Chef Mario is a graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy, and further honed his skills at Disney World Resorts. Upon returning to Texas, he was in command of the kitchen at Lifetime Fitness where he prepared healthy and delicious meals for clients in the cafe. Now at UT Elementary, he enjoys creating recipes and inspiring students to eat and enjoy healthy foods. Some of the student favorites are BBQ Chicken, Broccoli with Beef and Chicken Penne.
Chef Mark helmed the kitchens of some of New York City's top hotels, and was invited to cook at the James Beard House five times before moving to Texas. In the Lonestar State, he's had the honor of preparing dinner for President GW Bush, been named one of the top Pastry Chefs, and has been awarded "Best Desserts in Austin" for 4 years. He's passionate about his current role of creating healthy and delicious school food that students are excited to eat! In his free time, Chef Mark also volunteers with Keep Austin Fed, helping to feed those in need.
One of Chef Bryant's earliest food memories is making corn dogs in his Home Economics class; he still remembers his teacher's name! Bryant went on to culinary school at Johnson & Wales, and began his career in university foodservice at Yale. He was then appointed assistant director at Brown and later became the director of operations at Texas Christian University. Bryant held a chef instructor position at Le Cordon Bleu and was later appointed faculty chair. Now that he is the District Chef with Hays ISD, he enjoys the interaction he has with students and the demonstrations that he gives to the Culinary Arts classes. Bryant had the opportunity to train with Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France--an opportunity that forever shaped his professional outlook.
Chef Jeremiah brings both technique and finesse to his role as the Lockhart ISD Executive Chef. Jeremiah comes to school foodservice from a background in fine dining, having served as the Executive Chef of a boutique catering company. He is also aptly equipped to handle the high volume of school meals, having served as a corporate chef preparing over 5,000 meals per day. Enthusiastic about introducing kids to new flavors, he hopes students will be excited about their school lunches!
After graduating from the University of Texas with a Political Science degree and working in Washington, D.C., Jeff changed his focus to the field of Culinary Arts. He received an Associate of Applied Sciences degree with honors from the Art Institute School of Culinary Arts in Phoenix, Arizona in 2001. Jeff gained valuable experience by working for several catering companies and then opening his own company. Jeff looks forward to developing interactive nutrition programs that engage both students and parents on preparing nutritious meals at home.
Chef Lori has been cooking professionally since she was fifteen years old and has worked as the Executive Chef at the Wyndham Hotel, in restaurant management and in large scale catering operations. Her creativity extends beyond the kitchen--she enjoys the fine arts and studied sculpture and oil painting at Shepherd University in West Virginia. After starting a family, she became passionate about the importance of child nutrition and made the transition into her current position as Executive Chef at KIPP in 2013. One of the most popular new dishes is a hummus dip, called "Zesty Bean Dipper", nicknamed to encourage students to try new foods.
Chef Louis has a strong passion for food, hospitality, and people! Chef Louis managed both front- and back-of the house operations at several busy restaurants in Texas, and was a chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Texas Culinary Academy and a culinary trainer for HEB Central Market in Austin. His professional experience in management and training has paved the way to his current role in School Nutrition, where he develops recipes and culinary training for the district.
Chef Dan takes great pride in the amount of scratch cooking he is able to serve to the children and young adults at the Austin Children's Shelter. He views his job as Executive Chef as an opportunity to not only feed, but to educate students about healthy eating and cooking. In addition to the meals he prepares, he teaches cooking classes to help young adults learn how to prepare healthy food themselves. An avid food enthusiast from a young age, he remembers his mother commenting that she couldn't keep him from his kitchen experiments. Dan is creative and artistic outside of the kitchen--he's a bluegrass musician too.
Chef Mario began cooking from the age of 14, when he began examining every meal with a keen eye and thoughts of how he would prepare it differently. His early culinary aspirations led him to work in catering and to several non-profit organizations including Mobile Loaves and Fishes, St. Vincent de Paul as Executive Chef and Director of Meals on Wheels with Christian Senior Services. He has also developed culinary training programs for San Antonio Food Bank and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and launched four training and catering kitchens including Haven for Hope. Mario enjoys interacting with students---encouraging them to enjoy fruits and vegetables as well as doing cooking demonstrations and conducting taste-tests. Mario draws inspiration from jazz music and loves to listen while he cooks.
Chef Patrick began his culinary career at Texas Culinary Academy, inspired by his love of food and desire to pursue it as a career. He continued cooking professionally while in the Navy, and attended Johnson & Wales after his time in the service. He held internship positions with Whole Foods and Tyson Foods, and during his career has had the fortune to cook professionally in six different countries including France and Italy. Stateside in Pflugerville ISD he most enjoys interacting with students and doing cooking demonstrations to get them excited about eating healthy food.