“I believe that food should be worth the calories, so I try to make things taste good,” Joan Whieldon said, smiling. “People need to be fed. It fills a part of the soul, I believe.”
Joan Whieldon is joining the staff in Union Market as kitchen manager and head cook, dividing the responsibilities of assistant food services director with Danelle Eckright. Denise Serack, who was the assistant food services director, will be stepping up to take on the duties of Peter Blankenship as he retires.
Joan loved creating delicious food since she was young, sometimes skipping studies to bake cakes for her high school friends. At Shenandoah Valley Academy in Virginia, the cafeteria director created a baking position just for her. But after high school, Joan felt she should pursue a high paying career, not realizing how much cooking and baking meant to her.
Now, after years of testing and trying other career paths, including a communication major here at Union, Joan followed her passion to study at the Great Plains Culinary Institute here in Lincoln. After finishing her degree, she made her way to Union Market. “There’s a great community here, I feel welcome,” Joan said. She’s glad that her work here still allows her to continue experimenting and creating great food. “I love making bread, whether it’s ciabatta, or whether it’s focaccia and I get to stick my fingers in it with the oils,” she chuckled.
She’s excited for new changes that will be taking place in the cafeteria, but she asks that the students be patient as those changes will be implemented slowly. “Let us work out the squeaks and the bumps,” she says, “but I think you guys are really gonna be happy with what we’re talking about.”
by Maria Kercher, senior communication major