“Food is an adventure. It is so much more than individual items on a plate. Foods can remind us of treasured occasions in our past, give us comfort, or transport us to the places we dream of. Food can open our senses to a whole new world. One of the main principles I follow in the kitchen comes from the Japanese idea of ‘Umami’. Umami is the sum of its parts, combining the four basic tastes to create an explosion of flavors and sensations both familiar and exciting. Derived from the Japanese word ‘Uma’i,’ meaning ‘goodness,’ my goal is to bring to you the joy and satisfaction of the culinary world, the way the experience of food is meant to be.” – Chef Leda Avra Wolk
Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, where she worked as a line cook in a chinese restaurant at the age 16, Leda moved to the Aspen Valley in 1989, where she was introduced to a new culinary world. After 10 years in the valley, she lived in Asia, Central & South America, the Caribbean and Hawaii over the next 7 years, where she studied regional cuisines while teaching scuba diving for PADI. Once Leda landed in Hawaii, she received her degree in culinary arts with honors from Gros Bonnet Culinary Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii. After graduation, she came back to our beautiful valley in the mountains, where she has worked as an executive chef for restaurants ranging from sushi, Pacific Rim fusion & traditional Japanese to steakhouses, Rocky Mountain & classical French cuisines.
Leda was a featured chef for the 2009 Aspen Food & Wine Classic, and has had the honor of cooking for Masahuru Morimoto, among others, and has won awards for her culinary and mixology skills. Leda now enjoys her work as a private chef, here and abroad, and continues to certify divers through the top scuba diving organization in the world.
Leda looks forward to bringing her worldly knowledge of cuisines and her passion of the culinary arts to your next event, and hopes to share her joy of cooking, new ideas and aloha spirit with you. Mahalo!
Energetic, creative and professional private/personal Executive Chef, enjoys innovative menu research and development as well as collaboration with others. Confident and experienced in all aspects of private home, catering and commercial kitchen settings; flexible and hard working. Well travelled and skilled in various styles of world cuisines, with a strong background in classical French, classic/contemporary Japanese and Pacific Rim cuisines, and contemporary vegetarian/vegan/raw dishes.
PRIVATE CHEF (INDIVIDUAL FAMILY) SELF-EMPLOYED, ASPEN, CO August 2013-present
Responsible for daily meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) snacks, kitchen staples and desserts for a five-member family, with different dietary needs and preferences, as well as cooking separate meals for chil-dren; all menu planning, shopping, cooking, serving, cleanup and kitchen organization in their Aspen, Colo-rado home. Responsible for all aspects of in-home corporate dinner parties for their company, including Menu and wine list planning, shopping, cooking, and hiring of serving staff/caterers as needed.
PERSONAL/CATERING CHEF & EMERGENCY RESPONSE CATERING, BRAVO FINE CATERING, ROARING FORK VALLEY, CO October 2012- present
Responsibilities include menu planning, shopping, preparation and execution of meals for families and guests in-home, catering for events from 20-500 ppl, and providing meals to firefighters/EMS personnel for the U.S. Forest Service at emergency base camps for fire/natural disasters on the Western slope.
HOME HEALTH CAREGIVER, IHEARTOLDERPEOPLE, ROARING FORK VALLEY, CO OCTOBER 2012-PRESENT
Responsible for in-home care for hospice, elderly, and end-of-life patients, from daily menu planning, cook-ing, food shopping, transfers, medication administration, documentation and general care.
AUGUST 2011-OCTOBER 2012 work experience abroad, information available upon request
EXECUTIVE CHEF, N9NE STEAKHOUSE, ASPEN, CO February 2011-June 2011
N9ne steakhouse was a contemporary open-kitchen style restaurant, serving prime aged steaks, seafood, and extensive nightly Chef’s Creations, with a heavy emphasis on sushi/raw bar style cuisine. Responsible for nightly execution of three-person line, running grill/sauté station and working closely with expeditor. Daily planning and execution of extensive nightly specials. Writing and cost planning of standardized recipes and menus; ordering and inventory of all kitchen items on a daily or as-needed basis. Scheduling and training of line staff.
BAR MANAGER/BARTENDER, HUNTER BAR, ASPEN, CO March 2010- March 2011
General Bar management duties including special event planning, ordering, inventory, scheduling, drink menu planning and execution, and staff training.
EXECUTIVE CHEF, KRABLOONIK RESTAURANT AND KENNELS, SNOWMASS VILLAGE, CO October 2009 – March 2010Krabloonik is a high-end restaurant and dog-sledding operation outside of Aspen, CO, serving Rocky Mountain French cuisine, with main focus on wild game. Krabloonik has two seatings nightly of a prix-fixe five-course dinner, with an average of 60-80 guests per seating. Responsible for running hot line for lunch and dinner, and coordinating dining guests with dog sled rides, timing and execution of all stations, as well as running sauté station and expediting for line. Hiring, Training and supervision of all kitchen staff, for lunch and dinner service. Writing, development and execution of lunch, dinner, and special event menus for high-end classical French cuisine combined with wild game. Development of inventory system and ordering of all kitchen and restaurant items.
EXECUTIVE CHEF, TAKAH SUSHI, ASPEN, CO – May 2007 – September 2009
Takah Sushi is Aspens’ oldest and most famous Sushi bar and Japanese restaurant, serving world-class Sushi and Pacific Rim cuisine. Responsible for running hot line nightly, timing and execution of all stations, as well as running sauté station. Successful supervision of all aspects of the kitchen. Trained all line staff on all stations- grill/broiler, sauté, and tempura/dessert as well as prep cooks and dishwashers. Ordering of all kitchen and restaurant items- food, specialty items, plate ware, glasses, and silverware for front of house and sushi bar. Ordering and Maintenance of kitchen equipment. Handled all day-to-day operations including grease removal, dish machine operation and maintenance. Hiring, training, and scheduling of all kitchen staff-Successfully trained line cooks with no prior kitchen experience. Training of pastry chefs and morning prep cooks. Writing and execution of seasonal menus, bar menu, and dessert menus. Creation and execution of nightly specials. Planning and execution of special events and menus for Aspen Food and Wine festival, concierge dinners, and weddings. Monthly inventory and consistently maintained 27% food cost and 28% labor cost. Featured Chef for 2008 Aspen Food and Wine festival Peak Magazine dinner.
CHEF DE PARTIE, MICHEL’S RESTAURANT, HONOLULU, HI- June 2006 – March 2007
Michel’s is a five star restaurant located in downtown Waikiki, serving 150-200 covers on average nightly. The cuisine is classical French with a very traditional brigade system in the kitchen. All menu items are prepared daily in-house from scratch, including butchering, meat and fish fabrication. Menu is seasonal a la carte, as well as various prix fixe menus for parties, weddings, and Japanese tour groups. As the Chef de Partie, I was responsible for efficiently functioning in every aspect of the kitchen- Grill/broiler station, Sauté, Garde Manger, Pastries/desserts, and day prep, including meat and fish butchering and fabrication, stocks and consommés, as well as wedding cakes for special events.
GROS BONNET CULINARY ACADEMY, HONOLULU, HAWAII April 2006-March 2007
AOS Culinary Arts Degree I
Graduated at top of the class. Gros Bonnets’ culinary arts program is based on classical cuisine, as well as training in various regional cuisines- Pacific Rim, Pan Asian, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
Featured Chef, Food & Wine Classic, 2009
2nd place, Bombay Sapphire drink contest, 2010
1st place, Don Julio drink contest, 2011
Certified PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Emergency First Responder instructor, technical/cave diver, Rock climbing, snowboarding and telemark skiing, EMT-B & OEC training (State of CO)
Available upon request. Email Leda to inquire.