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Head Chef | Crosstown Arts (Memphis, TN)

Crosstown Arts is seeking an experienced, creative chef for a full-time position providing healthy, plant-based food for a new café, multidisciplinary artist residency program and ongoing community events inside the newly renovated Crosstown Concourse building.

Scheduled to open in May of 2017, the café will offer a simplified menu for each meal of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) where participants in the residency program will be served alongside the general public. The vision of the café is centered on giving the chef the rare opportunity to explore their own unique culinary creativity in a supportive environment providing innovative, health-conscious and affordable shared meals without having to adhere to a fixed menu.

The café menu will be posted each Sunday by the chef for the upcoming week to allow for an ongoing commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Crosstown Arts seeks to establish strong, mutually beneficial relationships with local food growers and on-site urban farms by creating a simplified menu that changes daily and is based on seasonal availability. The café will be open Monday through Friday, serve all-day brunch on Saturday and be closed on Sunday.

In addition to the café, the chef will be providing food for events in the contemporary art center’s 50,000-square-foot space, including art openings and receptions, music and theater performances, public artist and writer talks and special events that range from small meetings to ticketed dinners for over 300 people. The vision for the food served at Crosstown Arts’ events is to be an extension of the café, offering thoughtful and innovative, plant-based items to showcase the chef’s culinary creativity in a range of unique community experiences.

This position requires a genuine and serious commitment to working collaboratively with other staff, residents, community members and partnering organizations. A deep value is placed on finding new ways to connect and involve other people’s interests and ideas into the organization’s food offerings.

Additionally, the chef will help guide ongoing culinary workshops and mentorship programs (managed separately) and host other food-centric programming, such as residencies and artist talks, for emerging chefs/culinary artists in the kitchen and café.

Maintaining a commitment to being positive, kind and supportive of everyone the chef comes in contact with is a very high priority for this position. Crosstown Arts believes good food is essential to creating meaningful connections between all of the organization’s programs and audiences. The chef will be supported as a culinary artist and provided with a wide range of ongoing opportunities to explore their creative ideas around food and health.


  • Take ownership of the existing vision for the Crosstown Arts café concept, develop it into a full-scale operation and guide the overall food program for the organization under the Managing Director’s oversight and direction.
  • Manage day-to-day operations of the café with a major emphasis on establishing and sustaining a gracious, inspiring and positive working/dining environment.
  • Plan, source and prepare all café meals with support of other café staff, posting the upcoming week’s menu each Sunday.
  • Work closely with the Director of Events and Director of Residency Program to plan, source and prepare food for Crosstown Arts’ events, meetings and programs.
  • Manage the ongoing hiring of all café/kitchen staff in collaboration with the Managing Director.
  • Train, schedule and manage all full-time and part-time kitchen staff in their appropriate roles to ensure extraordinary customer service, food preparation, proper food safety, storage and sanitation practices.
  • Manage the café and event food/labor budget according to the master budget established by the Managing Director.
  • Monitor inventory, place orders and process deliveries of food ingredients, cooking supplies and other materials used in food preparation.
  • Prioritize the sourcing of ingredients from local farms, cultivating and maintaining meaningful relationships with local farmers, local food growers, and regional purveyors and supply vendors.
  • Work closely with participants of the residency program to understand and accommodate any individual dietary needs as part of the organization’s deep commitment to supporting every resident as much as possible in regard to food and health.
  • Work closely with Crosstown Arts’ staff regarding specific input on café and event menus, with an emphasis on supporting conceptual or thematic menus that relate to the content of any given exhibition and/or event.
  • Ensure full compliance of health department codes and regulations in the kitchen and café.
  • Establish and maintain cleaning and maintenance schedule for all kitchen equipment.
  • The chef will be responsible for creating in-house, hand-crafted food, such as our own unique bread, crackers, nut milks, pasta, and other staple items, to be sold on-site. The chef will be encouraged to experiment with intentional and thoughtful food ideas that are original to the chef and to Crosstown Arts.
  • Understanding the broad scope of the chef’s responsibilities described above, Crosstown Arts commits to provide the staff necessary to support the scale of the café program. Crosstown Arts deeply values the mental and physical well-being of all staff members and commits to sizing the support staff of the chef appropriately.
  • The Crosstown Arts café will be a unique offering to Memphis by providing the simplified menu concept alongside the art organization’s bar (managed separately from the café), which will serve a limited drink menu nightly, including hand-crafted cocktails and local beer. The café and bar are located inside the organization’s common/public area adjacent to several exhibition spaces, galleries, listening rooms and screening rooms, residency studios and community studios (woodshop, digital lab, etc).
  • Weekly open hours for the café (serving the simplified menu at each meal) are as follows: Monday-Friday: Breakfast (6am-10am), Lunch (11am-2pm), Dinner (6pm-9pm) Saturdays: Brunch served all day (9am-9pm) Sundays: Closed
  • The café plans to host approximately 20-50 dining guests at each meal (Crosstown Arts’ residents and staff) in addition to being open to the general public. Approximately 3,000 people will be coming and going from the Crosstown Concourse building each day, including 1,500 employees from retail and office organizations focused in arts, education and healthcare, as well as residents in the 265 apartments in the building. Crosstown Arts’ café will be one of seven independently operated restaurants in the building providing food to the public.
  • The chef will have direct access to an on-site 2,000-square-foot, rooftop greenhouse/garden for growing vegetables, lettuces and other plants for food and health. The chef will work with greenhouse staff to support seasonal menu development in the café and maximize food production for the communal benefit of several partnering organizations on site.
  • Some advantages to this position include: ● a newly built, 880-square-foot, state-of-the-art kitchen ● schedule and budget provisions for continuing education (conferences, research, etc.) ● a more regular work schedule than what is offered by most conventional restaurant jobs ● working in a supportive, creative, collaborative environment that values inclusivity ● potential to live on-site (if desired) in one of the residential apartments. Check out for more information.
  • This position reports directly to the Managing Director of Crosstown Arts. 


  • Proficient and creative with a plant-based menu. Experience and interest in vegan/vegetarian cooking with the ability to thoughtfully use animal products as a supplement to the primarily plant-based menu.
  • Health-minded, health-conscious. Experience and interest in the role of nutrition in a plant-based diet, with the ability to informally provide the nutritional context of all food being served in the café and at events, using nutrition and health as guiding principles.
  • Even-tempered and collected. Ability to work under pressure and lead all café staff in a composed, focused and courteous manner, maintaining a professional demeanor at all times.
  • Good natured, friendly and kind. Ability and willingness to maintain an affable and welcoming disposition toward staff and the general public, understanding that this position requires a significant amount of informal interaction with many people on a daily basis.
  • Enthusiastic, energetic. Ability to sustain an ongoing and consistent spirit of positive, uplifting leadership in varying programmatic contexts.
  • Gracious. Ability to maintain autonomy and individual creativity regarding all aspects of food preparation and presentation in a strong, but non-competitive, non-egocentric way.
  • Collaborative. Ability and interest in guiding and managing all aspects of food planning and preparation for the organization while welcoming other people’s ideas and input.
  • Inclusive. Ability and interest in incorporating an informal educational mindset toward the public, in a non-judgmental way, regarding any aspect of the culinary vision for the café and events that may be new to the guest’s individual experience.
  • Adaptable and flexible. Willingness to accommodate ongoing modifications to process, procedures, projects and tasks, including ongoing interruptions to workflow and plans that accompany a new café.
  • Highly organized. Ability to manage multiple tasks while simultaneously supervising staff in a supportive and positive manner.
  • Takes direction well. Willingness to incorporate the Managing Director’s specific direction and input on the café and event menu to ensure consistency with the organization’s original vision, values and past seven years of experience providing food for events and programs.
  • Proficient in menu development. Ability to plan and create a menu based on the single meal concept that changes daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner rather than a conventional fixed menu.
  • Proficient in plant-based food management. Extensive knowledge of proper selection, preparation and storage of fresh produce and other plant-based ingredients.
  • Catering experience. Ability to plan and prepare food for large groups of people.
  • Financially responsible. Experience and ability to plan and execute all aspects of food preparation within a specific budget, tracking and reporting daily, weekly and monthly expenses and costs. Note: The chef will be provided budgeting support from Crosstown Arts’ Operations department, which serves the role of a business manager for all departments of the organization. 


  • Minimum of three years professional cooking experience, with emphasis on plant-based, vegetarian and/or vegan cooking.
  • Professional culinary arts degree/certification or two-year college degree preferred.
  • Must be at least twenty-one years of age or older. 


  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • Includes full individual health insurance coverage on Crosstown Arts’ group insurance plan with Humana
  • Includes three weeks of paid time off per year, which includes personal sick days and vacation 



Crosstown Arts is a contemporary arts organization dedicated to further cultivating the creative community in Memphis. Managing multiple spaces that integrate varying components of exhibition, performance, production, education and retail, Crosstown Arts supports multidisciplinary and collaborative projects that interconnect people and organizations. Crosstown Arts welcomes anyone in the community to join any of our events or projects, regardless of prior experience or expertise with creative interests.

Crosstown Arts is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability.


As of November 2016, Crosstown Arts currently operates 30,000 square feet of space that includes the following: a visual arts gallery, a venue for community-organized art/music shows, an after-school program and ongoing monthly programs and events.

The organization also sublets affordable space in the neighborhood for like-minded neighbors who share the vision of supporting the creative community. Those subtenants include: a photography studio and event space, one of Memphis’ longstanding music venues, a dance studio, private art studios for a metal working artist and sculptor, a neighborhood music school and flea market.

In the spring of 2017, Crosstown Arts will move into its new 50,000-square-foot space in the renovated Crosstown Concourse building. Expanded programs and spaces will include a dedicated listening room for music performances, a 450-seat black box theater, a multidisciplinary residency program, a shared art-making facility with a woodshop, print shop, digital labs, etc., as well as other exhibition and performance spaces.

For more information about Crosstown Arts’ current programs and spaces, go to

For more information about the Crosstown Concourse development project, go to

For more information about Parcels and details about leasing a residential apartment in the Concourse building, go to


Crosstown Arts was formed as a 501c3 not-for-profit arts organization in May of 2010 with a vision to renovate the abandoned 1.5-million-square-foot former Sears Crosstown building by creating a contemporary arts center as a centerpiece of the building and neighborhood development effort. From 2010-2013, the organization formulated a sustainable model for the building renovation project based on an overwhelming amount of community, city, private and government support. Crosstown Arts currently manages the contemporary arts programming as well as the Crosstown Concourse development.


Memphis may be best-known for Elvis, barbecue and Beale Street, but the Bluff City’s assets reach far beyond its popular tourist hotspots. The city’s thriving food scene features everything from high-end contemporary cuisine and international fare to vegan/vegetarian options and lovingly prepared Southern-style meat-and-three dinners. Memphis has become a craft beer hub in recent years, boasting five locally owned micro-breweries (with another on the way). As for arts and creative culture, the nation’s 20th largest city offers a number of contemporary galleries, art museums, theater and ballet companies, a symphony orchestra and an opera company. Live music — blues, rock, jazz, and more — can be heard nightly at many of the city’s bars and clubs. Entertainment districts, such as Overton Square and South Main, offer everything from artisan cocktail bars, upscale clothing boutiques, yoga studios and concert venues. The city’s cost of living is 14.3 percent lower than the national average, and it’s home to a successful NBA franchise in the Memphis Grizzlies. Green space abounds with more than 200 parks, and accessibility is high with more than 200 miles of bike lanes connecting its diverse neighborhoods.


Application Deadline: Monday, February 1, 2017, 5pm CST.

Link to Apply:

Required Materials:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
  3. 5 references (3 professional and 2 personal) with a brief summary of the context and history of your relationship to these individuals.