Special Events
2nd Annual 25 Great, Big Caterers List

2nd Annual 25 Great, Big Caterers List

It's our second annual look at the businesses of some of the biggest caterers in business. Although the majority of companies interviewed here predict a flat revenue year at best, they show a growing commitment to prepare high-quality food in the most environmentally sensitive way possible. Feast on the details below.

A LEGENDARY EVENT, Atlanta

CEO Tony Conway, CMP

WEB SITE www.alegendaryevent.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 45 full-time, 250 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 1,500

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $15 million to $18 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS American Cancer Society national headquarters, Alston & Bird law firm and World of Coca-Cola Museum, all in Atlanta

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Busy this year with work for Tyler Perry Studios, DIFFA's Dining by Design gala and the Masters golf tourney at Augusta National Golf Club

SIGNATURE DISHES Company is making news with its Sustainable Table, which features a dramatic xeriscape, and the Kaleidoscope Menu, where buffet tables form a U shape around chefs who create custom dishes for each guest.

ALISON PRICE & CO., London

CEO Alison Price

WEB SITE www.alisonprice.co.uk

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 50 plus

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 300

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $8 million to $10 million

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Event roster this year has included G20 Summit, American School in London fundraiser, and the Picasso Art sponsorship at London's National Gallery

SIGNATURE DISHES Lobster Mille-Feuille with Crab Beignets, Slow-braised Daube of Beef with Truffled Potato Cake

ALONG CAME MARY, Los Angeles

CEO Mary Micucci

WEB SITE www.alongcamemary.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 200

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 125

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $10 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Broad Stage at the Santa Monica [Calif.] College Performing Arts Center

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Grammy Awards celebration, Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards, Colburn School annual benefit, CBS upfronts in New York

SIGNATURE DISHES Famed for “our warm chocolate brownie pudding, of course!” they say.

BAKER'S BEST, Newton, Mass.

CEO Michael Baker

WEB SITE www.bakersbestcatering.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 101 full-time, 117 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 485

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $12 million to $13 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Along with other venues, just joined the preferred vendor list at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Community Rowing Boathouse, Artists for Humanity Epicenter and Wang Theatre at the Citi Performing Arts Center, Boston

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Baker's is proud to have been named winner of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award last year.

BEHIND THE SCENES, San Diego

CEO John Crisafulli

WEB SITE www.btscenes.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 22 full-time, 72 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 325 plus

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $9 million to $11 million

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Beijing 2008 Olympics, Red Bull Air Races, Street Scene Music Festival

BLUE PLATE, Chicago

CEO Jim Horan

WEB SITE www.blueplatechicago.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 500 plus

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 6,700 (includes drop-off)

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $22 million (catering only)

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Chicago Symphony's Symphony Center, River East Art Center

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS “Chicago Believes” fundraiser for 2,000 guests at Millennium Park for Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games; American Cancer Society Discovery Ball for 900 guests at the Civic Opera House

SIGNATURE DISHES Client favorites for spring/summer 2009 include Organic Grit Cakes with Sweet Corn Succotash hors d'oeuvre, Black Truffle Risotto and Bocconcini Salad first courses, entrees of 21-day Dry-aged Boston-cut Steak and Roasted Lamb Loin with White Eggplant Puree and Spring Garlic Marmalade, and desserts including Roasted Banana Semifreddo and Strawberry-rhubarb Parfait (goat milk custard, caramelized strawberry and rhubarb, and buttermilk pound cake).

BROICH PREMIUM CATERING, Dusseldorf, Germany

CEOs Georg W. Broich, Burkhard Schmitz

WEB SITE www.broich-catering.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 100 full-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 2,500

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $17 million to $18 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Altes Kesselhaus and Halle am Wasserturm (Dusseldorf), Vulkanhalle (Cologne) and Eventspeicher U4 (Hamburg), among many others

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS ARAG World Team Cup, Jazz-Ralley, FIS-Ski World Cup, Team Gerolsteiner at the Tour de France

SIGNATURE DISHES The company's “Traiteur 18.91” buffet-station concept melds modern trends with the company's three generations of tradition.

CATERING BY MICHAEL'S FAMILY OF COMPANIES, Morton Grove, Ill.

CEO Stewart Glass

WEB SITE www.cateringbymichaels.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 125 full-time, 100 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 1,000 full-service, 6,000 drop-off

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $13.5 million to $15 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Independence Grove, Libertyville; Chicago Indoor Racing, Buffalo Grove; Brae Loch Golf Club, Grayslake; Banner Picnic Grounds, Lake Forest; Tamarack Picnic Grounds, Lincolnshire, all in Illinois

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Seven-day event for Peddinghaus Corp., Alzheimer's Association gala, Uline Corp. $1 Billion Sales Celebration, “Grainger Goes Green” picnic

SIGNATURE DISHES Steak/Quail Egg and Quince/Manchego Skewers; Pulled Barbacoa on Corn Cakes (hors d'oeuvre); Marinated Skirt Steak with Marlborough Onions; Steamed Ginger Snapper in a Banana Leaf with Sweet Potato Brioche Flan (plated entrees); Smoking Sorbet Bites, Housemade Ice Cream Sandwiches; Fontaine Cakes (desserts)

CREATE FOOD, London

CEOs Richard Groves, Caroline Gardiner

WEB SITE www.createfood.co.uk

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 24 full-time, up to 500 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 450

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $14 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Plaisterers' Hall, London; Plumpton Racecourse, East Sussex, England

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Busy holiday season saw Create Food catering for 60,000 guests at nine venues over the course of 21 days in December

SIGNATURE DISHES Clients favor informal dining options for conferences and receptions, such as mini meals passed to guests in small bowls, casseroles, boxes and pots, management says.

CREATIVE EDGE PARTIES, New York

CEO Bob Spiegel

WEB SITE www.creativeedgeparties.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 50 full-time, 450 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 1,000

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $15 million to $20 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS New Museum, New York

SIGNATURE DISHES Parmesan Pudding on a Roasted-tomato Cracker (canape); Chop Mediterranean Salad Timbale (appetizer); Seared Breast of 20 Spice Magret Duck (main course); Pink Grapefruit Terrine (dessert)

DESIGN CUISINE, Arlington, Va.

CEO Kathy Valentine

WEB SITE www.designcuisine.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 150

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 2,500

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $27 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Union Station, Washington, and Ford Orientation Center and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, both at Mount Vernon, Va.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Inaugural Luncheon at the U.S. Capitol; 30th anniversary dinner for the Inn at Little Washington; Pentagon Memorial Fund dinner at the National Building Museum; Trust for the National Mall event

EDDIE DEEN, Dallas

CEO Eddie Deen

WEB SITE www.eddiedeen.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 125

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 2,900 to 3,200

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $8.5 million to $10 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Along with off-premise catering, serves as on-site caterer at Edison's and Eddie Deen's Ranch, both in Dallas

SIGNATURE DISHES East Texas Barbecue; Chicken-fried Steak; Smoked Ham; Mexican Buffet

EPICUREAN CULINARY GROUP, Centennial, Colo.

CEO Larry DiPasquale

WEB SITE www.epicureanculinarygroup.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 50 full-time, 200 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 900 to 1,100

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $13 million to $15 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Invesco Field at Mile High stadium, Palazzo Verdi at Fiddler's Green, Greenwood Village, Colo.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlight of last year: The Democratic National Convention in Denver, where Epicurean served 72 events.

GLOBAL GOURMET CATERING, San Francisco

CEO Laura Lyons

WEB SITE www.ggcatering.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 25 full-time, 350 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 200 to 250

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $8 million to $10 million

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Company has managed to shore up revenue by complementing social/corporate catering with large-scale concession work, management says.

GLOBAL INFUSION GROUP, Watford, Hertfordshire, England

CEO Tony Laurenson

WEB SITE www.globalinfusiongroup.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 35 full-time, 350-plus part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 750 to 800

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $15 million to $20 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Merriweather Post Pavilion, Baltimore

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Operations range from venue-based catering and festival catering to serving as touring caterer for headliners including Coldplay.

GREAT PERFORMANCES, New York

CEO Liz Neumark

WEB SITE www.greatperformances.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 500 full-time, 250 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 1,500

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $35 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Sotheby's, Plaza Hotel's Grand Ballroom, Apollo Theater and Jazz at Lincoln Center, all in Manhattan; BAM in Brooklyn; Wave Hill in the Bronx; Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah, N.Y.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Cocktail party for the government of Catalonia with the Spanish prime minister; New York City Wine and Food Festival; Winter's Eve at Lincoln Center; Smile Train 10-year anniversary gala; Swarovski wedding event; Sony Ericsson Tennis Open

SIGNATURE DISHES The company's 100 Mile Menu is personalized to the event venue, featuring ingredients produced within a 100-mile radius of the site.

JEWELL EVENTS CATERING, Chicago

CEO George L. Jewell

WEB SITE www.jewelleventscatering.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 125 full-time, 350-plus part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 3,500

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $20 million plus

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS The Rookery and EnVent, both in Chicago; also serves as a preferred caterer at “all major venues in Chicago,” management says.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Galas for Ravinia Women's Board, Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing, Infant Welfare Society, Illinois Technology Association and Children's Place, plus new product launch for Sara Lee

SIGNATURE DISHES Company strives for “constant creation of new dishes, creative combinations and menu surprises,” management says. Signatures: Dover Sole for 1,000 guests, “mosaic” of multicolor beet salad and vertical food displays.

MCCALL ASSOCIATES, San Francisco

CEOS Dan McCall, CEO; Lucas Schoemaker, president

WEB SITE www.danmccall.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 120 full-time, 200 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 650

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $18 million to $20 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS De Young, Palace of the Legion of Honor and Asian Art museums, all in San Francisco

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS A slew of galas this year, including opening events for the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Opera Ball, San Francisco Symphony and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Also worked on the Legion of Honor Holiday Dinner and Dance, Exploratorium Annual Gala Dinner and Museum of Modern Art Directors' Circle.

SIGNATURE DISHES Rack of Lamb Karsky with Apple Mint Chutney, Beef Two Ways (Filet Mignon with Onion Jam and Braised Short Ribs with Port Wine Sauce) and Mero Sea Bass on Potato Turnip Puree with Soy-braised Kohlrabi and Shiitake Bonito Broth.

MUSTARD CATERING LTD., London

CEO James Hurworth

WEB SITE www.mustardcatering.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 21 full-time, 300 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 150 to 200

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $8 million to $12 million

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Company points with pride to its ability to serve excellent food quickly to big groups. For an event at the National Portrait Gallery, the team set up tapas service for 800 guests within 30 minutes. Other events include the HRH Princess Royal Gala Dinner for Save the Children for 400 guests at the Natural History Museum, and the Ecology Trust Dinner for 350 at a private estate featuring indigenous produce.

SIGNATURE DISHES Mustard's “Ecology Menu” features strictly local, sustainable foodstuffs; dishes include Griddled Wild Cornish Sea Bass with Asparagus Spears, Griddled Fillet of Beef with Miniature Cottage Pie, Passion Fruit Creme Brulee, Organic Vanilla Pod Ice Cream and Bitter Chocolate Marquise with Liquid Salted Caramel.

OCCASIONS CATERERS, Washington

CEO Mark Michael

WEB SITE www.occasionscaterers.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 175

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 4,000 to 5,000

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $27 million to $29 million

SIGNATURE DISHES Occasions is committed to “supporting local farms, organic products and sustainable resources,” the company says. “We have expanded our menus to offer socially conscious ingredients, such as free-range natural meats and sustainable fish; 100 percent eco-friendly menus are available upon request. “

PATINA RESTAURANT GROUP'S PATINA CATERING, Los Angeles

CEOS Joachim Splichal, chef/founder; Nick Valenti, CEO

WEB SITE patinagroup.com/catering

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 700 (catering only)

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 7,000 plus

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $25 million to $30 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Descanso Gardens, Figueroa Hotel and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, all in Los Angeles; Park Prive, the Bowers Museum and Orange County Performing Arts Center, in Orange County, Calif.; Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth, Calif.; the San Francisco War Memorial, San Francisco

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS 2008 Emmy Awards Governors Ball, Entertainment Tonight/People Magazine Emmy party; opening-night galas for the Los Angeles Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic; Hollywood Bowl Gala

SIGNATURE DISHES Riffs on various forms of dining have led to Patina's “chow line” menu, “high-end tailgate” menu and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches with flavored vodka shots. Also big: the “anti griddle” — such head-trip treats as frozen pina colada foam candy and frozen soy sauce, wasabi and garlic lollipops, which go well with sushi, management says.

RHUBARB FOOD DESIGN LTD., London

CEO Pieter-Bas Jacobse

WEB SITE www.rhubarb.net

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 46 full-time, 2 part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 400

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $15.7 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Royal Ascot Racing Club; London's Victoria House; Heathrow Terminal 3; Gallery Mess at Saatchi Gallery, London

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS “Sex and the City” premiere after-party; wedding of Queen Elizabeth's grandson Peter Philllips and Autumn Kelly; Elton John White Tie & Tiara Ball; Chinawhite's Rock the Polo at Guards Polo Club

RIDGEWELLS, Washington

CEO Susan Lacz

WEB SITE www.ridgewells.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 150

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 20,000

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $29 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Preferred caterer at venues in Washington, Maryland and Virginia

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS U.S. Open Men's Golf Championship, AT&T Nationals hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation, Breath of Life Gala for Cystic Fibrosis

SIGNATURE DISHES Gorgonzola Braised Short Ribs; Maryland Crab Cake with Summer Corn and Edamame Succotash; Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewers; Fudge-dipped Macaroons

WINDOWS CATERING CO., Alexandria, Va.

CEO Henry L. Dinardo

WEB SITE www.catering.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 200 full- and part-time

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 14,500

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $18 million to $20 million

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Busy with Obama inaugural events for law firms, Fortune 100 companies, celebrities and political groups; the largest event was a 10,000-guest reception at a Smithsonian museum.

SIGNATURE DISHES Windows is the only caterer in Washington to offer molecular gastronomy dishes, management says, including tuna strawberry, liquid olives and lobster pineapple hors d'oeuvre.

WOLFGANG PUCK CATERING, Los Angeles

CEO Carl Schuster

WEB SITE www.wolfgangpuck.com/catering

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 2,500

2009 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 10,000

2009 REVENUE FORECAST $100 million

VENUE PARTNERSHIPS Serves as exclusive caterer for more than 40 venues including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS “American Idol” finals; GLAAD Media Awards; Breeder's Cup; Grammy Awards gala; AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards; Kellogg School of Management dinner at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art; movie premieres

SIGNATURE DISHES Popular menus are “hand-held dinners,” such as English Muffins with Filet Mignon, Horseradish and Aged Cheddar wrapped in edible paper, and Miso-glazed Cod “Tacos” with Jasmine Rice, Japanese Salsa and Sesame Seeds. Small “tasting plates” include Fingerling Potatoes with Sea Salt, Sweet Bacon, Truffle Vinaigrette and Sage, as well as Watermelon with Feta Cheese, Lavender Vinaigrette and Mint (see photo page 3). Signature items include Mini Prime Rib Cheeseburgers and Tuna Tartare in a Sesame Miso Cone.

All information is supplied by the companies listed. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors and omissions sometimes occur; it is the policy of Special Events to correct errors promptly. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

RELATED STORIES FROM SPECIAL EVENTS

25 Great Big Caterers 2008

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