Job Openings

Assistant Cooks

The Assistant Cook is a seasonal, contract position in our beautiful remote wilderness retreat center. Our center is open from mid-May through mid-October. We employ multiple cooks to share the season with only one head cook and one assistant cook scheduled for each retreat. The center is far from any store or resources, runs entirely from solar power and there is no cell service. Most of the retreats are held in noble silence and all staff is required to respect this container by remaining silent anywhere that guests may be able to overhear. The kitchen/dining area is attached to the retreat space therefore noise travels easily from the kitchen to the meditation hall. It is an enriching practice that often brings us closer than the spoken word.

Assistant Cooks Qualifications

  • Basic food safety course required for all cooks and can be found here.
  • Must have an interest in cooking and enjoy preparing meals for others.
  • Helpful to have sensitivity to special diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, soy free, etc.)
  • Must live in residence at the retreat center during work periods.
  • This can be a physically demanding position at times. Must be physically fit and able to lift up to 35+ lbs and perform various kinds of physical labor as part of job responsibilities.
  • Ability to communicate and work with diverse groups of people. Sensitivity to issues of race, gender, class and sexual orientation.
  • Sensitivity to working with retreats that are silent and an ability to reduce noise coming from kitchen during these retreats.
  • Must be able to adapt to an environment with very limited storage, no walk in cooler, single oven, must make effort to store food appropriately to eliminate waste.
  • Must keep a very clean environment to control pests
  • Must be able to work well with others in a small team and able to support/assist the head cook as needed.

Cooks Duties and Responsibilities

  • Shop for food locally on occasion when not available from our vendors and coordinates with your next trip into the retreat center.
  • Prepare and serve vegetarian meals for staff, retreat participants and group rentals including accommodation for special dietary restrictions as directed by the head cook.
  • Prepare special diet foods and observe strict cross contamination protocol if there are guests in attendance with food allergies and sensitivities as directed by the head cook.
  • Maintain food stores in the kitchen, pantry, teachers quarters and snack bar areas.
  • Keep kitchen facility clean, orderly and safe for staff and guests.
  • Regular check in with retreat managers to ensure smooth operations and address any needs that arise.
  • Conduct kitchen inventories as needed.
  • Conduct Work Meditation Job Training for vegetable chopping and food put away/dishwashing the first morning of each retreat.
  • Observe respect for mindful silence, conducting kitchen work with the minimum amount of noise necessary.
  • Attend staff meetings as needed.
  • Have a sense of humor and be flexible!


  • We staff this positions from mid-May through mid-October. We employ multiple cooks to share the season with one head cook and one assistant cook scheduled for each retreat. I work with all staff to create a schedule that is agreeable for everyone. We cannot guarantee a place to stay when it is not a staff members scheduled work period.


  • We offer a daily rate compensation as an independent contractor plus gourmet vegetarian meals and single occupancy heated accommodation. (Please note there is no electricity to any of the accommodations at Vallecitos.)
  • Staff who work six retreats or more are offered one retreat per season at Vallecitos at no charge.
  • Staff is invited to attend sits/talks during retreats when teachers allow.
  • We cover the cost of approved training (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and more).

All interested parties please email a letter of interest to You must include:

  • Why you believe you are an ideal candidate for the position
  • If you have ever been to Vallecitos before or your connection to the organization
  • Your related experience
  • Your availability
  • Your contact information

updated 2/4/20