In the weeks following Holiday Classes in December 2018, Arrowmont’s kitchen underwent renovations including the addition of a new concrete slab poured to accommodate two refrigerated walk-ins, wall removal for expanded space, and updated equipment. Kitchen manager Jennifer Blackburn and her talented kitchen staff look forward to the upcoming National Workshop season with the spacious, more efficient new kitchen.
“The kitchen is going to be a phenomenal place to be,” Jenn said. “It’s a lot more open. The walk-in went away and the wall came down inside. By summer, new wooden tables will be made to replace the portable tables currently in the dining hall. The kitchen will be a ‘culinary studio’ with state-of-the-art equipment, like the craft studios at Arrowmont.”
Jenn came to Arrowmont as a work-study in 2015. She knew within the first week that she never wanted to leave. “Arrowmont is a life-changing place,” she said. Jenn has stewarded Arrowmont’s kitchen over the past four years, creating exceptional food for workshops, receptions, and special events on campus. During National workshop season, she is asked at least once a week to go home with a student to continue cooking for them.
Jenn has long known storage and space could be more efficient. Before improvements could begin, the historic status of the building needed to be considered. “I am so appreciative of the donors who gave, the Board of Governors who allocated funds, and the staff who have worked with me to make these improvements,” she said. Renovations were completed December 28, 2018, in time to prepare for Pentaculum V in early January 2019.
With renovations complete, Jenn has more time to focus on “extra perks,” new ideas and menu items. What won’t change is the quality of the cuisine and community fostered in Arrowmont’s kitchen. “Arrowmont is a magical place,” Jenn said. “My advice: immerse yourself. Take full advantage of the opportunity to be in this environment. You’re going to want to be here!”