Meet the Team

Dana Gibson, Director of Business Development

Dana has worked in the food industry for the past 20 years and has experience on the floor, in both meat and dairy processing. After completing her M.Sc. in Food Science, she started working with companies in food product development, applied research and business development activities. Dana has a passion for food and loves seeing new food products being made by companies in Alberta from ingredients that are grown in Alberta. She believes that food is something we all have in common and is a great starting place for building connection and community.

Dana Gibson

Maynard Kolskog, Research Chef

Maynard has been a chef and culinary instructor for nearly 40 years, including 18 years instructing at NAIT. After developing curriculum and teaching molecular gastronomy he became interested in applied research, receiving his Certified Research Chef (CRC®) designation in March 2017. Maynard’s projects focus mainly on plant-based food development including ice cream, pasta, baked goods, fermented oat cheese, oat miso and meat analogues, many in partnership with the Alberta Pulse Growers, the University of Alberta, and Prairie Oat Growers Association, in addition to industry clients.

Maynard Kolskog

Mariana Lamas, Research Assistant

Mariana joined the Centre for Culinary Innovation while she was still a student. As part of the team, she uses her culinary skills to research and develop new food products, conduct market analysis, manage data and provide planning expertise to the centre’s projects. Mariana graduated from NAIT’s Culinary Arts program in 2017. She also holds a bachelor and master’s degree in Museum studies.


Joshua Ward, Research Assistant

Joshua developed a passion for food from an early age, instilled by his grandmother. His passion led him to the Culinary Arts program at NAIT, where he enhanced his knowledge and honed his skills, graduating in 2010. He spent 9 years as an Educational Laboratory Technician for NAIT's School of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies before  joining  the Centre for Culinary Innovation in 2019.  At the centre  he provides  technology expertise, and is also a specialist in flavours, spices and unique ingredients. For Joshua, knowledge is a never-ending pursuit.

Joshua Ward

Diane Lee, Specialist Research Administration

Diane provides financial and research administration support for the centre. She has an MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta. Diane brings over 10 years of experience in research administration and support to the project team. She is interested in learning about food, innovation, sustainability and how these can all intersect.

Diane Lee