While some students eat three of their meals on campus daily, the identity of the mastermind behind them is not always visible. Newly promoted Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef Jonna Anne works with Campus Auxiliary Services staff to oversee the preparation of fresh meals for students on campus.
After graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Science degree in food and nutrition, Anne worked as an area operations coordinator at Long Term Care in Ithaca, N.Y. Originally, she didn’t plan on going into culinary arts.
Motivated by her passion for food and drive to “learn from the best,” Anne decided to attend the French Culinary School in Lyon, France. She said her experience there was what hooked her on the food industry and that one of her favorite memories from the experience was her “first bite of fresh baguette bread from the bakery right out of the oven.”
Since then, Anne said, she has not stopped “learning and loving the culinary arts.” She went on to receive her culinary master’s degree from Hormel Foods and the Culinary Institute of America and then studied to become a certified executive chef with the American Culinary Federation.
From there, Anne ventured back to New York to work as executive chef at Alfred University. In 2004, Anne became area operations manager for CAS at Geneseo and by 2008 she was promoted to executive chef.
Anne said she loves the “feeling of campus community” at Geneseo and that “everyone is working toward the common good.”
“Every day is a little different within restaurants and cafes, new recipes, special events, construction meetings and now the Chowhound,” Anne said, affirming that there is no “average day” on the job.
Anne said that she also encounters new struggles throughout each year. Recently, she had to deal with the closing of Letchworth Dining Hall. Anne said she and her team were forced to devise a way to “offer quality menus on a consistent basis” and give students the best service possible while Letchworth is under construction.
Anne helped to devise a myriad of solutions, including bringing in the Chowhound. Because of this struggle and others, Anne said she has learned much from her time here at Geneseo and said she has discovered that it is important to “always look to the future.”
Although Letchworth is temporarily shut down, Anne said she will continue to create new restaurants and cafes for her customers, attempting to “exceed their expectations” and push a little harder with each step.
Anne said she can feel a sense of belonging here at Geneseo. She has the opportunity to interact with many of the clubs and organizations here on campus, which she said makes her job fun and exciting each day. While the Geneseo campus and the community surrounding it experiences its share of ups and downs, Anne said, “The atmosphere [in Geneseo] is one of a family.”