After attending an open house at Kendall College and having an hours long conversation with the now Dean of the school, Chef Dina Altieri, one fateful day in 2010, Mark decided to quit his job and leave a 20 plus year career in marketing to pursue his culinary dreams.
Mark’s tenure at Kendall was punctuated with volunteer events and numerous stage opportunities with numerous Chicago chefs, including Carlos Gaytan, Dirk Flanigan and John McLean. Mark received numerous scholarships and recognized for excellence as a culinary student by the Chicago Foodservice Marketing Club. He took first place in the American Culinary Federation’s FIT Chicago Recipe Contest in 2010. During tenure at Kendall, he was awarded the Albert Furbay Award, by the Kendall faculty and was named recipient of the Escoffier Award as the outstanding graduate of his class.
Upon graduation, Mark moved to California for a three-month study program in wine to become a certified sommelier with the Guild of Master Sommeliers.
Mark returned to Chicago in April of 2012 and began working on culinary events with Chef John McLean from Burger Bar and Sono Wood Fired Pizzeria. He also joined Chef Carlos Gaytan during the Cochon 555 competition assisting with menu development and creation and wine pairings.
In August, he joined Chefs Jose Garces and Cory Morris at Mercat a la Planxa and rose from AM Sous Chef to Executive Sous Chef. Mark was responsible for the weekly rotating brunch menu and kept a watchful eye over the inventory and food budget. While with Mercat, Mark was named Leader of the Quarter and also took over as wine director.
He worked closely with Chef Cory during several events from Bacon Fest to Cochon 555 to Chefs on the Grill.
Mark left Mercat to rejoin Chef John McLean and the Good Eats Group to open a second Burger Bar in the South Loop in January 2015. He then moved on to set up the kitchen and develop the menu and wine list for Sociale Chicago and Café Press Chicago where he presently works as the chef de cuisine.