Culinary Faculty

J. Desmond Keefe III - Associate Professor


J. Desmond Keefe III has worked at SNHU since 1995, and in 2008, became chair of the school's culinary program. Previously he gained more than a decade of culinary experience working in numerous restaurants, including Boston’s Top of the Hub.

Keefe holds an Associate in Science Degree from Johnson & Wales University and a Master in Education from Cambridge College. For the past 11 years, he has coached Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl teams and he serves as chair of ACF's Knowledge Bowl Task Force.

Keefe is a certified executive chef (CEC), certified culinary educator (CCE) and certified hospitality educator (CHE). Keefe received the 2011 American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF) Northeast Region Chef Educator of the Year award.

Keefe demonstrates his passion for nutrition and education by serving on New Hampshire Department of Education's Team Nutrition, for which he has developed and presented numerous seminars for promoting healthy cooking and eating to children, and by serving on Action for Healthy Kids' foodservice and nutrition education subcommittees. He is the co-author of ''Principles of Food, Beverage, and Labor Cost Controls, 9th Edition'' (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2009).

Karina Pasternak - Baking and Pastry Instructor


A baking and pastry instructor at SNHU since 2006, Karina Pasternak teaches the fundamental elements of baking and instructs finer techniques of pastry arts. She developed an elective course in artisan bread baking. She previously worked as a pastry chef.

Pasternak received her Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts and her Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Administration from SNHU.

Pasternak's publications have appeared in Food & Wine and Art Culinary magazines.

M. Brigid Flanigan - Associate Professor


M. Brigid Flanigan has served as an associate professor in the School of Hospitality since 1995, teaching in both culinary and baking concentrations. Before joining the university in 1995, Flanigan worked as a chef in private clubs, hotels and restaurants, including St. Botolph Restaurant in Boston, Club 101 and The United Nations Park Hyatt Hotel in New York City. She was the last executive chef at the famous Red Coach Grill in Wayland, Mass.

Flanigan has developed courses in both culinary and baking areas and has worked on curriculum development and adaptation of the 2 + 2 plan for bachelor's in Applied Science in Hospitality.

Flanigan received an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Culinary Arts from Southern Maine Technical College, an Advanced Certificate of Culinary Arts from the Cordon Bleu Cookery School, London, England; and a Master of Education from Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA.

Flanigan serves on the SNHU Judicial Board and the Faculty Center Committee. Flanigan is active in the New Hampshire chapter of Share Our Strength and is a member of the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and the Careers through Culinary Arts Program.

Stefan Ryll - Assistant Professor


Since joining SNHU in 2008, Stefan Ryll has completed the training to become a certified test evaluator by the American Culinary Federation, developed the Skills of Meat Cutting course for the Culinary Department and assisted in the development of the four-year Culinary Management program. Ryll coached the SNHU Culinary team to a bronze medal win at the Northeast Regional competition in 2011.

He earned his Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from the Metha Bohnert Culinary Academy, Germany; his Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Administration and his Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from SNHU. Stefan is working towards his Master of Business Administration at SNHU.

Ryll is a member of the American Culinary Federation, and a member and certification chair for the Professional Chefs of Southern New Hampshire. In 2004, he was awarded Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation Professional Chefs of New Hampshire.  He also presents at the NE Culinary Educators Forum on a regular basis.

At SNHU, Ryll serves as a member of the Faculty Senate, the University Curriculum Committee, as the faculty advisor to SNHU's Culinary Student Association and was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Stephen Owens - Associate Professor


Stephen Owens is an associate professor of culinary arts and teaches a variety of courses in the culinary and hospitality disciplines. Prior to joining SNHU in 1995, Owens worked as an executive chef at various restaurants in New England.

Owens received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel/Tourism Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a Ritz Escoffier certificate from the Hotel Ritz and his Masters of Science in Business Education from SNHU.

Owens was nominated for SNHU’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000, 2006 and 2012.

Professional memberships include American Culinary Federation – Professional Chefs of NH Chapter and ServSafe Certified. Owens serves on SNHU’s Assessment Committee and the University Budget Advisory Committee. His publications include articles in the Hippo Press, Lawrence Eagle Tribune and Early American Homes.

Vicki Connell - Department Chair, Associate Professor


Vicki Connell is an associate professor in SNHU's culinary program and has written and taught curricula for the pastry arts program since 1985. Connell was an SNHU Excellence In Teaching Nominee in 2010 and 2011.   
Connell has been featured as an on-set chef on Public Television's "Country Inn Cooking with Gail Greco" and in the American Culinary Federation's video series to accompany the text, "Baking Fundamentals." She has been awarded a National Restaurant Association's teacher work-study grant and a Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Bread Baking Internship with Amy's Break in NYC. She was inducted into the Cooking Matters Hall of Fame by Share Our Strength where she was recognized for her volunteer work with Cooking Matters, an organization that brings together local culinary and nutrition professionals to teach hands-on cooking courses to low-income families.

Connell received her Associate in Applied Science in Foodservice Management from the University of New Hampshire, her Bachelor in Science in Small Business Management and Master in Business Administration from SNHU.

Professional associations include American Culinary Federation Professional Chefs of New Hampshire Chapter and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.

Connell service includes the University Committee on the Faculty, Faculty Development Committee Culinary Curriculum Committee, University Curriculum Committee, University Promotion Committee, Culinary Search Committees, and the University Assessment Committee.

William Gillett - Dean of School of Business


William Gillett, J.D., came to SNHU in 2010 after spending the first 25 years of his career in international business and the law. Immediately prior to joining SNHU, Gillett served as president of RiverStone Resources, an international insurance and reinsurance organization specializing in the management of large, long-tail liabilities, where he was responsible for its overall strategic direction and new business acquisitions. Gillett brings a wealth of business and international partnerships, many formed as managing director for RiverStone’s European division.

Gillett holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.

Gillett is also an active participant in New Hampshire's business and philanthropic communities including New Hampshire Public Radio, the International Institute of New England, the New Hampshire High Technology Council and the New Hampshire Writers' Project.