Chefs Culinary Creations
Ever wonder where the inspiration behind some of our most beloved foods comes from? They’re inspired by real-world flavors! Take a look at how our skilled chefs channel their passions to transform the flavors of some of your favorite dishes into our iconic foods.
Meet Our Chefs
Charlene Gladden didn’t start out as a chef, but she became one as soon as she could. Her past career took her from MIT chemical engineering to software development and pharmaceutical process modeling to teaching chemistry to English language learners. During that journey she devoted all her free time to seeking out global food experiences and experimenting with culinary ingredients and techniques in her home kitchen. She finally made the decision to pursue her passion and eventually landed her dream job as an R&D chef for Frito-Lay. Charlene now combines her engineering acumen with a deep commitment to flavorful, healthful cooking to develop the next generation of delicious, nutritious snack foods.
Steven is an enthusiast, activist, and advocate of food and all the pleasure it brings to our senses and health. Steven graduated from Johnson & Wales University, where he earned a B.S in Culinary Nutrition with double concentrations in clinical dietetics and food science. His passion for community nutrition, sustainability, and culinary education earned him the Dean's Award for his degree and induction as a Newman Civic Fellow; for his time educating at farmers' markets, teaching medical students, and other community outreach initiatives. In addition, Steven has cooked for small bistros, European restaurants, and fine dining establishments. Over the last five years, Steven has increased his food and health influence by working on Better-For-You Brands and Breakthrough Innovation for PepsiCo. Brands such as Quaker, Health Warrior, and Cheetos have benefited from Steven's ingenuity and passion for health, and he's excited to join the Frito-Lays family to continue to push a creative, food, and health-centric way of thinking for all innovations.
Currently, Steven is focused on creating, advancing, and evolving capabilities available for and from the Culinary Innovation team while continuing to be the Culinary Lead for the Quaker Oats Brand.
A creative problem solver and scientific thinker, Ashley Doolin grew up on a cattle farm, fascinated by the natural world around her, and an eagerness to learn how it all works led Ashley to immerse herself in the STEM field. With a focus on food, Ashley graduated with a BAS in Culinary Arts and Science from the University of Cincinnati, which launched a successful career in the food industry. From Quality Control and flavor systems to analytical chemistry and product development, Ashley has had immense success blending her love and passion for Culinary Arts with the technological side of Food Science.
Ashley’s career has allowed her to influence the industry through new product innovation, taking ideas from concept to final commercialization. Today, you can find a range of products influenced by Ashley’s talent, from Sauces and Dips, Meat Protein and Alternatives, Seasoning Mixes, Frozen Foods, Snacks, and Beverage Flavor Systems, as well as Baked Goods, all in-store today due to Ashley’s product development expertise. As part of PepsiCo’s R&D (Research & Development) Global Culinary Team, Ashley is focused on building capabilities and tools focused on Culinary innovation and food-centricity across all of PepsiCo’s R&D .
Chef Jody Denton is a passionate culinary expert with over 30 years of experience as a Chef in Independent Fine Dining Restaurants across the U.S. and the globe. He began his culinary journey as a Chef's Apprentice under a German Master Chef in Dallas, TX; that experience paid off, paving the way for what would be a remarkable journey through the kitchens of renowned Chef such as Wolfgang Puck, Dean Fearing, and Mark Miller.
Throughout his notable career, Jody has had the privilege of cooking for Presidents, Royalty, and Movie and Rock Stars, reinforcing his culinary creativity and entertaining charm. His insatiable curiosity for global food cultures has kept him busy, diving deep into cuisines worldwide and learning their flavor secrets.
For the past 11 years, Jody has been applying his culinary expertise and experience to create delicious, true-to-inspiration, unique flavors for all the top snack brands at Frito-Lay. He leads the Kitchen as the Sr. Executive Chef for the PepsiCo Global Foods Team. He represents PepsiCo's Culinary ambitions to strategic partners, stakeholders, and the public, making a lasting impact with every new flavor and every bite.
Born and raised in Brazil, Marcela Garcia is an enthusiast of food in our culture and society – through its physiological impact on our bodies and as the center of social relationships worldwide.
She began her professional career with a B.A. in Nutrition from Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), specializing in gastronomy through a Culinary Arts graduate course at SENAC (Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Comercial) in São Paulo. Marcela’s cooking skills continued to shine as she won a culinary competition, allowing her to grow further in the Culinary Arts through courses at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
After years of experience cooking in hotels and restaurants in Brazil and Spain, Marcela expanded her career, becoming a Corporate Chef 10 years ago, and has been at PepsiCo for the past 5 years; lending her culinary expertise beyond Brazil to all LATAM, including Mexico, as well as global projects benefiting from her expertise and perspective. Her specialty areas are Brazilian food, food culture, healthy cooking, and functional nutrition.
Throughout his childhood, John was surrounded by great hospitality and even greater food. With a Filipino mother who cooked daily for her family of 10 and an English father classically trained in kitchens worldwide, it was only a matter of time before John followed in his parent’s footsteps. But being a chef wasn’t always his first choice. It took two years of Pharmacy school to make him realize that cooking, a hobby at the time, was truly what made him happy. John transferred to Florida International University (FIU) and graduated with a B.S. in Hospitality Management and a minor in Culinary Arts while also working in various kitchens throughout Miami.
At FIU, John’s Dean encouraged him to intern at Frito-Lay North America in their Culinary Innovation Center to utilize his passion for both Culinary Arts and Chemistry in August of 2015 as an intern, and was inevitably hired full-time. From day one, John knew he had found a truly special workplace where he could be himself and train his creative muscles in product and flavor development. He draws from his parent’s heritage, world travel, Miami roots, and boundless curiosity in all things food on a daily basis to create the most delectable snacks, beverages, and flavors he could possibly think up.
Having the pleasure of working on all of Frito-Lay’s snack brands, John has found a particular niche in the Tortilla Chip space with Doritos and Tostitos. John is also currently working toward his Master of Business and Science in Global Food Technology and Innovation at Rutgers University.
Chef Ngoc, a second-generation foodie, grew up surrounded by strong female family members passing down familiar roots of what it means to feed loved ones, something her family of restauranteurs knew considerably well with restaurants in France, China, and Vietnam. Drawing early inspiration from her family, she started her humble journey crafting artisan ice cream at a young age, which launched her toward a wide-reaching career, from 300 covers a night to flourishing as an executive Pastry Chef for over a decade. With a career spanning various roles and plenty of experiences, Ngoc’s journey continues to fuel her drive and inspire others. For over 13 years now, Ngoc has been a Certified Research Chef and affectionally known as a “Snack Designer,” her expertise has led to the successful launch of dozens of products for PepsiCo / Frito-Lay. Honing her craft with a knife and a camera, Ngoc is currently the design lead for the Global Culinary team and shares her passion and unique perspective about food, photography, and culture, not only with her growing social media audience but brands such as Frito-Lay and Quaker Oats.
Pat is at his happiest when he’s creating delicious-tasting food for his family and friends. Having spent his former years in high-end restaurants developing Michelin-starred dishes he moved into product development at the ripe old age of 28 after a spell travelling through South East Asia and Australia. During this time, he has developed many dishes for major UK retailers including Tesco, Marks & Spencer’s, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose, and was a fundamental partner in the design of a multi-million-pound culinary academy with a remit to enhance vital food skills for all R&D associates.
He then transitioned to a more scientific role as the savory application lead for Givaudan, one of PepsiCo’s key seasoning suppliers. During his time here he decided to go back to further education to study Food Science, Safety and Quality Management where he attained a first-class Batchelor of Science degree.
Currently, Pat is focused on building a long-term culinary strategy as part of the positively culinary program and supporting the Regional and Global Away from Home teams on numerous projects.