“I love working with operators in school foodservice. Their passion and dedication inspires me.”
She is General Mills Foodservice’s dedicated K-12 culinary expert, and her role incudes everything from identifying products and solutions that are a good fit for school feeding programs to developing recipes for kid-favorite menu items. She also regularly visits school kitchens to conduct training and participate in working sessions—an experience that she says is both inspiring and eye-opening since it gives her a firsthand glimpse into the world of the customers she serves.
“It is enlightening to see how different schools approach some of the common challenges their peers face,” says Chef Monica, who is proud to be an advocate for school foodservice. “I love sharing what I learn from my experiences with other schools in addition to the important work we are doing at General Mills to help schools serve kids.”
Chef Monica’s background in culinary arts and nutrition education make her uniquely suited to work with K-12 foodservice. While her career began working with contract food management and fine dining in her native Kentucky, she later attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. While there, she worked in catering and as an associate cookbook editor and also “filled in” teaching classes in nutrition and sanitation. That short teaching stint turned into years spent in classrooms teaching both culinary and dietetics students.
She also worked in sensory science and as the chef for a flavor company before joining General Mills in 2003. Today, Chef Monica loves combining her passion for healthy foods with figuring ways to support busy operators and staff in their mission to feed children.
When she is not in the kitchen, Chef Monica dedicates her time to various organizations that share her enthusiasm for improving the lives of youth. For several years she has worked with Cookie Cart, which provides a positive learning environment for teens to gain work, life and leadership skills by working in a Twin Cities bakery. She’s also an active member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, spending time with her “Little” on a weekly basis for the past six years. During the school year, they meet for lunch each week at her Little Sister’s school cafeteria—a place Chef Monica feels right at home!
- Master’s Degrees in both Nutrition and Food Science: Texas Woman’s University
- Associate Degree, Occupational Studies: The Culinary Institute of America
- Bachelor’s Degree, Foods and Nutrition: University of Louisville