MSU chef preparing meals

Executive Chefs
Committed to Excellence

Meet Our Executive Chefs

MSU Culinary Services is home to some of the best chefs in the industry. Together, our Executive Chefs and Sous Chefs create top-notch cuisine for university students, faculty, staff and guests. Our chefs have won prestigious national awards, graduated from top culinary institutes and worked in some of the best kitchens throughout the U.S. and the world.

Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski

Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski

Corporate Chef, Culinary Services

Kurt Kwiatkowski is the Senior Executive Chef of the award-winning Culinary Services Residential Dining in the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University (MSU). As the Senior Executive Chef, he sets the standards for the all menus in MSU’s residential dining halls, monitors and upholds food standards, runs the research and development of new menu items and recipe development, and develops culinary training for all full time and management staff. Chef is responsible for the culinary vision, systems and strategy for almost 40,000 meals per day. Chef Kurt sights solid culinary fundamentals, and local/state partnerships as one of the keys to MSU’s success.

Chef Kwiatkowski sees the importance of fundamentals and technique in cooking. He has worked in kitchens for more than 35 years, learning solid fundamentals of running a kitchen with chains such as Houston’s Restaurant, Paragon Restaurant Group, Morrison’s Restaurant Group, Ritz-Carlton, and independent restaurants in Atlanta, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Food Systems Management and Economics and a master’s degree from The School of Hospitality Business, both from MSU. He was also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America CEIP program.

Kurt is an active member in the American Culinary Federation, wining over 30 medals in culinary competitions and several certifications, as well as presenting at regional and national conferences. He was voted Chef of the Year for the Detroit Chef De Cuisine Association in 2018. In August of 2019, Chef Kwiatkowski was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs, which was a career goal of his for many years.   

517-884-0660
Chef Kevin Cruz

Chef Kevin Cruz

Executive Chef
The Edge at Akers, Holmes Dining Hall

For more than 10 years, Chef Kevin Cruz has served in an Executive Chef role. His passion for the culinary arts stems from his experience as a U.S. Marine, when he had the opportunity to taste unique cuisine from all over the world. While studying at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Chef Kevin completed an externship at Pinehurst Golf Resort in North Carolina, working during the U.S. Open. After graduating, he served as the Executive Chef of Lansing Sheraton, which received the #1 Food Quality Award for all North American Sheraton Hotels. Additionally, he has worked at the Vail Marriott in Colorado as well as Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Fla. Chef Kevin enjoys connecting with students at MSU, helping shape their futures by teaching them important life skills. He also shares his Puerto Rican heritage and culture with Spartans through food.

517-355-1947
Chef Bryan Latz

Chef Bryan Latz

Executive Chef
South Pointe at Case, Holden Dining Hall

Chef Bryan Latz has worked in foodservice for more than 14 years, joining the MSU team in 2012 and playing an integral role in the opening of The Vista at Shaw. After furthering his education at Central Michigan University and Lansing Community College, he began his culinary career as a kitchen supervisor and line cook at Flap Jack Restaurant. Before transitioning to his current role at MSU, Chef Bryan also served as Executive Chef and Kitchen Manager for The Claddagh Irish Pub, sous chef for Enso in East Lansing and a Kitchen Supervisor at Bar 30. He brings experience in a variety of areas, including facility setup and layout, staff training, and the transformation of underperforming locations to profitable operations. Growing up in Michigan, Chef Bryan appreciates all the Midwest region has to offer. His family hunted, fished, gardened and foraged, so he enjoys incorporating Midwest favorites and flavors in the menu development process and organizing special events in South Neighborhood to honor our state’s vast agriculture.

517-884-6384
Chef Dien Ly

Chef Dien Ly

Executive Chef
The Gallery at Snyder Phillips, Thrive at Owen, The Vista at Shaw

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Chef Dien Ly started cooking at a young age, learning French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine. Before transitioning to her current role, she served as a Sous Chef at Heritage Commons at Landon, helping craft a new menu for the renovated hall before it reopened in 2014. Chef Dien is a graduate of the Saigon Women’s Cooking Institute. She continued her education after moving to the United States, earning a Culinary Arts and Hotel Management degree from Lansing Community College. Prior to joining the MSU team, Chef Dien served as a young Executive and Co-owner of a Franco-Vietnamese restaurant, Con Ve Sau (La Cigale), and worked at Christie’s Bistro as well as the Lansing Sheraton Hotel. She earned her Certified Culinary Administrator designation from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) in 2019 and became an ACF Certified Executive Chef in 2017. Chef Dien uses her more than 20 years of culinary experience to create innovative meals with unique flavors for Spartans and their families.

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Chef Jason Strotheide

Chef Jason Strotheide

Executive Chef
Brody Square, Heritage Commons at Landon

Chef Jason Strotheide has been with MSU for more than 15 years. During the renovation of The Edge at Akers, he played an integral role in menu development and advanced equipment training. As a teenager, Chef Jason began his path in foodservice and culinary arts as a dishwasher. He has worked in a variety of settings, ranging from unique boutique restaurants to hotels and conference centers, catering operations and more. Chef Jason enjoys growing his own vegetables and sourcing meats and other products locally whenever possible. He has been recognized for his dedication to welcoming international students by the Office of International Students and Scholars, playing a key role in the chef exchange with Beijing Normal University that occurred in 2016 as well as the Temple Fair organized each year to honor the Chinese New Year.

517-884-0523