Executive Search: Executive Chef at Cullasaja Club

Executive Chef
Cullasaja Club
Highlands, North Carolina

The Club

Cullasaja Club, created by Arvida in 1987, is an intimate private club in a storybook setting high in the Carolina Mountains. The Club, to which membership is by invitation only, is dedicated to creating memorable and remarkable experiences for its members and their guests. The membership is genuine and friendly, and the amenities and activities are exceptional. The Club is managed by an extraordinary and long-tenured staff that is known for delivering highly personalized services.

The Club, located in the resort town of Highlands, NC, is situated at 4,200 feet above sea level which guarantees summertime temperatures in the low to mid 70’s each day. Featuring less than 300 homes, the community boasts a stunning 24,000 square foot mountain-lodge-style Clubhouse, a premier golf course, gourmet dining and a full roster of Club activities including tennis, croquet, swimming, boating, trophy trout fishing, and a first class fitness and wellness facility.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer designed the 6,900 yard, par-72 championship golf course, making many personal visits to create his Mountain Masterpiece. He walked the land to ensure that the green fairways were carefully carved into the natural landscape and streams to create a stunning experience for the low handicappers and beginners alike.

Cullasaja Club Overview

Memberships – 330 (currently capped). Golf – 275; Social – 55
Initiation fee – Full – $85,000;  Social – $42,500
Annual dues – Full-$16,075; Social – $11,635
Gross volume – $ 6.1M
Annual dues revenue – $ 3.9M
F&B volume – $1.2M
Gross payroll – $3.35
Culinary employees – 14 in-season
Board members – 9
Average age of members – 70

The Executive Chef Position

Cullasaja Club is searching for a committed, proactive, and passionate culinary professional who enjoys working in an exciting private club environment and one who has the ability to select the perfect enhancements to make a lasting impression.

The Executive Chef will coordinate and oversee all aspects of the kitchen to ensure the quality and consistency of the dining experience. This professional should have strong leadership skills, and a proven track record in recruiting and attracting culinarians to the team. Seasonal hospitality operations experience offering similar services is a plus.

Important Individual Characteristics

  • A naturally enthusiastic personality and passion for the culinary industry.
  • Ability to hire, train, motivate and develop a high performing team in a seasonal environment who are dedicated to a shared vision.
  • A natural leadership style which promotes an engaged, motivated staff.
  • A mind for innovation and action with an ability to act as a thought partner with the General Manager and other department leaders.
  • Creativity in menu design, exhibiting an appreciation for the Club’s culinary traditions while exploring fresh and innovative culinary trends.
  • The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Disciplined follow-through to ensure the vision and goals of the Club come to fruition.
  • Ability to cultivate a high-level of member satisfaction through consistency in the dining experience.
  • A strong understanding of top-notch food and beverage experiences for Club members and guests.
  • Effective fiscal management through delivery of actual operational and capital results in alignment with approved budgets.
  • The desire to maintain high level of visibility among members and staff as the face of the Club’s dining and catering programs.
  • An understanding of the importance of digital communication and ability to utilize web and social media tools to communicate with the staff and membership.

Dining Facilities

The Overlook – is the most popular dining space offering a westward view in a covered, outdoor setting.  Seating capacity at the Overlook is set for 56 ala carte diners with the ability to seat 80 in a banquet setting.

The Sweetwater Room – provides more formal dining in a natural setting, with the Sweetwater Terrace offering more of the al fresco atmosphere Members have been enjoying on our Overlook for years.  The Sweetwater Room can accommodate 36-56 Members for ala carte dining or 72-80 in a banquet format.  The Sweetwater Terrace is set for 32 ala carte and can be extended to 48 people in a banquet setting.

Arnie’s Bar – this facility provides the opportunity for Members to enjoy a familiar atmosphere where everybody knows your name in a setting featuring soft seating and plenty of stools to belly up.  Arnie’s has 7 tables plus 20 barstools for ala carte dining providing seating capacity for up to 60 members to dine; or it can be set with seating up to 72 members for banquets.

The 4032 Market – serves as a versatile area for the busy morning crowd looking for a quick pick me up as well as a comfortable place to congregate before dinner.  There is ample seating for 12-16 people in this space.

Pool Side Grill – those enjoying an afternoon in the heated swimming pool often end their workout with a light salad, fresh sandwich or burger at the Pool Side Grill, which features seating for up to 52 people.

Fairway Café – nestled in the trees between the 9th green and the 10th tee complex, the Cullasaja Fairway Café is the perfect place for quick refreshments and an energy boost during a round of golf.  There are 6 tables with seating up to 32 people.

Private Events such as weddings can accommodate up to 350 people, utilizing both the indoor and outdoor spaces. For events of this size, the dining services will be closed to the membership. There are also two private meeting rooms, capable of seating up to 40 people for special events.

Candidate Qualifications

  • A minimum of 5 years of progressive leadership and management experience in a hospitality environment. Current Executive Sous Chefs at well-recognized organizations with verifiable records of achievement will also be considered.
  • Food safety certification.
  • Certification from American Culinary Federation or other hospitality association.
  • A degree from a post-secondary culinary arts program.

Note: A pre-employment background check will be required.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.


IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit résumés along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by Friday, March 4, 2022.

Those documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Cullasaja Chef Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Cullasaja Chef Résumé”) respectively to: execsearchus@ggapatrtners.com. Please email resume with references.


 For more information about Cullasaja Club, please visit www.cullasajaclub.org