Ucross announced today that Jackie Vitale is the new chef of the acclaimed artist residency program in northern Wyoming.
Vitale joins Ucross with more than a decade of international experience in cooking, baking, and foodservice, with a strong background in the arts. Vitale’s professional experience includes co-owning an urban farm and restaurant in Florida, managing a subscription-based bakery business from her own home, and working as a cheesemaker in London. Her passions for the arts and cooking led her to a role as chef-in-residence at another famed residency program, the Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island in Florida.
Vitale earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Studies from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts degree in Advanced Theater Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, and she completed a postgraduate diploma in Sensorial Language and the Poetics of Play at La Universidad de Girona in Barcelona, Spain.
Vitale arrived at Ucross at the beginning of August, in advance of the start of the fall residency session.
“I am thrilled to join the team at Ucross,” Vitale said. “I have already loved feeding and nourishing the artists and connecting with local producers, and I look forward to exploring the beautiful Wyoming landscape.”
As residency chef, Vitale will prepare and deliver lunches to studios, and she will plan, prepare, and present dinners to the 115 visual artists, writers, composers, and choreographers who experience uninterrupted time and space on Ucross’s historic 20,000-acre ranch each year. After long days alone in their studios, the artists-in-residence unite around the dinner table, where they exchange stories and build lasting relationships. Ucross alumni often cite the significance of the food and dining experience on their creative process.
“Jackie’s residency experience, combined with her own artistry in the kitchen, make her the ideal next chef for our program,” said William Belcher, Ucross president and executive director. “Cindy Brooks, our longtime chef who retired earlier this year, was instrumental in connecting the dining experience to the creative process. I am confident that Jackie will maintain the level of care and nourishment that has become synonymous with our program.”
In addition to cooking for artists, Vitale will prepare hors d’oeuvres for special events and bake fresh pastries for the forthcoming Ucross Café, coming soon to the Ucross Art Gallery.