Andrew Farthing graduated from Western Culinary Institute, located in Portland, Oregon. He worked as a sous chef for four years at Greens Vegetarian Restaurant. He has also worked at Bradley Ogden’s Signature Restaurant, Lark Creek Inn, Nicole Farhi’s English Style Boutique, and the Delicious Catering Company in San Francisco, California. Andrew opened the Cowboy Monkey in Champaign and has been an executive chef for University Catering at the University of Illinois since August 2004.
Michael Loprete brings over 30 years of dining services experience to the University Catering team. He received a bachelor's degree from Northwest Missouri State University and is a Silver Medal graduate of the Academy of Culinary Arts. His experience includes management of dining operations at a variety of colleges and universities, including Seton Hall University and Wright State University, and executive chef for Premier Health Partners and the University of Colorado Hospital. Michael has managed restaurant operations for Trump Marina Hotel in Atlantic City and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Central and South America as the Corporate Development Chef for Henny Penny Corporation where he conducted cooking demonstrations and food safety and production training for chefs and food service operators.
Curtis Nesler is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He began his career as a pastry cook at the Hyatt Regency, Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. He transferred to the Hyatt Regency Ft. Worth as a pastry chef, and later on to the Hyatt Regency at the Denver Tech Center in the Rocky Mountain State. Curtis expanded his experience in Denver working at The Brown Palace Hotel, and Racine's Restaurant. He served as head baker at Whole Foods Market's regional bake house in Denver. Curtis joined University Catering as a Pastry Chef in 2009.
Michael Olinger earned his degree in culinary arts and hospitality studies from City College of San Francisco. He has worked at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco and Cleary's On Clark in Chicago. In addition, Michael served as the saucier for the Fairmont Chicago Hotel and signature restaurant, Aria. He has been a chef for the University catering team since 2009.
Eric received his culinary training from the New England Culinary Institute and began his career at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, moving on to the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, California. Eric has served in key culinary development, production, and management roles for Robert Mondavi in Anaheim, California, as Executive Chef at the Zagat-rated Moveable Feast restaurant in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, and at Stanford University. Today Eric lends his great depth of culinary expertise as Executive Chef with our catering team at the University of Illinois.
Chris Szymanski earned his AAS at Robert Morris University in Springfield, Ill. He worked his way through college, practicing what he loves, as a line cook and sous chef at local restaurants. He returned to the Champaign-Urbana area upon graduation to begin working at Silvercreek Restaurant where he became sous chef and six months later was promoted to executive chef. Chris joined the University Housing culinary team in 2010.
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