I will create a menu for your retreat in consultation with you — leaving open opportunities for seasonal bounty and whimsy. I cook everything from fresh ingredients, including salad dressings, salsas, hummus, etc.
Special dietary needs
I can accommodate many special needs if I know about them in advance, so I suggest requesting information about special diet needs in your registrations, and getting specific. Vegetarian? Vegan? No wheat? No sugar? No pork? (For retreats that include meat dishes.)
My base charge is $35 per person per day for a retreat of 15 or more people (including teacher/s). We can then adjust up or down depending on other variables: smaller retreats, "simple fare," special arrangements, "dana" (see below). If a retreat runs from Friday night to Sunday lunch, that is six meals, or two days. My fee includes food costs.
I need a deposit of $75-$200 when we set a date and make a commitment, depending on retreat length. If you need to cancel your retreat, this is non-refundable, but can be used as a deposit on a future retreat. Then I need a third of the fee two weeks prior to the start of the retreat to use for shopping. The remaining two-thirds of the payment (less the deposit) is due at the close of the retreat.
I need a final headcount one week prior to the retreat so that I can shop accordingly. After that, I can add people, but not subtract. If someone drops out with less than a week's notice, I still need to have their food costs covered, which is $10/day. One suggestion is to charge a registration deposit to cover the food costs, so that if someone drops, you do not take a loss.
Retreatants bringing their own food
Retreatants should feel free to bring their own food, and I'll make a portion of a refrigerator available to them. However, they need to be sensitive to not coming into the kitchen when things are hectic, especially before meals!
Buddhist practices: dana
Dana is the practice of giving love offerings to the teacher and cook at the end of a retreat. I find this practice particularly appealing because it works as a sliding scale, so that those who can pay a little more do, and those who need a break to attend the retreat are helped. If your retreat is small and you are having trouble meeting the minimum fee, then dana is something we might discuss.
Buddhist practices: kitchen service
Veggie chopping, pot washing after meals, floor sweeping.
Cook sleeping quarters
An item we will need to discuss, depending upon the retreat facility.
Retreatant dish washing
Typically I've worked in situations in which the retreatants were responsible for washing their own dishes. At the Margaret Austin Center we set up a system of three tubs— soupy water, water with bleach disinfectant, rinse water.
Scholarship kitchen help
For larger retreats, I will consider the possibility of offering a scholarship for kitchen help. Thus, a retreatant would work in the kitchen for $15/hour for an agreed-upon amount of hours, and I would reduce my fee by that amount as their pay.
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