Alumna Profile: Dana Angstadt
Dana Angstadt, MAFS & MBA ’18 has a mouthful of a title at Gate Gourmet, the airline catering company and corporate meal supplier where she works: Manager, Menu & New Business Development. But her daily responsibilities are as vast as the title itself. “I plan and develop menus, I source food, I do recipe testing, packaging, labeling,” Angstadt says. Angstadt says that it’s her experience in Chatham’s dual Master of Arts in Food Studies (MAFS) + Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program that helped prepare her for the financial and logistical minutiae involved in her position at Gate Gourmet. With clients as big as United, Delta, and American Airlines, an eye for detail and planning is necessary.
Angstadt’s favorite aspect of her career is the last bit of her title, ‘New Business Development’. “The new business development side is my favorite because it’s my domain. I source ingredients, develop menus, test recipes, evaluate packaging. I’m fully involved in supply chain procurement,” Angstadt says. Her work with larger airlines involves many of those same ‘ingredients’, but with new business development Angstadt can really strut her culinary stuff. “It involves more creativity,” Angstadt says. “I get to interact with production teams and use my background in kitchens and restaurants.”
Though she works in the culinary industry, Angstadt never would have guessed that she would become so engrossed in the corporate and industrial side of food. “The MAFS program definitely gave me a taste of all of the aspects included in our food system, but I had to learn about the corporate manufacturing aspect of food on my own,” Angstadt says.
“At Chatham, we were taught about organics and small-scale food service. I still believe in that, of course, but I want to see how most people are fed. I want to see how larger scale facilities work and how I can change things from the inside.”
Angstadt is taking the skills and values learned at Chatham and implementing them in the world. “My experiences at Chatham shaped the way I think about the agricultural and food world now,” Angstadt says. Her advice to current students and those looking into the job market: “pay attention and you can always learn something, even after school. Think out of the box in terms of employment. Open your mind to many industries. It all comes together.”