Our Food Story

A warm meal that fuels students through a study break. A revitalizing lunch that powers a work team through the day.  A game-time snack that energizes the most devoted Gopher fan. Our chefs create memorable food experiences across the entire University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus. Wherever you study, work, or cheer for your favorite team... we are M Dining.

Our innovative menus are centered around student and guest insights, with high service standards that ensure we have the right people with the right skills. At the core of what we do, our approach is simple:

  • Craft chef-inspired menus with high-quality ingredients 
  • Encourage healthier living with nutritious options
  • Offer convenience that fits different lifestyles
  • Enable personalized experiences through exceptional service

We believe that excellent food can enhance experiences and empower people to be better. So we work to channel our passion for food into enriching and nourishing the lives we touch. And we do it with a singular goal: to enable great food experiences that go beyond what’s expected.

 

 

 

Matt Horn, M Dining Executive Chef

Chef MattChef Matt Horn developed a passion for food while a graphics arts student at the University of Minnesota. To make ends meet, he took a job as a dishwasher/prep cook at an upscale restaurant and worked his way through the ranks from dish washer to sous chef in three years. Graduating from the University of Minnesota with honors in 1994, Horn spent the next 3 months traveling and exploring the foods of Southeast Asia.

Returning stateside with a passion to learn more, he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY. Graduating near the top of his class, he returned to the Midwest and spent several years working in the best restaurants the region had to offer including Goodfellows and Aquavit in Minneapolis, The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.

In 2001, Horn left the frenetic fine dining scene and moved to Marshall, MN to accept the position of Corporate Executive Chef for The Schwan Food Company. During his 17 year tenure at Schwans he completed his Certified Executive Chef Certification through the American Culinary Federation and became a Certified Research Chef through the Research Chefs of Association. He is now one of only a handful of chef’s in the country to hold both the CRC and CEC certifications.  

Horn’s media appearances include live national television with QVC and KARE 11 news in Minneapolis, and Designing Spaces for Timber Creek. His recipes were published for “Cooks for a Cause” benefiting the Twin Cities Race for The Cure Susan G. Komen Foundation. He’s been interviewed by Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods appearing as a feature chef on Andrews website. Horn has also appeared on CTV’s Canadian Better Living and the Canadian Food Network.

Horn resides in Bloomington, MN with his wife Debra and their two children Mika Skye and Jasper Charles.


Residential Dining
Each day, our Residential Dining Chefs feed thousands of students at 6 dining halls. All recipes are made-from-scratch using fresh ingredients. We partner with local and organic farms and vendors when possible, such as the Cornercopia Student Organic Farm.

Chef Ben (Executive Chef)
Chef Ben

Born and raised in Minnesota, it was always Ben’s dream to become a chef. After four years of active duty with the United State Marine Corps, Ben was able to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Upon receiving his Associates degree in Culinary Arts he began his 8 year career at the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, FL. While at Disney Ben was able to work at 4 separate restaurants where he was exposed to a large variety of cooking styles and techniques as well as flavor profiles. There are over 6,000 food items available at Walt Disney World, served at more than 475 different dining options throughout the property on a daily basis. After working for Disney, Ben took a Sous Chef position at a small family restaurant near his home town in St. Michael, MN. He helped work with local farmers and butchers to provide new and creative dishes that featured some of the best local ingredients Minnesota has to offer. Ben started working at the University in February 2017 where he has been the Chef at Comstock, Bailey, and Centennial and helped open the new dining hall at Pioneer Hall. He is excited to start his new role as the Executive Chef of Residential Dining.


Chef Soulmar (Fresh Food Company @ 17th Ave.)
Chef Soulmar

Coming from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Chef Soulmar has been a leader in the culinary industry for over 15 years, serving as an Executive Chef and an Executive Sous Chef in some of Detroit's most well-known establishments. In 2009, Chef Soulmar moved to Minneapolis to gain further experience working as a chef in the healthcare industry. Chef Soulmar joined Aramark Corporation in 2016. He has done an incredible job in building the team and enhancing the dining experience in Fresh Food Company (17th Ave Dining Hall). Since 2016, Chef Soulmar has helped lead the charge at Fresh Food Company, expanding sustainable and plant forward offerings while working with student interns as well as Open Hands Farm and Cornercopia U of M Student Organic Farm. In January of 2019, Chef Soulmar obtained the prestigious ProChef II certification from the Culinary Institute of America.


Chef Seyi (Sanford Dining Hall)
Chef Seyi

As a young child, Seyi knew he was destined to become a chef. Most summers were spent in McAlister, OK with his great grandmother cooking side by side. “I recall the smell of apple butter being made early in the morning and the feeling of joy it created throughout the house. As a chef, my goal is to bring that same joy to Sanford Hall with the food we produce. “ Seyi started his career in the food industry while he was completing his degree at The University of Alabama. He has experience in French Creole, corporate catering, and 4 years in higher education.

 

 


Chef Melissa (Comstock Dining Hall)

Bio Coming Soon


Chef Jon (Middlebrook Dining Hall)

Bio Coming Soon


Chef Bianca (Bailey Dining Hall)

Bio Coming Soon

Gopher Hospitality
Whether it's 50,000 Gopher Football fans at TCF Bank Stadium or a double-header at Siebert Field, our Gopher Hospitality team is always up to the challenge! In addition to the traditional game day favorites, our team is working to elevate the food and beverage experience with new and exciting concepts across all Gopher Sports venues. Follow Gopher Hospitality on Twitter at @GopherFood to see what we are cooking up next!

Chef Jolene (TCF Bank Stadium)

Bio Coming Soon


Chef Gina (Nutrition Center at Athletes Village)

Chef Gina has been the Chef Manager at Athletes Village since August 2019. At the Nutrition Center, she utilizes her cooking skills and nutrition knowledge to help inform staff and student-athletes how performance can be enhanced through mindful and healthy eating. Gina developed her love and inspiration for cooking by watching her grandmother and father cook. With Italian cooking and culture being a strong influence in the kitchen she developed an appreciation for scratch cooking and how meals can bring others together. She received her degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson and Wales University in May 2018. She plans to use her military background, and understanding of enhanced performance through food to create an environment the athletes can learn and enjoy eating the enticing meals the staff creates for them.

1851 Heritage Catering
Chef Bruno
Chef Bruno

Bruno's culinary career began early helping grandmothers and aunts in the kitchen preparing holiday meals. This lead to a copy of "The James Beard Cookbook", working as a brunch cook, hosting dinner parties for high school friends, and the culinary program at Hennepin Technical Collage. After time in local French, Italian and American restaurants Bruno moved eastward, working various positions in country inns, high-volume restaurants, catering kitchens and hotels. He returned to the Twin Cities to man the stove at Pazzaluna and his career progressed to the Graves 501 Hotel and Lunds & Byerlys Catering before joining Aramark 4 years ago as Chef for Heritage 1851 Catering.

 

 

 

 


Chef Christopher 
Chef Christopher

Bio Coming Soon

 
Retail Dining
Chef Jessica
Chef Jessica

Jessica grew up in a rural community in southeastern Minnesota where food was always a key component in any family gathering. Even as a young child she was always interested in what was going on in the kitchen. Her most influential people in her cooking development were her parents and grandmother. In 2010 she graduated with an associate degree in culinary arts and started working for the University of Minnesota in dining services.  During her time in dining services she worked in catering and many retail locations including French Meadow when it opened.  In 2018 she joined Aramark and became the Culinary Supervisor at Bistro West.

 

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Chef Ashley
Chef Ashley

Ashley is the Chef Manager at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Chef Ashley developed a passion for culinary at a young age. As a child, Chef Ashley’s grandmother gifted her an autographed cookbook by Julia Child and this began her path in the culinary field. Three weeks after graduating from high school, she attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School. After graduating from culinary school, she worked in various restaurants in downtown Minneapolis as well as for the Minnesota Vikings. She then returned to her alma mater and was employed by Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School. A career highlight for Chef Ashley was cooking a twelve course meal at the James Beard House in New York City. Having a passion for utilizing fresh ingredients, Chef Ashley spends time in the spring, summer and fall picking as much as she can from the Arboretum Gardens. She uses this freshly picked Arboretum produce in her day to day cooking.