The AoM Kitchen Program

Experience what’s at the heart of a healthy regenerative village: the art of sharing food from seed to feast.

“What happens when we gather at the table? We feed one another. We listen to our stories. We learn our language, our songs, our histories, our place in a community. We learn how to offer and how to receive gratefully. We learn our cuisines – or the lack of them. We eat the world, learning how the wild constantly dies so we might live. We learn how to bless with our words and actions. In a word, we learn the recipe of what it means to become human. The kitchen is the heart of this work It’s built right into the word: the hearth. To be a cook gives us a chance to be at the heart of re-membering culture, living in such a way that we try to feed the world that so generously feeds us.”

– Mary Stewart, Art of Mentoring Head Cook

Program & Role Description

The AoM kitchen program offers participants a rich, guided journey of creativity and real-life application of mentoring principles, awareness routines, and more — all while serving 200 people three incredible meals a day!

As a member of the 20 person kitchen team, you’ll spend the week playing a vital role in tending the heart of our village and working with head cook Mary Stewart, who specializes in preparing food with a big helping of heart, soul, and memory of its origins. Veteran kitchen staff coordinator Mira Nussbaum will facilitate your experience as you learn in your role and interface with the larger tapestry of AoM.

Must be passionate, creative, and dedicated!

Who is this for?

  • People who want to learn to cook or love cooking
  • First time and returning participants or staff
  • Kinesthetic learners who have a passion for food
  • People who want to learn from a master chef for free
  • People who want to participate in the Art of Mentoring from a different perspective


  • This is a work-trade position.  Compensation for your service in the kitchen is a $325 credit toward tuition in any Vermont AoM program.  You can give this credit to a friend or family member who is attending this year, or save for yourself for next year.  Kitchen credits expire after 3 years (including the year you work in the kitchen). Two work-trade credits can be combined toward a single tuition.
  • The Kitchen Program is its own program and runs concurrently with the other adult programs.  It incorporates the principles and practices shared in all the Art of Mentoring programming, making it a hands-on experience for people who want to apply these teachings to serve the village. You can expect to work eight hours in the kitchen each day, and outside those hours you will be able to participate in some of the group activities along with the participants from the other programs.
  • Early arrival is required.  Participants in the Kitchen Program must arrive at 10:00 am on the Saturday before the program starts (i.e. two days early).
  • Partial week commitments cannot be accommodated. To ensure continuity in the kitchen team, please only apply if you can participate for the whole week (Saturday to Saturday).
  • Complete this form to apply for the Kitchen Program.


  • $325 off tuition for a friend this year or yourself next year
  • Learn how to cook for large groups
  • Get hands on experience embodying the 8 Shields Model
  • Connect to the larger Art of Mentoring community through service
  • Build new connections around a kitchen hearth
  • Learn how to make deeply nourishing and healthy food
  • Join the village for evening activities!


(Again, complete this form to apply for the Kitchen Program. If you have questions plesae contact the Vermont Wilderness School Office by sending a message to