Ashley McGee

Senior Instructor

JWU Faculty Since 2006

Instructor Ashley McGee

Contact Info


Ever since joining JWU in 2006, Ashley McGee values the rewarding outcomes of preparing the future leaders of the hospitality industry. She received her B.A. in English from UNC–CH before realizing her dream of becoming a chef. She enrolled at CIA and earned an A.O.S. degree in Culinary Arts after her time at UNC. Most recently, Chef McGee completed her Master's of Science degree in Hospitality Management from JWU in 2020.

Most of her 12 years of restaurant experience was in fine dining and independent restaurants, including her own restaurant in coastal North Carolina. McGee finds that drawing on her past experience is what works best with freshmen to explain why our curriculum is relatable and will be relevant for them. Chef McGee loves working with new and experienced students and helping to prepare them for their future in the field they determine fits their goals; no matter which degree focus they choose.


  • M.S., Hospitality Management, Johnson & Wales University
  • B.A., English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • A.O.S., Culinary Arts, The Culinary Institute of America

My theory about food and cooking has always been a symbolic reference to the novel, "Like Water for Chocolate", by Laura Esquivel. When you cook for others, the meal will always reflect how the cook is feeling at the time, so be confident and cook with love in your heart.


  • CUL1100 Introduction to Culinary Skills & Techniques
  • CUL1210 Breakfast & Lunch Cafe
  • ENG3210 Food Media Presentation Skills
  • LEAD1010 Foundations of Leadership Studies
  • DEE3999 Directed Experiential Education

Extra Curricular Roles

Honors Committee Member 2021-2024
Professionalism and Standards Team 2023-2024
Online Culinary Revisions Team 2023-2024


Professional Affiliations

American Culinary Federation, Certified Executive Chef (CEC)
Southern Foodways Alliance, Member

Q&A with Ashley

At JWU, education is not confined to the four walls of the classroom. You’re not going to spend four years with your nose buried in a book, learning theories you may never get a chance to apply — you’re going to get out there and apply them, be it through internships, group projects, leadership opportunities, competitions and more.

How Did You Get Started?

Chef McGee got her start cooking in a gourmet foods store called A Southern Season in the early 90's in Chapel Hill, NC. After working there a couple of years, her chef recommended that she go to culinary school - best decision of her life! If you love working in a kitchen, then you get it. Fire, knives, drama are all a part of a career that will never be boring. My English degree from Chapel Hill, however, is how I was able to translate a career in restaurants into my organic love of teaching and helping others to find their passion.

What Is Your Favorite Teaching Moment?

I love witnessing the "a-ha moment" that a student has when they understand a new concept or technique. I also LOVE when a student who thought they wouldn't be able to flip an omelet successfully does so and feels that gained confidence that they can do it!

What Advice Do You Have For Incoming Freshmen?

Know what you are getting into. There are so many options for students who start with a basic training in the culinary arts. You don't need to know what you want to do exactly, but be open-minded to see the options before you at Johnson & Wales. You can explore hospitality or food and beverage management, food science, nutrition, business, entrepreneurship and food media communications, all while getting your academic class requirements done which help you to gain an accredited education.

What College Do You Teach In?

College of Food Innovation & Technology