Chef de Cuisine, J.D. Baldridge
J.D. earned his bachelor’s degree in hospitality from Oklahoma State University, and completed a study abroad program at the Caesar Ritz Hotelier School in Le Bouveret, Switzerland, where he studied European Cuisine and International Hotel Management. Following college, J.D. moved to New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America in their A.C.E program – a fast track for students with industry experience. While in school, he had brief experiences working in the kitchens at Le Bernardin, Mailino, Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. J.D. was his team’s leader at C.I.A, and nominated to present the welcome address at his graduation.
In 2013, J.D. moved to Aspen to work at Ajax Tavern, and within five months, was promoted to supervisor. A year later, he was offered the position of Sous Chef at element 47, and during that time the restaurant received its Five-Star designation from Forbes, and The Little Nell received its Relais & Chateaux affiliation. In September 2015, J.D. was elevated to Chef de Cuisine at Ajax Tavern, and brought back classic French Bistro fare, such as Duck Cassoulet, Coq au Vin and the Frisee aux Lardon salad with Truffle Vinaigrette. J.D. thinks it’s exciting to work at a place where people are not only passionate about their profession, but their world outside of work as well. He shares many hobbies with his fellow chefs, such as skiing on powder days and hiking, camping and fishing trips in the summer.