MEET MARK CERKVENIK
Chef, Founder of Let’s Eat Great Food
Growing up in the Chicago area, through most of his early adult life, Mark ate a diet consisting of roast beef, cheese burgers, fried chicken, French fries, vegetables cooked in butter, and salads swimming in dressing. Mark struggled with his weight throughout his life and tried many approaches to improve his health.
For almost 15 years he worked in leadership roles at Loyola University Health System and Northwestern Medicine training and coaching clinical leaders whose departments saw thousands of patients dealing with chronic illnesses. He often thought there must be a better way to treat and prevent diseases besides frequent doctor visits and a lifetime of prescription drugs. In addition to his own health issues, his parents, in-laws and close friends suffered from acute or chronic health issues largely as a result of their food choices.
Mark was a pescatarian (eating cheese, fish and vegetables) for over 25 years, but not until he adopted a whole food plant-based diet in 2018 did he see tremendous improvement in his health and a path to maintain a healthy weight. Through the evidence based research by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), he learned an approach to improving his health and preventing and/or managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer and now is focused on sharing this knowledge in his community.
In addition to being licensed by PCRM as a Food For Life instructor, Mark provides coaching for individuals and couples on transitioning to a sustainable plant based diet as well as workshops and workplace seminars on a variety of health related topics, in addition to whole food plant based, no oil tours.
Mark has taken his passion for cooking, guided by the celebrity chefs he considers mentors, including Jacques Pépin, Lidia Bastianch, and Paul Hollywood, and creates gourmet whole food plant based, no oil dishes throughout the United States on tours to locations such as
Charleston, South Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina; mid-coast Maine; Sedona, Arizona; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He customizes regional recipes and prepares delicious entrees such as mushroom etouffee, hoppin’ John, Johnny cakes with blueberries, “crab cakes” with remoulade, “lobsta” rolls, she “crab” soup, and a twist on hummus, roasted cauliflower hummus.
You can find Mark at www.letseatgreat.com, on Facebook @letseatgreatfood