|Executive Chef, Mark Baker
Food and Beverage operations at the University Club of Chicago are overseen by Executive Chef, Mark Baker. Chef Baker joined the Club in 2002 after a career of nearly 23 years with the Four Seasons Hotel Group. During that time, he had an internationally recognized career in such diverse locations as Washington D.C., Vancouver Canada, Boston and Chicago -where he was Executive Chef from 1991 to 2002. Along the way, Baker has earned accolades for his personal, expressive and contemporary style of cooking -based in French technique with modern sensibility and market seasonality -interesting, yet not eclectic, unassuming, with a focus on freshness and pure flavors.
Baker has been recognized in national publications such as Food and Wine magazine, Gourmet, The Wine Spectator as well as appearances in numerous television programs, both local and national. His restaurants in Boston and Chicago both received the AAA Five Diamond rating, and in Chicago during his tenure, Seasons restaurant boasted 4 stars (out of four) from both Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. In addition, in 2002, Seasons Restaurant had the highest food score of any Chicago restaurant in the prestigious Zagat Survey. Baker has been twice nominated for James Beard awards, and has been active in the local Chicago culinary community supporting such causes as The Chicago Green City Market, The Anti-Cruelty Society, and the Northwest Settlement House among others.
During his time at the Club, Baker has brought his sensible, distinct style of cooking to each area, blending the history and tradition that make it such a unique place. In addition, the University Club maintains an active calendar of member events such as wine dinners with producers such as Chateau Montelena, Spring Mountain and authorities such as Clive Coates; seasonal cooking classes where Chef Baker shares his "trade secrets" of producing exciting seasonal cuisine at home with minimal fuss; holiday and seasonal buffets in the magnificence of Cathedral Hall, as well as contemporary dining in the recently renovated Living Room and Parliament.