Carson College of Business names new executive chef and culinary director

Hospitality student Owen Garrett watches Chef Morgan demonstrate how to flambé mushrooms.
Hospitality student Owen Garrett watches Chef Morgan demonstrate how to flambé mushrooms (photo by WSU Photo Services).

When Mathew Morgan directed the food and nutrition program at TriState Health in Clarkston, Washington, his culinary staff often told him he’d make a really good teacher. He didn’t think much about it at the time.

But when two friends and Indeed, an online job sourcing company, sent Morgan the same job posting for the director of the Marriott Foundation Hospitality and Culinary Innovation Center in the Carson College of Business, he took notice.

“When I received three messages within a couple of hours, I took it as a sign I should apply for the position,” he said.

He was offered the job and joined the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management in June 2023.

Role enhances WSU’s reputation

The role of the Marriott Foundation Hospitality and Culinary Innovation Center director and executive chef is integral to the reputation and quality of the Carson College’s hospitality program, the success of WSU’s signature events, and the needs of the surrounding community. Morgan’s duties include teaching culinary classes, the culinary certificate, and leading the hospitality school’s student-run catering services that serve WSU and Pullman. The catering business brings in revenue to the college and prepares students for successful careers.

Morgan’s personal and professional experience positioned him well for these responsibilities.

His mother and grandparents taught him to cook at a young age, as his family hosted lots of events and participated in humanitarian efforts that included food. In his early teens, he began thinking about a culinary career. Knowing he would need business training to be successful in this realm, he earned an associate’s in culinary arts with efficiencies in business management from The Arts Institute in Seattle.

After college, he worked in Seattle and Wenatchee-area restaurants and discovered a passion for fine dining and management. He also worked for Starbucks and launched his own businesses including making wedding cakes and catering chocolates served on corporate jets.

Eventually, he moved back to eastern Washington to be closer to family. After managing concessions and a campus café at the University of Idaho and working as a general manager and executive chef for Sodexo at Community Colleges of Spokane, Spokane Community College, and Spokane Falls Community College, he landed the food and nutrition directorship at TriState Health, where he worked for the last 10 years before coming to WSU.

Building on excellence

“I didn’t realize the caliber of the culinary innovation center under the leadership of former Executive Chef Jamie Callison,” Morgan says. “I’m excited to build on that and train young people to prepare for careers in the ever-evolving hospitality and culinary industries.”

Morgan is also eager to continue using WSU and locally sourced products and collaborate with Brad Jaeckel at WSU Eggert Family Organic Farm to grow produce specifically for use in the center.

“It’s important to me to educate students in a way that allows them to follow their passion, whether it’s in fine dining, catering, or owning a coffee shop or food truck, for example,” he says. “Our curriculum provides a well-rounded skill set, from basic cooking to sustain themselves or a family to advanced culinary skills. Seeing that spark in a student’s eye when they ‘get it’ is very rewarding for me.”

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