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Meet Mark Matijevich: Feeding DePaul’s on-campus diners

Mark Matijevich
As executive chef of Chartwells at DePaul, Mark Matijevich and his team serve thousands of Blue Demon diners. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
If you’ve dined on campus this academic year, you likely have noticed updates and new options in the dining halls at DePaul. From expanded menus to the new all-you-can-eat system​, these updates were made in hopes of giving diners greater value and more flexibility with their meals. Leading the Chartwells team behind these changes and updates is Mark Matijevich, executive chef for DePaul.

“Just on the Lincoln Park Campus alone we have 28 menu items that change daily — we don’t repeat recipes or dishes,” Matijevich. “So we stay pretty busy.”

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Purdue University-Lafayette, Matijevich moved to Chicago to attend Le Cordon Bleu. He received an Associate’s degree from the culinary school and joined The Second City as executive chef to help develop the company’s in-house bar and restaurant, 1959. Five years later he left to join Chartwells, becoming executive chef of the DePaul partnership in April 2018 and helping transition DePaul into its new dining hall system.

“It’s been a great experience working with everyone and being on board during such a big transition,” he says. 

In addition to managing a new dining system, Matijevich and the Chartwells team also handle an ever-changing menu. From homestyle comfort food to pastas and pizzas to vegan and vegetarian options, Matijevich plans out every item offered through the dining halls. He and his team spend the summer and winter breaks planning each day’s offerings. Then every morning, they crack open their recipe books to create the meals from scratch.

What makes DePaul’s food unique when compared to typical college food?

Homemade recipes and completely fresh produce,” Matijevich says. “We also try to incorporate feedback from students on what they would like to eat. Whether through our online feedback form or just walking around the dining hall chatting, we are always looking to hear from students and hone in on what will make the experience better for them.”

Beyond ensuring students are well-fed enough to make it through their classes, Matejivich notes the social impact he’s seen the new dining system have on students and other diners.

“With an all-you-can-eat operation, people are hanging around more — socializing more with the folks next to them and making more conversation,” he says. “That’s important in college, and especially with freshmen, who we see in here the most. As someone in the culinary field, that’s great to see. We strive to make food people want to eat, but we also want to make food that will make students' experience on campus that much better.”