Meet the Chefs

Hospitality Management holds Benefit Gala

The Hospitality Management program at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will be hosting its Benefit Gala Friday, May 4. The gala will feature the talents of the program’s current students while celebrating and welcoming back its talented alumni, including a recent finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef Texas.

The event will begin with a silent auction and cocktail hour starting at 6 p.m in Eckles Hall. A four-course meal prepared by three professional chefs and Mizzou alums will follow.

“The purpose is to raise funds for the Hospitality Management program while showcasing the talent that the school produces,” said the gala’s planner, Kelsey Juern.

Chef Leslie Jett.

The gala’s guest chefs include Leslie Jett, Heather Terhune and Sara Trikenskas. They are all alums of the Hospitality Management program.

Jett, executive chef and assistant teaching professor, joined the Hospitality Management staff in 2003. He currently serves as the program’s executive chef and operations coordinator and oversees the school’s lab-related and food-service programs. Jett graduated from CAFNR’s Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1999. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in General Agriculture, a master’s degree in Career and Technical Education and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education, with an emphasis in Leadership and College Teaching, from MU. He earned a culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University in 2001.

Heather Terhune.

Heather Terhune is currently executive chef at Chicago’s Sable Kitchen and Bar. She is known for incorporating quality Midwestern ingredients into Sable’s menu. She also is a major supporter of sustainable and organic agriculture, including Chicago’s own Green City Market. Terhune was a recent contestant and Top 10 finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef Texas. She previously worked at The Willard Room in Washington, D.C.’s venerable Willard Hotel, The Watergate Hotel’s famed Jean Louis restaurant, Pops Trattoria as executive sous chef and pastry chef, Durham, N.C., Chicago’s South Water Kitchen and The Atwood Café as executive chef. Terhune earned a B.S. in agriculture and hotel and restaurant management from CAFNR. She also earned a degree from the New England Culinary Institute in 1995.

Sara Trikenskas.

Craft Chocolate Maker Sara Trikenskas is involved in every step, from bean to bar, of the gourmet chocolate making process at Patric Chocolate, Columbia. The 2011 CAFNR Hospitality Management graduate gained professional experience while at MU making pastries at the University Club.

Tickets for the event are available at; guests also have the option to sponsor a table of 10.

A senior and Hospitality Management major (with an emphasis in event planning), Kelsey Juern has been planning the event with a group of 10 other students.

“Planning this event has been the most real life experience that I could possibly have,” Juern said. “I think the lessons that I am learning and will learn through this experience will stay with me throughout my entire career.”

The Hospitality Management program focuses on understanding the principles involved in leading a successful hospitality organization. Students have the opportunity to practice these principles in applied courses and through an internship.