Robb Hanson

Robb Hanson

Senior Executive Chef

Robb is the Senior Executive Chef at UW-La Crosse. Born and raised in Sparta, Robb managed a local restaurant early in his career. He decided he loved cooking and chose to pursue his culinary dreams. He attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After culinary school, Robb returned to La Crosse and worked at several local restaurants including Huck Finns, Culina Mariana, Café Lola and The Waterfront. Robb found his niche here at UW-La Crosse, from catering and fine dining to working with students and teaching them how to cook. He is a founding member of the Kids’ Culinary Camp at UW-La Crosse and enjoys having new students in his kitchen each year.

Eric Nockels

Eric Nockels

Executive Chef

Eric Nockels is the Executive Chef of the Whitney Center dining hall at UW-La Crosse. He attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born and raised in La Crosse, he has always had the desire to travel the world which has led to many extraordinary experiences. He was a mess specialist on the USS Grayling 646, a fast attack submarine that could navigate the globe in ten minutes. He has also worked as a kitchen manager in a salmon fish hatchery in Alaska and as a chef for the Black Point Inn in Maine. Eric originally returned to the La Crosse area to help open the Blue Moon Restaurant in Onalaska and has now been at UW-La Crosse for six years. Eric enjoys teaching others, especially children, the techniques and skills for cooking they can use throughout their lives.   

Alex Curtis

Alex Curtis

Sous Chef

Alex is one of the Sous Chefs at UW-La Crosse. He was adopted from Seoul, Korea and was raised on a farm in Coon Valley, Wisconsin.  Growing up, his family believed in and practiced the farm-to-table movement from produce, hunting, fishing, and livestock.  Throughout his childhood he was able to travel and visit many different countries with his parents, where he had the opportunity to sample different ethnic cuisines.   When Alex was a freshman in high school, he started to work for a scratch Italian restaurant in Coon Valley called DiSciascios. There, Alex worked for an amazing chef named Marty DiSciascio who inspired him and mentored him. Alex is always trying to learn and expand his culinary career.  He has worked as a chef in many local restaurants including Fridays, Westby House, Huck Finns, Java Vino and The Waterfront. Every year he teaches Korean cooking at an adapted Korean Camp in the Twin Cities.  At UW-La Crosse, Alex helps operate Whitney Center and works daily with our student population. Alex truly tries to give back and inspire kids to love food and to be open to trying new things, just like the Chefs in his life have inspired him. 

Shawn Miller

Shawn Miller

Sous Chef

Shawn is one of the Sous Chefs at UW-La Crosse. Born and raised in La Crosse, Shawn has always had an interest in cooking. While growing up, he would often help his grandma make bread and noodles. In elementary school Shawn would grill out for his friends on a small Weber grill. His professional cooking career began at age 16. He has managed restaurants in Colorado and moved back to the La Crosse area, where he helped open The Waterfront and has worked in other establishments. At UW-La Crosse, Shawn assists with catering, fine dining and our retail locations. Shawn enjoys cooking and teaching others how to cook meals they can share with their family and friends. 

Jess Harke

Jess Harke

Registered Dietitian

Jess Harke is the Registered Dietitian for UW-La Crosse Dining Services. She attended Viterbo University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Community-Medical Dietetics. Previously, she worked as a dietitian in a grocery store, where she gave presentations, promoted healthy eating and taught cooking classes to a variety of ages. At UW-La Crosse, Jess works with college students to teach them how to maintain a balanced lifestyle that includes both salads and pizza, as well as assisting students with food allergies as they navigate the dining hall. She enjoys teaching kids the importance of healthy eating and how all foods can be enjoyed in moderation.