The Holden Kitchen

The Holden Kitchen provides breakfast, lunch and dinner at set meal times, all included in your nightly rate. Holden’s diet utilizes mainly local & organic produce, whole grains, legumes, and occasional fish & meat options. The Holden Kitchen can accommodate many special dietary needs, including vegan and gluten free. Some snacks, like fruit, granola, and fresh baked Holden bread, are available in the Dining Hall around the clock.

The Kitchen Team

Who We Are and What We Do

We are a kitchen operated by both short- and long-term volunteers, serving anywhere between two weeks and two years. We come from all walks of life, and various professional backgrounds. Some of us love to cook, and have been doing so for decades. Some of us have experience cooking for large groups, while others of us have only cooked for ourselves and our families. Some of us have never cooked before, but are hungry to learn. 

This kitchen is a community that embraces all, recognizing that we are all both teachers and learners with gifts to give and gifts to receive.

What Grounds Us: Our Food Philosophy

The Holden Village Kitchen is shaped by the conviction that our shared meals contain sacramental elements.

The seemingly simple act of cooking and eating is far from simple. It is, rather, a complex process of choices and values that form and re-form our relationships with ourselves, with one another, with the Earth, and with the sacred thread that runs through it all.

We recognize that our food choices have significant consequences for those who gather the food, those who eat the food, and for the lands and seas that bring it forth. The Holden Kitchen practices prophetic hospitality; one that recognizes that choices and tastes have consequences, and that ignorance of those consequences is both short-sighted and ultimately inhospitable to Creation at large.

We are committed to serving food that is care-full, food that is both celebratory and responsible. We strive to cook in ways that are healthy, delicious, expressive, and that minimize harm to individuals and communities both near and far.

Holden serves a diet that emphasizes whole grains and legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, and is supplemented with ethically sourced meat products. We seek to cook and eat in ways that promote the health of the planet.

When possible, Holden supports local food producers and promotes local food systems. We seek out suppliers that support workers rather than corporations. We use leftovers creatively and strive to eliminate waste.

We hope that the weekly menu mirrors the lively conversations that occur throughout the Village.

What to Expect

General Health/Sanitation Policies

Our valley is remote, and our community is intimate. Because we spend so much time in such close quarters, germs can be easily spread unless precautions are taken by all members of the community.

With this in mind, we require that all Villagers wash their hands at the designated hand-washing sinks (at the east and west end of the Dining Hall) both upon entering the Dining Hall and anytime you get more food or drink. We also ask that all Villagers use new plates and/or bowls with each trip to the buffet, island, and cereal dispensers.

Additionally, our little ones may not be ready or able to give this level of attention. We ask that children ages 12 and under be served by a responsible adult at the buffet line and at the island.

Thank you for doing your part to help curb the spread of germs in our Dining Hall, and for supporting a healthy and happy Village.

Meal Time

All meals at Holden are served buffet-style in the Dining Hall, and are available during scheduled meal times. In the summertime, two buffet lines are available on either end of the Dining Hall. During the fall/winter/spring months, one buffet line is available on the east end of the Dining Hall.

Holden offers one menu for each mealtime. Meals typically consist of a few warm dishes (entrée and sides), some cold prepared dishes, and a salad bar (and/or a topping bar, depending on the meal). Read the label (located on the glass sneeze-guard above each dish or the small plate in front of the dish) for the name of each dish and for any allergens present.

Food Outside Of Meal Times

Hungry or thirsty outside of scheduled meal times? The Dining Hall offers a diverse array of snacks and beverages available 24/7. Check out the northeast wall of the Dining Hall for a selection of milks, juices, hard-boiled eggs, cereals, and a smorgasbord of loose-leaf teas. Hot water, hot chocolate, and hot coffee are available on the east end of the Dining Hall.

The Dining Hall’s center island is home to our homemade bread(s), our beloved toaster, a variety of jams and homemade nut butters, oils and spices, honey, and a variety of local whole fruits.

Special Diets

If you have a dietary restriction, please contact the Food Services Lead before you arrive in the Village. Doing so ensures that the kitchen is prepared to serve you. When needed, the kitchen prepares separate dishes for those with allergies or other food sensitivities.

If a main dish on the buffet line lists an allergen you cannot eat, please check in with the kitchen staff at the Silver Counter for an alternative dish.

Please note that the Holden Village kitchen is NOT a peanut-free or allergen-free kitchen. We have certain processes in place to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination, but we cannot guarantee that cross-contamination won’t take place. If you have a severe food allergy, please contact the Food Services Lead and the Medic for more information.

In order to minimize our food waste, the kitchen tries to produce only enough food to feed everyone during the scheduled mealtime. For that reason, it is important that we know about your dietary restriction before your arrival so we can ensure quick and delicious service.

Guest Fridge

There is a refrigerator available for guest usage in the west foyer of the Dining Hall. Please label all contents with your last name and your departure date.

Any items lacking the correct label may be disposed of by kitchen staff at any time. At the end of your stay, please dispose of any leftover food items in the Guest Fridge before departure. Note that leftover personal food items CANNOT be left on the Dining Hall island for consumption by others, as per WA State Health Code.

Food Waste

This valley is not ours; we do not own it. Thus, all waste we produce must be sorted and processed onsite. The kitchen attempts to minimize its waste by preparing only enough food appropriate for the population of the Village.

Any extra food not served is repurposed and reutilized in other dishes, or served as-is during our weekly “week in review” lunch.

We ask that diners be mindful of their waste, and serve themselves only what they will eat. Remember – you can always get more food from the buffet, but you cannot return food you do not finish. Once food is plated by a diner, the kitchen cannot reutilize it (per WA State Health Code). 

All Villagers (guests and staff alike) are expected to scrape their plates and bowls of leftover food and oil at the compost station in the west end of the Dining Hall before depositing their dishes for washing. Doing so protects the Village’s delicate drain field from harm brought on by excessive oil and food waste, and our compost is reused around the Village to help our lawns and gardens grow. Parents, please scrape for your children or help them thoroughly scrape for themselves.

Other waste products, such as food packaging, must be sorted into the appropriate bins. All Villagers are expected to sort their own waste into the appropriate bins in Garbo Central (located in the first floor of the Hotel). All landfill and recyclable waste is stored in-Village and shipped downlake a few times each year. This process is both labor-intensive and expensive, and we ask that all Villagers keep this in mind when you bring packaging into the Village. If able, please consider packing-out some of your waste. If you are interested in delivering some of the Village’s recycling to a recycling center downlake (THANK YOU!), you can check in with the Village Garbologist for more information.


Holden Village is a community where your questions are valued and encouraged. Most programs led by visiting teaching faculty occur during the summer months. However, Holden also invites faculty to teach sessions for special events and retreats throughout the rest of the year.
Check out a list of the 2024 Summer Faculty.