The State Room Restaurant employs an extraordinarily diverse and talented team of culinary professionals. Our chefs come from around the world and create unique flavors and cultural styles for you to explore in our menus, from American to European to Indian and more. When you dine with us, indulge in a culinary experience created by our dedicated chefs who put passion in every dish.
MSU students from The School of Hospitality Business help support our team in the kitchen, in the restaurant, and banquets. Over 400,000 guests visit the Kellogg Center annually, and we serve an average of 1,500 meals per day.
Senior Executive Chef Mike Clyne oversees retail operations for Michigan State University (MSU), including Kellogg Center operations, Sparty's mini-markets, Sparty's Market 1855 Place, MSU Concessions and The Workshop at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility. As a graduate of Carlett Park College in England, Mike received his culinary training in Europe and earned city and guild certifications in culinary arts. Before joining MSU, he worked as a chef in Bermuda, Jamaica, England, Saudi Arabia and Wales. He also worked for Westin and Hyatt Hotels across the U.S. Mike's favorite foods are steak and chocolate, and his specialty areas are desserts and sauces.
Executive Chef Matt Wilson brings more than 20 years of experience to the Kellogg Center. He specializes in French cuisine and is known for adding a Midwestern flair to his simple, but elegant, culinary creations. Matt studied under master chef Roland Henin in Seattle, Washington. Additionally, he spent three years gaining experience at Seattle's four-star and five-diamond Sorrento Hotel, where he collaborated with celebrity chef Graham Kerr on developing healthy recipes for a cookbook.
In 2017, Matt was nominated for the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association Culinary Star of the Year, a coveted recognition in the hospitality industry. In the kitchen, he is always happy to assist his colleagues, especially if they need to reach items from the top shelf. Outside of the kitchen, Matt enjoys golfing and spending time on Michigan's many lakes.
Executive Chef Rob Trufant fell in love with cuisine at a berry farm and orchard in northeastern Michigan. Throughout the years, his passion has grown deeper. As a graduate of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University (MSU), the Michigan native found his calling as a caterer while traveling the states. Rob joined the MSU Athletic Catering and Event Services team in 2006 and he was promoted to the role of Sous Chef for Kellogg Catering in 2010. Today, Rob is proud to serve as Executive Chef for Kellogg Catering and call the banks of the Red Cedar his home.
Chef Tom has been the Kellogg Center’s extraordinary sous chef for the past 21 years. Tom was first inspired to pursue a career in the hospitality industry when he worked with a chef in Arizona. His staple dish is southern comfort food; recreating classic dishes that satisfy the soul with every bite. Over the years, he has perfected flavor balance and masterfully executes every meal. Chef Tom has many responsibilities, including ordering the meat and seafood for the restaurant, plating meals, completing payroll and writing food schedules. But, his favorite part of the job is seeing the happy guests at the end of a meal. When Tom isn’t in the State Room, he enjoys collecting baseball cards and throwing darts. A fun fact about Tom is that he has hiked the Grand Canyon several times and has a big sweet tooth; often you find him drinking Coca-Cola instead of coffee. He is also a die-hard NFL fan compared to the other Kellogg Center chefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers will always be the No. 1 team in his heart.
Executive Sous Chef Scott Danci is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan. While growing up, he developed a passion for cuisine and the culinary arts. Scott's family owned and operated a restaurant on the west side of Ann Arbor, so he was consistently around food and learned a wealth of information about the industry. He came to Michigan State University to pursue a degree from The School of Hospitality Business and began working with us as a student in the catering department. Scott continued his culinary development after graduation and has been a member of the Kellogg Catering team since 2011, where he currently serves as a sous chef.
Sous Chef Rebecca (Becca) Hills joined the Kellogg Center team in 2013, beginning as a part-time pantry cook while she attended the Art Institute of Michigan. She graduated with an associates degree in Culinary Arts and a certificate in baking and pastry in 2014. After experiencing all areas of the kitchen and serving as a banquet salad preparation cook, she was promoted to sous chef more than four years ago. In addition to applying concepts she studied in culinary school, Becca enjoys learning from her colleagues and having the opportunity to mentor new and aspiring cooks. Baking is one of her passions, especially the breadmaking process and creating artisan breads. Becca loves to transform simple ingredients into delicious and beautiful cuisine.
Sous Chef Kaline Jennings joined the Michigan State University (MSU) team in November 2019, working with MSU Culinary Services as the Retail Branded Concepts Sous Chef. He has a passion for working with food, which began with his first job in a fast-food establishment and continued to grow throughout his career. Kaline has experience in a variety of culinary realms, including an Italian restaurant, a brewing company, and Creative Dining Services, where he worked with Auto-Owners. In January 2022, he began a new position with Kellogg Catering as the Breslin Center Recruitment Lounge Chef, where he is proud to support the MSU men's and women's basketball teams and coaching staff.
Since 1999, Chef Christoph Waldburger has developed professional culinary and kitchen management skills. After graduating from the Culinary Academy of Bern, Switzerland in 1995, he spent three seasons at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland before moving to the U.S. to continue his career in Nevada. Over nearly 12 years, Chef Christoph worked in a variety of settings, including a casino, correctional facility, golf course and food company before transitioning to an Executive Chef role at a multimillion-dollar operation in South Dakota.
He joined the MSU Culinary Services team as an Assistant Dining Services Manager in East Neighborhood. Chef Christoph also recently served as Sous Chef at The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips, assisting with menu planning, forecasting, specials events and team member development. He joined the Kellogg Center team in the fall of 2021 as the new State Room Restaurant chef.
Elayna Creed joined the State Room team in 2015 as a Student Supervisor and she has continued to progress in her restaurant management career. She earned a promotion to State Room Operations Manager in November 2022. Prior to serving in this role, she was the Dining Room Manager and Assistant Dining Room Manager. Elayna has played a key role in overseeing the operation and introducing a variety of systems and partnered with our Culinary Services dietitian to introduce Foodservice Suite to the food and beverage team at the Kellogg Center. In the past, she has also concentrated on the restaurant’s extensive wine program and assisted with developing the Scotch Club to offer events and increase sales.
Over the years, she has also emphasized the importance of employee retention and effective training. Elayna previously collaborated with a third-party consulting company to rebuild the State Room’s staff training program and has focused on improving communication across departments to streamline processes and enhance the guest experience. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Hospitality Business from MSU in 2016.
Katie Srodes joined the State Room team in 2016. Starting as a Server Assistant, she then transitioned to a Server and worked her way up to Lead Bartender. In her current role as State Room Manager, Katie oversees restaurant and lounge service. In addition to booking private parties and creating staff schedules, she assists with the monthly inventory of our extensive wine and spirits list. Katie also helps with bar service on busy evenings and developed cocktail and mocktail options to increase menu variety. She loves to visit with new and frequent visitors, engaging with our community of guests. Katie earned her Environmental Economics and Management degree from MSU in 2019, focusing on Environmental and Sustainable Studies. Given her educational background, she works to incorporate sustainability initiatives into restaurant operations whenever possible.
Mary Welsh has been a member of the team since 2007. She oversees dining services for the restaurant and specializes in adding extra special touches to guest celebrations.