Dining Services

Meet the Chefs

Chef Vaughn Vargus
C.E.C., C.C.E.
Staff Photo: Vaughn

Chef Vargus is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef (C.E.C.) and Certified Culinary Administrator (C.C.A.). His background includes all phases of onsite food service operations. He has an extensive background in running multiple unit and off-site locations and catering venues. Some career highlights include attendances at both CIA Campuses and opportunities to represent American Cuisine in Southeast Asia and Europe.

Chef Vargus is the Executive Chef at UC San Diego’s Housing • Dining • Hospitality, providing culinary direction and menu conception for the 19 Dining restaurants, markets, and food trucks on campus.

An avid surfer and ocean goer, Chef Vargus spent evenings cooking in local restaurants and days in the water. He began working in restaurants at age 14, and has been passionate about food ever since. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, but is largely self-taught. “I have vivid memories as a young child of being in the kitchen when my grandmother was cooking. She was a phenomenal cook; she grew up in the Dust Bowl era. For some reason, I was the only one she would let in the kitchen when she was cooking. It probably had some influence on my career choice.”

Chef Vargus is a current member of the ACF and NACUFS and has been largely involved with culinary competitions as a competitor and administrating competitions nationwide.

To contact Vaughn, please email vvargus@ucsd.edu.


Chef Josie
Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.)
Staff Photo: Josie

Growing up in the Filipino culture, Chef Josie was surrounded by food and family and saw how much joy it brought to people’s lives. Inspired by this, Chef Josie received her culinary training in the San Francisco Bay Area and gained a wide array of experience working in various restaurants, catering companies, country clubs, and corporate dining facilities, including Google Headquarters and Intuit. Wanting to be closer to her family, she made her way back to hometown San Diego and was part of the opening team for our vegan restaurant, Roots. She is now a Certified Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation, displaying her talents in our Catering Department. She strives to bring the community together by providing our guests with an unforgettable experience that focuses on delicious food and excellent customer service.

To contact Josie, please email jlagrimas@ucsd.edu.


Chef Ivan
Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.)
Staff Photo: Ivan

When Chef Ivan was 6 years old, he watched his grandfather, the Chef for the Domecq family in Mexico City, cooking “langostinos al mojo de ajo” (garlic langostinos). This ignited his passion to eat well and to set forth his journey to learn how to make delicious food.

Chef Ivan’s passion for the culinary arts lies in the flavors, spices, colors, textures, chiles, and the smell of everything cooking together. With a vibrant nature, Chef Ivan brings much joy into the kitchen through his laughter and personality.

To contact Ivan, please email icedenogilardi@ucsd.edu.


Chef Tiago
Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.)
Staff Photo: Tiago

Chef Tiago is an American Culinary Federation Certified Chef de Cuisine. Born and raised in Brazil, Tiago’s love of cooking began around the dinner table, where food was central in family celebrations. When he first moved to San Diego, Tiago worked in various cuisines before settling into a role as a successful and innovative sushi chef. Tiago completed his Sous Chef certification at the Barona Culinary Institute, graduating at the top of his class and named one of 2011‘s “Rising Stars” by the Chef’s Celebration Foundation of San Diego. While traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia, Chef Tiago learned new cooking techniques and experienced various food cultures and flavors, which has helped him create new menus for students and staff at UC San Diego.

To contact Tiago, please email tbattastini@ucsd.edu.


Chef Mark
Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.)
Staff Photo: Mark

Born and raised in San Diego, Chef Mark’s love of food began with his family, learning from his mother to prepare delicious traditional Mexican Cuisine to celebrate holidays like Dia de los Muertos. He now showcases these recipes at the UC San Diego Warren College annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

A 26-year food industry veteran, Mark’s career began as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. With hard work and determination Mark went on his path to becoming a Chef. Chef Mark was mentored and influenced by many along his journey and became a Certified Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation.

During his time at UC San Diego, Mark was able to achieve personal milestones. As a proud and loyal Charger’s fan, Chef Mark was honored to have been on a culinary team that fed the Chargers for the 5 years the Chargers were practicing on the Triton’s fields.

To contact Mark, please email mazhocar@ucsd.edu.


Chef Kris
Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.)
Staff Photo: Kris

Chef Kris was influenced to be involved in the culinary arts by her mom. While growing up, her mother would always make sure that the family had a big sit down dinner. Even though it wasn’t gourmet, it was good food made with love. Chef Kris threw herself into the kitchen and became a self-taught chef, her passion growing as she worked her way up. Kris is now a Certified Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation. Having worked at UC San Diego for 25 years, Kris’ favorite part of being a Chef is seeing that her food creates happy clients and brings smiles to their faces.

To contact Kris, please email kmelycher@ucsd.edu.

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