I’m Ashlee—a recipe developer, freelance writer, and full-on food geek.
My roots are in Southwest Kansas, but Denver has been home since I moved to study culinary arts, nutrition, and food research & development. Since then, I’ve worked in test kitchens (including the one-and-only America’s Test Kitchen), done menu and product innovation for national companies, and worked odd jobs like selling sausages across the country and teaching local kombucha classes.
These days, I’m doing freelance food projects including writing, recipe creation, and anything else cooking-related. For more about the work I’m into, see the bottom of this post.
I also try to get in plenty of time to enjoy what I love outside of the things I do for work, which includes: my SO and our dog, our wonderful family and friends, hosting themed dinner parties, reading, listening to all types of podcasts, cozy video games, farmers’ markets, traveling, and dining out.
More About My Experience
I grew up in Southwestern Kansas, where my love of food was sparked by the traditional Mennonite cooking of my family. In 2014, I moved to Denver to attend Johnson & Wales University for a B.S. in Culinary Nutrition with a concentration on Research & Development. Colorado has been my home since.
In 2016, I began working at the Savory Spice Test Kitchen. There, I developed nearly 80 original recipes and adapted countless customer submissions. Operating as part of the marketing department, I coordinated in-house photography, styled for hundreds of shots, and even photographed a few. I managed the creation of a new line of meal-specific, consumer-packaged spice & recipe kits called Spice ‘n Easy’s, from the ideation of unique recipe concepts to launch in nearly 30 locations across the country (and a popular eCommerce site).
As a huge America’s Test Kitchen fan, I had the exciting opportunity to intern there during the winter of 2018-2019. I worked closely with the teams that create ATK’s thoughtful cookbooks as well as the test cooks and editors in charge of every food geek’s fave magazine: Cook’s Illustrated. I mise en placed, maintained the kitchen spaces, and performed recipe tests on a daily basis. I also worked on the set of the Emmy Award-nominated Cook’s Country television show during the filming of its 12th season, setting food and props for the scenes. As the final capstone to the internship, my fellow interns and I were invited to develop a muffin recipe and write an article in the style of Cook’s Illustrated—you can check out mine here.
In 2019, I started in the culinary center at the Snooze A.M. Eatery headquarters. Throughout my time there, I developed, tested, and rolled out national menus and regional pilots, plus helped launched a virtual concept called BodEGGa. I took on a sous chef support role in restaurants during the peak of coronavirus shutdowns, then came back at the beginning of 2021 as the R&D Culinary Coordinator to oversee culinary innovation and optimization for 50+ national restaurants. As we navigated supply chain issues and worked tirelessly toward consistent excellency, I maintained a mission of advocacy to provide the most accessible recipes and training materials possible to employees across the country.
Now, I’m writing semi-regularly about Colorado food & dining for Westword magazine, cooking a few times a week for a local food photographer, and taking on whatever new projects fill my bucket (as they say). If you want to collaborate with me, here are the types of projects I’d love to be involved with (a non-comprehensive list):
- Recipe development
- Recipe testing & recipe editing
- Freelance food writing & general copywriting/editing about any topic
- Food styling/photoshoot chef
- Basic recipe photography
- Local workshops (food & beverages of all types, cooking workshops, and DIY kombucha/sourdough 101)
- Project management and virtual assisting (I’m extremely organized with my work, and I can help you be too.)
Interested? Get in touch with me.