies year-round, maintaining stock as needed, forecasting supply needs and estimating costs, planning and developing menus appropriate to groups’ needs and requests, leading meal preparation during events, and supervising and coordinating the activities of kitchen volunteers, part-time support chefs, and all other kitchen staff. The Head Chef/Kitchen Manager ensures optimal levels of kitchen operations, customer satisfaction, and manages the annual kitchen budget. They are also responsible for ensuring that the kitchen and meal service meet all regulations, including sanitary and safety guidelines.

Reports to:  Executive Director 
Classification:  .8 FTE, Core Staff, Non-Exempt, Residential
Supervises:  Part-Time Support Chef(s), Kitchen Volunteers

Primary areas of responsibility:

Food Management:

  • Order, receive, and track purchased food. Coordinate purchasing to minimize out of stocks.
  • Monitor and maintain staple food supplies.
  • Conduct periodic inventory counts.
  • Create/Maintain an overall kitchen budget (approx. $100K annually).
  • Track number of guests/staff being served daily to inform budget/supply.
  • Coordinate with the Earthdance Gardener for optimizing the garden output.
  • Rotate stock and manage leftovers; assure that all food is being stored in a sanitary and appropriate manner.

Coordinating Menus/Meal Planning:

  • Preparing delicious, nutritious meals in a timely manner.
  • Interface with rental partners and event facilitators.
  • Responding to special food-needs and restrictions.
  • Advanced menu planning, particularly for special diet groups.
  • Ensure appropriate use of on-site food supplies.
  • Management of volunteer assistants in food preparation. (Generally meal preparation is expected to take 2 – 3.5 hours depending upon volunteer experience level, group size, and complexity of the menu.)

Staff Management:

  • Serving as lead cook for the majority of events.
  • Coordinating with the Operations Director to schedule prep and cleanup assistance for each event.
  • Scheduling with part-time Support Chefs as needed, informing them of stocked food, ordering required food.
  • Ensures alternate liaison for groups when not on-site.
  • Manages kitchen and all kitchen staff appropriately, to provide meals on time for event schedules.

Facilities Maintenance:

  • Ensures kitchen cleanliness and health standards are exceptionally maintained.
  • Coordinates with health inspectors; researches and informs oneself of all health code requirements.
  • Plans ahead for equipment upgrades, replacement and maintenance.
  • Prepares proposals for improvements, including equipment replacement, quality standards, etc.

Core Staff Responsibilities:

  • Attends weekly Core Staff meetings, All Staff meetings, and House Cleans.
  • Meets regularly with Operations Manager.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Proven experience as Head Chef in another establishment
  • Experience cooking for group meal service for 20-130 people, up to 2 meals/day, multiple days in a row (Head Chef leads lunch and dinner)
  • Exceptional proven ability of kitchen management
  • Ability in dividing responsibilities and monitoring progress
  • Outstanding communication and leadership skills
  • Values local and organic producers, interest in cultivating relationships with local farms
  • Strong interest in, and previous experience with, cooperative living and community building
  • Strong team leadership skills in a live/work environment
  • Professional demeanor and work ethic
  • Strong administrative capacity; timely email and telephone response
  • Self-motivated, able to self-direct and take direction
  • Ability to maintain positivity and composure under pressure
  • Demonstrated ability to follow through on commitments
  • Ability to maintain spreadsheets and budgets using Microsoft Excel
  • Experience serving the public
  • Current ServeSafe Certification (May be obtained during training period.)

This position averages 30 hours/week year-round. Work often requires availability on weekends. This position receives hourly pay at MA minimum wage ($11/hour). It is offered as a residential Core Staff position with on site Room & Board offered with deduction. Local residents will be considered for an off-site position. Benefits include paid time off, complimentary workshops and contact improvisation jams, access to Earthdance studio spaces, guest privileges, and community development opportunities.

Earthdance prefers a two-year minimum commitment; however, this is at-will employment. Position start date is upon hire. 

Women, People of the Global Majority, LGBTQIA, and/or those differently abled are encouraged to apply.

To apply:  Send a cover letter, resume, and two professional references to jobs@earthdance.net.

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