Ryan Babich

Director of Dining Services

Ryan studied Nutrition and Dietetics at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  During his time there, he received a research grant to study sustainability in a university setting.  He was published in the Journal of Culinary Science and Technology.  Upon graduation, he completed his Dietetic Internship at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey IL, where he studied Medical Nutrition Therapy, Food Service Management, and Community Nutrition.  Currently, he is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Favorite Dish to Make: Baked Spaghetti


Gregory Pittman

Executive Chef

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, he has over seven years of experience in the food industry. A blend of energy and creativity in culinary arts sparks his ambitions to succeed in the field. A graduate from L’Ecole Culinaire in Memphis, Executive Chef Greg holds an Associate’s degree in Occupational Studies and has received multiple certifications through the National Restaurant Association.

Favorite Dish to Make: Shrimp and Polenta Grits with Herb Boursin cheese, white wine, and ham reduction sauce


Claressa Padilla

Director of Operations

Claressa is passionate about customer service and working in a fast-paced environment. She received her Bachelor’s in Business Management and has over 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. With a constant goal to be “Humble and Kind,” Claressa believes in being hands-on and working in a team environment to deliver exceptional services at catering events.

Favorite Dish to Make: Baked Goods


Tara Walker

Morning Retail Supervisor

Tara Walker comes from the Southside of Chicago. She has been with the University for eight years and has held many positions within the Dining Services department. She has worked as a Cashier, Cook, and Catering Attendant. Prior to joining the Dining team, Tara was a shift manager at Wendy’s for five years. When she’s not busy brightening your day at the University, you can find her enjoying time with her two children, cooking, and listening to music.

Favorite Dish to Make: Chicken Alfredo


Manuel Nava

Evening Retail Supervisor

Manuel was born in Mexico, but lives in the south side of Chicago. In his past, Manual worked at Bacci for ten years where he was a Cook and a Supervisor of the Line. In addition, Manuel worked at Excellence Events for 6 six years as a waiter and an Event Captain. Manual became familiar with Dominican University when he would help work some catering events. In his free time, he likes to spend time with my family, go on long walks around his neighborhood, read, and cook.

Favorite Dish to Make: Mexican Steak with Beans and Rice in Red Sauce


Alberto Padilla

Production Chef

Alberto brings over 15 years of experience in the food industry to Dominican University Dining Services. He was trained by Mark Fisher, Executive Chef at the White Eagle Country Club in Naperville, IL and advanced his career by actively learning from other great chefs. His passion in cooking comes from creating new recipes and making people’s favorite foods. With hard work and dedication, Alberto skillfully leads a great team in the kitchen.

Favorite Dish to make: Chicken Limon