Chef Kristi Branstetter
A lifelong foodie, Chef Kristi Branstetter brings passion and experience to the culinary classroom. Raised in the southern tradition of a kitchen full of family and large helpings of comfort food, Chef Kristi went on to study traditional French culinary arts at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado. As part of her formal training, Chef Kristi studied at the Université du Vin in Provence, France and completed an internship at the Le Petit Prince Patisserie in Sorgues, France. After working as a personal chef and caterer, Chef Kristi opened her own café that featured an original menu with fresh, healthy takes on the comfort food she grew up cooking and eating with her family. Since moving to State College, Chef Kristi became an instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University. Currently, Chef Kristi shares her love of food with over 200 students each semester planning, preparing and eating in the Henderson Foods Lab.
Kitchen Manager Meghan McCracken
Assisting Chef Branstetter is Kitchen Manager Meghan McCracken. Meghan brings a wealth of experience facilitating community cooking programs from working for the past 2 years in the Cook Like A Chef children's program. She is the full-time Food Lab Assistant in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State, where she assists in teaching cooking classes to undergraduate students and manages the kitchen. McCracken has been working in the food service industry for 15 years managing restaurants, cafes, kitchens, health food markets and farmers markets. She is committed to the idea of food as a vehicle to grow healthy bodies and strong communities and has varied experience in community service around food – from creating a garden to food pantry project in West Philadelphia to non-profit hunger alleviation prevention and policy work.