It takes a team of professional chefs and bakers, editors and many others to make BettyCrocker.com the rich resource it is today. Meet the experts who work behind the scenes to bring the food to life.
Betty's Kitchen Experts
Meet the creative cooks, bakers and dieticians who make the recipes, answer your cooking questions and carry on the tradition of creating kitchen-tested recipes reflecting the ever-changing tastes of America.
Meredith Deeds is a recipe development consultant in the Kitchens of General Mills. She’s an accomplished food writer, the author of seven cookbooks, and has been a working recipe developer and cooking instructor for over 25 years.
Meredith has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard award for The Big Book of Appetizers and has also written for various magazines and newspapers such as Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens, Chile Pepper Magazine, Prevention, Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Dallas Morning News. She is currently a weekly columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and also writes frequently for FoodNetwork.com.
Meredith grew up in the food business, working at her mother’s diner beginning at age nine, doing everything from cooking, waiting tables, scooping ice cream and washing the dishes. She worked for her mom until she left for college, attending the Kellogg School of Hospitality at California Polytechnic University for two years, completing the culinary portion of the program before transferring to San Diego State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She was the CEO of the International Association of Culinary Professionals for four years until she left to spend more time cooking and less time budgeting.
She has lived all over the country and loves experiencing each place through its food culture. She has three grown boys and has enjoyed cooking on a large scale to satisfy three big appetites. Now, with the boys moved out of the house, she enjoys cooking meals for two now for just her and her husband. They love to travel all over the world and do it every chance they get.
Carrie Franzen is a content and recipe development consultant in the Kitchens of General Mills where she develops and creates content for various brands including Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Gold Medal Flour, and Old El Paso. She also works on kitchen innovation projects to develop new on-trend content for the brands.
Carrie has been in the food industry for more than 29 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin and her culinary diploma in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Her lengthy experience includes: a pastry chef and baker for several fine dining restaurants in the Midwest, a chef instructor at Le Cordon Blue School of Culinary Arts, a manager and instructor for a culinary school in the Twin Cities and she has been published in several cookbooks and magazines.
Carrie is the one you can count on to bring goodies to any gathering. From pies and breads to cakes and cookies, Carrie loves to bake. When she isn’t in the kitchen inventing new sweets, she is training for her next marathon (26 so far!), camping on the weekends or collecting classic cookbooks.
Maria Ingalls is a recipe project check testing consultant in the Kitchens of General Mills where she tests and edits final recipes for accuracy before publishing for various General Mills brands—from cakes on Betty Crocker to crescent roll appetizers for Pillsbury. She also occasionally acts as an assistant to the food stylists on photo and video shoots. No day in the kitchen is the same! And that’s what she loves about her work the most.
Maria has over 25 years of recipe check testing experience at General Mills. Prior to her work at General Mills, she studied in the culinary arts program at Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota.
A Minnesota native, Maria loves cooking and baking meals for her family and traveling up to northern Minnesota to the family cabin on the weekends
Maggie Lyon is a recipe development consultant for General Mills, and after nearly a decade of work in the Kitchens, her day-to-day is still never the same—from putting new twists on Annie's mac and cheese to her work with Pillsbury and Betty Crocker, every day presents a fun, new challenge. She’s a self-professed master of savory recipe development in the Kitchens, constantly putting new spins on skillet dinners, grilled meals and more. Though she is the resident dinner expert, she’ll occasionally bake a key lime pie or pumpkin bars (the only two desserts she truly enjoys).
Maggie grew up in the Mississippi Delta, where the top three topics of conversation are usually food-related: What’d y’all eat? What’re we gonna eat? And, who are we eatin’ with? Her mom catered and worked at a cooking school, and she was constantly surrounded by good cooks and really good food. After moving to Minnesota from New York University where she earned her graduate degree in cinema studies, Maggie decided to pursue her food passion by attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. She completed an externship at a local farm-to-table restaurant, Lucia’s, then worked for a local cooking school, Cooks of Crocus Hill, teaching cooking classes, managing one of the schools and writing for their former quarterly print publication.
In her own kitchen, Maggie’s favorite recipe to make is her take on pimiento cheese. Though she grew up in the south, surrounded by fried delicacies, her favorite food to eat is sushi. She has an awesome husband, Mike, and two kids—Redford and Marley—who she’s also teaching to love cooking. Her husky, Snoop Dogg, thinks he's one of the kids. His all-time favorite food? Tortilla chips!
Aimee Olson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist consulting with General Mills. She provides nutrition analysis for recipes appearing across multiple brand platforms including culinary and foodservice as well as numerous cookbooks and publications. In addition to nutrition analysis, she also reviews recipes for approval of nutrition claims such as: Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Vegan to name just a few. Her role has also allowed her to branch out internationally as she has had the chance to provide nutrition support to many of General Mills’ global clients. The opportunity to learn, problem solve and work with a variety of different people and projects is what she loves most about consulting with the Kitchens.
Aimee first graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition from the University of St. Catherine’s. She spent over 10 years working as an assistant General Manager in the health and fitness industry. As her passion for nutrition grew, she returned to the classroom to receive her Didactic degree from St. Catherine’s and completed her dietetic internship at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. When not consulting with the Kitchens she has a passion for nutrition education with an emphasis on childhood nutrition as well as youth sports nutrition and has presented to parenting groups as well as high school sports teams.
Aimee contributes her love of food to her childhood where food was always the center of family gatherings and holidays. From her grandma’s famous apple pie to her dad’s secret pancake recipe, she loves how recipes can connect past generations with future generations. As entrepreneurs her parents opened their own restaurants and some of her earliest memories are of her time spent in the restaurant kitchen. She considers herself more of a baker than a cook and loves discovering new recipes and trying them out on her favorite food critics, her husband and two boys.
Nikole Officer Rutzen
Nikole Officer Rutzen is a Registered Dietitian in the Kitchens of General Mills where she provides nutritional analysis of recipes created for the Betty Crocker website, print-ads, packaging, cookbooks, and the Culinary/Foodservice team. Nikole finds this role rewarding as it brings both her knowledge of nutrition and passion for culinary arts together.
Nikole grew up in the Northern Suburbs of Minneapolis and could be found at her mother’s side helping her make dinner or bake Norwegian Specialties at a very young age; she gives all the credit to her mom for her culinary skills. Nikole's mom encouraged her to go to college for food science, but Nikole's passion for health, running, and exercise won out. She received her BS at Montana State University in Home Economics with a nutrition emphasis in Bozeman, Montana and completed her Dietetic Internship at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.
Nikole spent the first years of her career as a Critical Care and Cardiac Dietitian then changed course and moved to the Pillsbury Test Kitchens where she was an International Culinary Specialist and later a Senior Product Specialist. Job highlights include global product launches, involvement with the Pillsbury Bake-Off® team, and participation on product and brand development.
When Nikole is not analyzing recipes, she can be found in the kitchen with her kids passing along what her mother taught her. She also loves exercising, enjoying coffee, dark chocolate, and conversation with family and friends, trips to Montana and other places around the world, and serving at church.
Stephanie Wise is a recipe development consultant for The Kitchens of General Mills. Her passions can be found in the baking realm, from homemade breads and bars to sweet twists on cookies and cakes, although she has been known to cook up delicious savory meals, appetizers, and snacks in the Kitchens, as well. Since 2010, she has worked with everyone from Bisquick to Betty Crocker, calling on her unique ability to merge traditional favorites with modern twists from her down-to-earth perspective as a mom in the Midwest.
Stephanie is the sole content creator and founder of the food blog, Girl Vs Dough, where since 2009 she has been sharing her favorite baking recipes on the internet. Her background is in journalism, but she found that, after a few years behind the reporter desk, she would rather be in the kitchen. After many years of self-education, trial and error, she is now an expert in her field and a new cookbook author. When she is not in the Kitchens, Stephanie can be found blogging, developing recipes and content as a freelancer, or researching the next best cookie recipe "just for fun."
In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with her two daughters, Avery and Adelaide, going to concerts with her husband, Elliott, or snuggling with her puppy, Rosie. Her favorite food is sushi, but a close second is her mom's zucchini bread. And you'll almost never find her without a cup of coffee in hand--it's what gives her the best ideas!
Cathy Swanson Wheaton
Cathy Swanson Wheaton is the executive editor for all Betty Crocker and Pillsbury cookbooks. She lives and breathes the cooking-people connection, and her personal motto is: “Life is about relationships, and food is the thread that weaves them together.”
Cathy has a BS degree from Purdue University in Food and Nutrition in Business, and Food Science, making her ideally suited to her responsibilities overseeing all aspects of cookbook development. Cathy shepherds each cookbook project through the publishing process, from start to finish—including creating new recipe ideas, directing recipe creation in the Betty Crocker Kitchens and much more. Cathy also leads promotion of the finished products. She serves as the face—and voice—of the cookbooks in nationwide interviews and articles.
Cathy started her career developing the recipes that you find on the back side of food packaging, and throughout her 25+ year career, she has created thousands of recipes for packages, newsletters, websites, ads, magazines and cookbooks. She has also served as the first writer for bettycrocker.com and the editor of “Creative Recipes” cooking magazines as well as editor and food editor for several cookbooks before becoming executive editor for all cookbooks at General Mills.
Cathy is a true Minnesotan who frequently says “yah” but draws the line at “you betcha.” She will, however, be sure she’s asked her guests if they’d like leftovers at least three times, and has been known to say, “No one leaves until the food is all gone.” When she’s not creating cookbooks, she can often be found in her own kitchen, finding reasons to cook for friends and family. Otherwise, look for her on the ballroom floor with her husband, learning various couples’ dances, or in the great outdoors.