Meet the Team
Meet the Team Behind the Scenes
Have you ever wondered how recipes are developed, or just how many recipes are in the recipe file at K-State? Did you know that we actually have a professional staff member who writes all the menus you see each day?
Behind the scenes in our dining program is a team of three professionals who are critical to the success of K-State’s Dining Services. They are known as the Recipe and Development (RAD) Team or the Menu Management Team. The team includes Kelly Whitehair, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.; Chef Jeffrey Maiden, CSC; and Michelle Netson, M.S., R.D., L.D.
About Kelly Whitehair
She is known on our campus for serving as a committee member and chair for sustainability groups. You’ll not find a better advocate for encouraging sustainable practices on campus! She has conducted research and written publications in food safety and food waste.
As an instructor in the College of Human Ecology, Whitehair has taught:
- Environmental Issues and Food Safety
- Cost Controls
- Facilities Management
- Food Production Management
- Food Service Systems Management
- Italian Food and Wines (K-State in Italy)
- Culture of French Food and Wine (Study Abroad)
Within Dining Services, Whitehair is the official writer of the menus we present to our residents each day. It is far from a simple task to see that all 10,463 recipes are utilized within the 36 menu concepts offered.
“Although my workday is spent focused on food, I still enjoy trying new foods at home and during my travels," says Whitehair. "Discovering a new flavor or concept for the first time is exciting and gets me thinking, 'I wonder if we could do this in the dining centers?'"
She adds, "My husband and I have a garden and love canning and putting our bounty to work in new recipes — you just never know what you may come up with when you allow yourself to be creative with foods. And who doesn't enjoy a meal with friends?”
About Chef Jeffrey Maiden
Maiden brings a lot of food service industry experience to K-State:
- Competing at the Research Chef Association’s National Culinology Competition as an undergrad.
- Earning a gold medal at the American Culinary Federation’s Culinary Knowledge Bowl competition.
- Traveling to New Orleans for a culinary conference and experiencing authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine.
- Working in a raw vegan kitchen at Café Gratitude in Kansas City, Mo.
Prior to joining our K-State team in May 2016, Maiden could be found spending his summers at Philmont Boy Scout Camp.
Maiden spends his days creating, testing and developing new recipes for use on our menus. His food science background is invaluable to us as we dive into how to create the greatest recipes around!
Get to know Maiden each month as he presents a live chef demonstration in each dining center. He would enjoy meeting you and chatting about topics related to food, sustainably grown foods, gardening, flavors and recipe development.
A fun fact about Maiden is that he will challenge anyone to a game of Monopoly and states that he is certain he will be the winner!
About Michelle Netson
Her career with Housing and Dining has spanned several years and has seen many changes. Netson’s philosophy has always been that change is essential if you want to support the growth of your organization into something bigger and better.
Looking for a new challenge brought Netson to her current role as project manager for the Computrition Menu Management software system. Bringing all the puzzle pieces together from recipes, inventory controls, menus, costing, nutritional analysis, orders and history all create the total picture of how so many parts together to support a successful operation. K-State celebrated 10 years in partnership with Computrition in summer 2017.
Food safety issues are also a passion for Netson. She is chair of our food safety committee known as HACCP.
It is certainly not a secret that Netson is a big believer in the importance of family. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren whenever the opportunity arises. Her family includes her husband of 41 years, four daughters, eight grandchildren, two rescue dogs, two rescue cats and a pond full of fish.