From winning gold and silver medals in cooking competitions
to working under James Beard Award winning chef Shawn McClain, Mark Little’s resume is full of culinary experience. After leaving the computer science program at Indiana University to pursue a passion for food at culinary school in Chicago, Little now immerses himself in all things dining services related at DePaul as the resident district manager for Chartwells.
“Some days my job is making sure we have the right folks doing the right thing in the right place,” he says. “Other days I’m chatting with students about introducing new options to the dining halls or working on a catering menu for an internal event.”
In addition to general oversight of dining services, Little meets with students about their allergies or dietary needs and how dining services works to accommodate those restrictions. He also participates in the student dining committee, a group designed to interact with DePaul’s student diners to gain feedback about campus food offerings.
“Student feedback is important to our work,” he says. “We’re always looking ahead, planning for the next six to 18 months. We want to make sure our programs continue to grow to fit changing trends and what students look for year to year.”
So, what’s new for food on campus this year?
“Based on what we heard from diners last year, we’ve expanded our vegan and vegetarian offerings, and increased communication around allergens,” Little says. “We’ve also installed two soft-serve ice cream machines, and carving and omelet stations. We also are working to launch a platform called ‘Teaching Kitchen.’ One of our chefs will put on a demonstration of how to make a dish, like a specialty salad or granola bars. The students get hands on experience making a meal, as well as a quick bite.”
Though students are the main audience for food services, Little and his team are working to develop a meal plan option for DePaul faculty and staff and hope to launch it in early 2020. More information, as well as catering information and daily menu offerings, is available on the Dining Service website