Meet Our Chefs - The masterminds behind SDSU's culinary delights

Saul Lopez - Chef De Cuisine

Chef Saul

Saul started his culinary journey at 17 as a dishwasher at IHOP, worked his way up to cook, and felt inspired to attend culinary school, where he graduated at the top of his class. Through his work, he learned the importance of ‘mise en place’, a French culinary phrase which means ‘everything in its place’, and dedicated himself to becoming a lifelong learner in the culinary world.

From catering work to running a restaurant, Saul has now turned his focus to sustainability and adapting classical techniques to embrace the ‘modern kitchen’. He helped open UTK, and is now Chef de Cuisine at The Garden. His love of healthy living and fresh ingredients straight from our garden serves as constant inspiration for his menu ideas and daily specials.

Josh McGinnis - Executive Sous Chef

Chef Josh

Chef Josh McGinnis’ passion for food was clearly evident from a young age. He went on to apprentice under acclaimed chefs Charlie Trotter and Mathias Merges, as well as cooking for chef/teacher Julia Child and one of the founders of punk rock, Johnny Rotten.

In his search for culinary enlightenment, Chef McGinnis traveled throughout Europe cooking and eating everything in sight, spending time in the kitchens of il Ciocco in Tivoli, outside of Rome. After running the kitchens of San Diego restaurants Kensington Grill, MiXX, Dobson’s, Ole Madrid and Prego and being named “One of San Diego’s most talented Chefs”, the multi-award winning Chef now finds himself in charge of the SDSU Catering kitchen.

Miguel Mejia - Sous Chef

Chef Miguel

Miguel Mejia is the Faculty-Staff Club Sous Chef. A 26-year food industry veteran, Miguel previously worked as a chef at the San Diego Country Club before arriving at Aztec Shops.

Chef Miguel comes from a culinary family. His mother owned her own restaurant in Tijuana and his uncle who brought him into the business is also a chef.

Continuing to create a better customer experience through culinary excellence and growing Faculty-Staff Club's harvest-to-table program is just part of Chef Miguel's vision. "I love making friendships through cooking," Chef Miguel says. "I hope to be doing that here for a long time to come."

Jessica Wylie - Senior Pastry Chef

Chef Jessica

Jessica Wylie is the Executive Pastry Chef of the SDSU Dining Bakeshop. Trained in the classical style by an Austrian Master Pastry Chef, Jessica started with SDSU Dining in 1997 as a scratch baker and quickly transformed the bakeshop with her innovative pastry recipes.

Jessica says the highlight of her job is student satisfaction. “I like to make people happy,” she says. “Hearing from someone that they really enjoyed our latest croissant? That’s all I need.”

A San Diego native, Jessica has been involved in the local culinary scene for over 25 years. Using all natural ingredients and classical methods, Jessica is committed to bringing the best quality products to SDSU.

John Zamora - Chef Manager

Chef John

John Zamora is the Chef Manager at University Towers Kitchen (UTK).

Born and raised in San Diego, John has spent the entirety of his 20-plus year culinary career in America’s Finest City. Prior to arriving at Aztec Shops in 2013, John was the chef for the top sushi bar in San Diego and even opened a couple of his own restaurants.

John was inspired by gourmet cooking early on. By age six, he was glued to PBS and learning from culinary masters like Julia Child and Marcel Desaulniers. To this day, John pays respect to those who influenced him with his creative and innovative menu selection. Specializing in Pacific Rim Cuisine, John’s vision is to bring the best of the outside culinary world to SDSU. His focus is on farm-to-fork sustainable cooking and harmonizing a diverse collection of ingredients to the delight of UTK’s guests. “If you don’t have to use salt and pepper,” John says, “I did my job.”