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Say Cheesecake

marc schulman
Eli's Cheesecake president Marc Schulman

Spring 2019
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Marc Schulman was working as a corporate lawyer in the 1980s when his father, Eli, a famed Chicago restauranteur, needed a hand in the kitchen. Eli had created and refined the recipe for a delicious cheesecake that became a hit when it debuted at the first Taste of Chicago festival. Within a few years, Marc became president of Eli’s Cheesecake, an operation that now produces 20,000 cheesecakes and desserts daily at a 62,000-square-foot bakery on the city’s northwest side. Eli’s produced cheesecakes for the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ’06 H, and Oprah recently amped up demand when she named Eli’s holiday dippers one of her “Favorite Things.” The Chicago-made cheesecake now ships around the world. Schulman, meanwhile, has maintained his focus on helping Chicago-area schools as an advocate for career and technical education (CTE). Schulman was recently named the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Champion for CTE. Since 2001 he has served as co-chair of the business advisory board at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS), a magnet school in the city’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood. Eli’s Cheesecake has partnered with Wright College to create a summer entrepreneurship program for CHSAS students, while also awarding scholarships to CHSAS graduates to pursue additional CTE opportunities. “Thirty years ago,” Schulman says, “if you were going to an agricultural high school, people would say, ‘That’s a dead-end career. Why are you studying food?’ Today there are so many entrepreneurial opportunities that it’s become an area of growth. In our business, there’s a lot of art to it, but there’s also a tremendous amount of science.”

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Reader Responses

  • Marc, I think I remember your name. Glad to hear of your successful ventures.

    Steve Shireman ’79 Kansas City, Mo., via Northwestern Magazine

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