THE CATERING BY MICHAELS FAMILY

STEWART GLASS

PRESIDENT

STEWART GLASS

PRESIDENT

After graduating from the University of Illinois - Champaign with a major in Accounting and Finance, Stewart worked in public accounting for one year before deciding to get into the “food business”. He went to work at Michael’s Chicago Style Red Hots in Highland Park with the intention of opening more locations. After only a year, Stewart built the off-premise catering for Michael’s and eventually purchased the remainder of the business which is today, Catering by Michaels. With over 30 years of experience, Stewart continues to lead and push the company to new heights.
Year started: 1983
Favorite items that we make: Pulled Pork, Tuna Salad, Tacos and Eclectic Sushi
Most Memorable Meal: Publican with my family
Random Fact: He loves being on a boat or spending time with his wife and either of his children who both live out of town and in different states.

DAVID SANDLER

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

DAVID SANDLER

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

With over 30 years of experience, David has played a key role in our growth and development. He has worked every position in the organization at one point or another and currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the company with a strong focus on the culinary and operations departments. He also creates and designs all of the unique buffets and action stations that we’re known for.
Year started: 1984
Favorite items that we make: Homemade Lime and Sea Salt Corn Tortilla Chips, Sushi, Pad See Ewe, Serbando’s Spicy Nut Mix, and all of our homemade stocks and sauces.
Random Fact: He loves spending time with his wife and son, vacationing on the beach or anywhere warm and relaxing!

JEFF WARE

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

JEFF WARE

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Jeff has always been fascinated by large events; the thrill of watching 1,000 plates being plated and served in 15 minutes hooked him at an early age. Gifted with a natural business sense, perseverance and a wicked sense of humor, Jeff brings a truly unique perspective and energy to Catering by Michaels. Not only has Jeff excelled on the operations side of the business, but he has led waste reduction efforts company wide and implemented recycling both at our commissary and in the field at all of our events. He also helped build a database of over 14,500 recipes and drives the culinary vision of the company, steadily determined to create trends rather than just follow them. Jeff is also a Senior Consultant with Certified Catering Consultants, a team of seasoned experts each specializing in a specific area of the catering industry. For more information, please visit www.CertifiedCateringConsultants.com
Year started: 2000
Favorite item that we make: Well Being Soup
Random Fact: Jeff hates birds! (Now that’s random)

SARAH KOECHLING

CULINARY ANALYST

SARAH KOECHLING

CULINARY ANALYST

Soon after earning her B.A. in English in 2000 from The College of Wooster, Sarah decided to attend The French Pastry School in Chicago and worked at Everest Restaurant immediately after graduating. In 2010, she moved to California to work in kitchens both in San Francisco and Los Angeles. After a few years of adventure, she returned to her hometown of Chicago, her family, and the seasons. Sarah spent a couple of years as Executive Pastry Chef for a restaurant group in the city before deciding to apply her culinary knowledge in a different way as a Culinary Analyst.
Year started: 2016
Favorite item that we make: Cauliflower Leek Kugel
Random fact:
After a lifetime of being extremely un-athletic she now runs half marathons.

ARMANDO LOREDO, JR.

OPERATIONS MANAGER

ARMANDO LOREDO, JR.

OPERATIONS MANAGER

After holding many different positions within the company, Armando enjoyed the operations side of the business most. He is currently responsible for overseeing the execution of all preparation, packaging and delivery for all of our events. Essentially, Armando ensures that our food delivery is of the highest quality and consistency – no pressure!
Year started: 1998
Favorite items that we make: Sesame Chicken and all of the items on our BBQ menu.
Random Fact: He’s a huge soccer fan, playing as often as he can.

CYNTHIA SENECAL

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

CYNTHIA SENECAL

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

Cindy started with us in the Accounting Department as the Accounts Receivable Specialist. Having spent much of her career in banking and customer service, working for Catering by Michaels was her first introduction to the food and beverage industry. She was amazed by the intensity of the catering industry and all that goes into it. It doesn’t hurt that she loves good food and gets to enjoy it everyday, just like the rest of us. Perks!
Year started: 2008
Favorite items that we make: Chicken Milanese Puttanesca and the Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad
Random Fact: Cindy loves all genres of music, but her favorite is hard rock.

MICHELLE JORDAN

OPERATIONS ANALYST

MICHELLE JORDAN

OPERATIONS ANALYST

Michelle is a Chicagoland native, having never lived more than an hour from the city her entire life, except to attend college at Western Illinois University where she graduated from in 2009 with a BA in Theatre Production and Design. After spending the last 5 years as a Stagehand at Suburban Theatre, Michelle was looking for a change of pace. Now she gets to apply her creative, as well as technical skills, in our Operations Department.
Year Started: 2015
Favorite item that we make: Chipotle Chicken Miniature Sandwiches
Random Fact: Michelle loves crafts beers and has tried nearly 900 different beers.

MAYA KOBASLIJA

OPERATIONS ANALYST

MAYA KOBASLIJA

OPERATIONS ANALYST

Maya graduated from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana in May of 2012, at which point she began her career in the Catering & Hospitality industry as an Event Coordinator. Striving to learn more, experience more, and build a career, she took a huge leap of faith and moved to Chicago in January of 2014. Lucky us!
Year started: 2014
Favorite item that we make: Flaming Donut Station
Random Fact: She was born and raised in Europe until the age of 10!

ALEXANDER RUFUS

DRIVER MANAGER

ALEXANDER RUFUS

DRIVER MANAGER

Alexander graduated from Maine Township High School, East in May 2012. After graduating Alexander decided to take a different route than most. He choose to explore many other job opportunities searching for one that would draw him in completely, for he did not know what career to pursue. After 3 years of searching for the right calling Alexander stumbled into Catering By Michaels; and after only a year of hard work and dedication sought to move up within the company. Alexander loves providing exceptional service, and leaving people smiling.
Year Started: 2015
Favorite item that we make:
White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Random fact: Alexander is an artist. In his free time, he likes to admire all the beauty the world has to offer, and one day would love to travel and draw/paint new sights.

EMILY PROIA

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5031

EMILY PROIA

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5031

Emily grew up in Newton, MA, a suburb of Boston, and spent her summers working in catering, restaurants and hotels. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Emily set her sights on Chicago. She fell in love with all the city has to offer and has not looked back (although she will always remain a Patriots fan). On her first day with us, she entered Grant Park for a weekend of catering at Lollapalooza and immediately knew she wanted to be along for the ride. She started in the Operations Department and after a year of learning logistics, Emily transitioned to become a part of the event planning and creative process.
Year started: 2010
Favorite items that we make: Tacos with margaritas from mini Patron bottles, cause she’s always in the mood for a margarita! Or, maybe even the French macaroons that, per Emily, you won’t find better unless you’re in Paris!
Random Fact: While still in college (and the resident cook/baker), her friends used to joke that she wouldn’t be in their weddings… cause she’d be their caterer! It just might happen.

MEREDYTH BROOK

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5008

MEREDYTH BROOK

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5008

Meredyth began her career in the hospitality industry in 1996 after graduating from Ohio State University. She started in the marketing department of a designer linen rental company and spent four years learning the ins and outs of the event industry. She quickly found herself increasingly interested in catering so she took a position as the Catering Manager for Sodexho at Northwestern University. After two years, she was promoted to Catering Director. She later joined our team and has been building successful relationships with our clients ever since.
Year started: 2004
Favorite item that we make: Parmesan Encrusted Whitefish
Random Fact: She is a closet hippie. Her favorite band is the Grateful Dead!

MICHELE GROSSMAN

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5004

MICHELE GROSSMAN

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5004

Michele graduated from University of Wisconsin - Stout with a BA in Hotel Restaurant Management. She previously worked Banquet Sales and Catering at Stouffers Hamilton, Westin Chicago and Inter-Continental Hotel Chicago. She is meticulous and puts 48 hours into her 24-hour day. She is a mom of two wonderful teenagers and resides in Northbrook. In addition to working, she watches her kids at their sporting events and tries to volunteer at their schools when available. She loves to exercise, travel, play with her two cockapoos, and be a tourist in her own city.
Year started: 1996
Favorite items that we make: Snowflake Cake and Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower with Matzo Crumble
Random Fact: She often swipes menus from restaurants (big and small) to use for reference and great ideas. Might be better if we keep that between us!

SHANNON SHERWOOD

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5002

SHANNON SHERWOOD

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5002

Shannon joined us by way of graduate school, rock club ownership, retail management, untrained “cheffing”, not-for-profit events and, finally, catering management. To say that she loves wine is not entirely true; she lives by it, collects it, and defines herself by it. Loving food and wine makes her job not just easier, but fun. She approaches the smallest event the same way she would approach a plated dinner for 300: with a lively conversation that hopefully includes both discovery and laughter.
Year started: 2011
Favorite item that we make: Our polenta cup with wild mushrooms and comte cheese. It is a compact little savory bite of perfection with… cheese!
Random Fact: She used to own a punk rock club.

JESSICA CERVEN

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5006

JESSICA CERVEN

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5006

Jessica graduated from Bradley University in May of 2013 with a BA in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. She loves to dance and is always tempted to jump onto the dance floor with guests at an event. She also enjoys being organized and planning things.
Year started: 2013
Favorite items that we make: Snowflake Cake and Candy Bar Pie
Random Fact: She extreme coupons and cannot go to the store without her coupon binder.

CHRISTIANE UMPHREY

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5015

CHRISTIANE UMPHREY

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5015

Christiane has been passionately involved in the hospitality industry since 1995 and proudly adds Chicago as another amazing food town she has called home, along with Birmingham, Alabama, New York City and Toronto, Ontario. Dedication and discipline are an everyday part of her life balance between work, being a wife and mother, competing triathlons and her favorite; entertaining and cooking for others at home. She is always happiest as the host of the party!
Year Started: 2016
Favorite item that we make: Short Rib Quesadillas and Lamb Chop Lollipops
Random Fact: Her BFA is in musical theatre, so if you are in need of some entertainment she may just break out into song.

STACEY COMBRZYNSKI

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5003

STACEY COMBRZYNSKI

EVENT COORDINATOR 847.213.5003

Stacey grew up in the St. Louis area, and this was where she got her start in the service industry at the age of 15. After graduating from Southern Illinois University she moved to Indianapolis for what she thought would be a few years. Nine years later she set her sights on Chicago and has been here ever since. Stacey knew she was passionate about the planning and executing of events since the first day she was asked to help out with the annual Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital Golf Outing, and has had the planning bug ever since.
Year Started: 2016
Favorite item that we make: Pulled brisket barbacoa in a jalapeño muffin.
Random fact: In her free time, she enjoys building Lego sets. She would like to one day have an entire room devoted to a Lego town.

STACY ROBERTSON

EVENT PRODUCER

STACY ROBERTSON

EVENT PRODUCER

Stacy was born and raised in Indiana where she graduated from Indiana University - Bloomington in May 2014. Although she received her degree in Recreational Sports Marketing, she always wanted to work in the event management industry and decided to study in the sports management field. While completing an internship in Indianapolis, she worked part-time for a catering company and found that she loved working in the industry. This led her to pursue a career in the field and join our family.
Year started: 2014
Favorite Item that we make: Homemade Idaho Potato chips with French Onion Dip
Random Fact: She used to work for Indiana University's men's basketball team.

MEGAN PERIGO

EVENT PRODUCER

MEGAN PERIGO

EVENT PRODUCER

Megan was born and raised in Indiana and recently graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington in May 2015. She received her degree in Sociology. While in school, she worked as an assistant event coordinator at The Story Inn in Brown County, IN for two years and worked one year as a server for One World Catering in Bloomington, IN. She loves working in the service of others and loves going out of her way to make others feel special. She also loves the outdoors, running, and a good adventure.

Year Started: 2015
Favorite item that we make: Pulled Brisket Barbacoa in a Jalapeño Muffin
Random fact: She loves Pygmy goats and hopes to purchase her own farm one day.

TIFFANY HERVIG

SALES CONCIERGE

TIFFANY HERVIG

SALES CONCIERGE

Tiffany graduated from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb in December 2015. Originally she had gone to school to become an Elementary Teacher. While at Northern, she held an executive board position as the Fundraising & Events Vice President for her service organization, which is when she found her passion for this industry and graduated with a degree is Hospitality Management. She enjoys seeing all the pieces come together to create an event. She also loves traveling, trying new restaurants and serving others.
Year Started: 2016
Favorite item that we make: Summer Chopped Salad
Random Fact: In her free time, she enjoys baking, but recently taught herself how to make homemade sugar cookies with royal icing décor on top for family and friend's themed parties.

MIKE CISTERNINO

EXECUTIVE CHEF

MIKE CISTERNINO

EXECUTIVE CHEF

Chef Mike Cisternino grew up in an Italian family, where he learned at an early age that quality food was an essential ingredient to good living. As a child, he watched and helped his many relatives prepare culinary masterpieces from scratch. After studying psychology at Ohio State University, Mike returned to Chicago to begin pursuing a formal education in culinary arts at Chicago’s Kendall College. After receiving his culinary degree in 2002 and working for several prestigious restaurants, Mike decided to continue his education of food and life by moving to Italy. He spent nearly a year expanding his skills and knowledge of Italian Cuisine. Upon his return to the Chicago, Mike took the Executive Sous Chef position at Carmine’s on Rush Street and then in 2004, he took over his first restaurant, Rosebud of Highland Park in the heart of Chicago’s north shore. After 3 years, Mike left Rosebud to become the opening chef at Tavern at the Park. He spent 4 years at the New American style restaurant crafting comfort food rooted in classical Italian technique. Throughout his career, Mike has been a part of numerous food demonstrations ranging from Bloomingdales and Green City Market to 670 The Score Radio and WGN News. He has had various recipes and interviews published in Plate Magazine, Food Arts, Restaurant & Institutions, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Business.
Year started: 2011
Favorite item that we make: Sesame Chicken
Random Fact: Chef Mike loves pedicures. Now that’s an honest man!

ALVINO RODRIGUEZ

EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF

ALVINO RODRIGUEZ

EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Alvino came to the United States in 1998 and immediately began working with us. He has worked virtually every station in the kitchen and knows all of our menu items like the back of his hand.
Year started: 1998
Favorite item that we make: BBQ Ribs or Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower with Panko
Random Fact: He used to play amateur soccer.

TOM LAURELL

EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF

TOM LAURELL

EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF

Tom comes from mainly a restaurant background having begun his career working with Tony Mantuano at Spiaggia. From there he quickly rose to head Pastry Chef at Fahrenheit Restaurant in St. Charles, before returning to Chicago to be the Executive Pastry Chef at Bin 36, Hotel Sax, and Amano for nearly 7 years.
Year started: 2014
Favorite Item that we make: Snowflake Cake and our delicious Apple Pie
Random Fact: One of Tom's first restaurant jobs was at Ed Debevics, where he was a server, entertaining people by dancing on the tables and insulting them. He got the bug entertaining and caring for people through food, and the rest is history.

BRUCE BUDWORTH

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

BRUCE BUDWORTH

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

Bruce is a Wisconsin farm boy who likes both country and western music. He now lives in the big city of Chicago with his wife and young daughter (who is ridiculously cute!).
Year started: 2003
Favorite items that we make: He loves our backyard barbecues. From our ribs, jumbo char dogs, and burgers with melted cheese on a toasted bun to our skirt steak and famous baked beans. And then, to finish it up, our build your own sundae bar.
Random Fact: His house is really cool.

DAVID AVADEK

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

DAVID AVADEK

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

David spent 35 years as a teacher and administrator, with his summer months dedicated to being a Camp Director. He was even elected to public office and served as the Board President for a local Park District.
Year started: 1993
Favorite item that we make: Bayou Crab Boil
Random Fact: David supervised and was responsible for thousands of children who learned to swim through the American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program, and helped to develop the Jump Rope for Heart Program in Chicago.

MODESTO CLASSEN

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

MODESTO CLASSEN

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

Born in Puerto Rico, Modesto came to Chicago very young and grew up in Humboldt Park. Before joining us, he was a florist.
Year started: 2008
Favorite item that we make: Parmesan Encrusted White Fish over sautéed Spinach topped with Citrus Beurre Blanc.
Random Fact: He has a collection of 1500 videos of which more than half are VHS. So, if you ever want to watch Flashdance on videocassette, he’s your man.

PAT PHILLIPS

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

PAT PHILLIPS

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

Pat has been working with us since Memorial Day weekend in 1996, which means that if his years here were a person, they could vote (but probably wouldn’t).
Year started: 1996
Favorite item that we make: He loves our delicious breakfast items -- the Apple Cinnamon French Toast, French Toast Skewer and the unbelievable Blueberry Scones.
Random Fact: Pat’s nickname around here is “Crash” because he’s such a cautious driver.

VICTOR RAMOS, JR.

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

VICTOR RAMOS, JR.

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

Victor is always attentive to details and extremely professional. He enjoys working with all different types of events and specializes in creating fabulous buffets. Victor always tries his hardest to leave the most positive impression at the end of each event. He loves to exceed our client’s expectations!
Year Started: 1999
Favorite item that we make: AM Sweets
Random fact: Not a big fan of social networking. Loves trying out new food ideas.

SELWYN "J.R." HOPKINS

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

SELWYN "J.R." HOPKINS

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

J.R. loves hosting parties and making people happy. Whether he’s passing our fabulous hor d'oeuvres or making great drinks, he’s guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Year started: 2016
Favorite item that we make: Spicy Ahi Tuna Push Pops
Random Fact: J.R. is extremely creative and a very good cook.

HAYDE MARTINEZ

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

HAYDE MARTINEZ

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

Hayde was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and moved to Chicago in 1990. She has been married for 32 years and has one son.
Year started: 2000
Favorite item that we make: Spicy Tuna Cones
Random Fact: Hayde speaks both English and Spanish.

REBECCA NIELSEN

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

REBECCA NIELSEN

FUNCTION DIRECTOR

Rebecca has been working in the Chicagoland hospitality/restaurant industry for over 20 years. She enjoys the unique challenges that off-site catering has to offer and receives immense satisfaction in finding personalized solutions for clients. Rebecca always strives to ensure the highest levels of professionalism and client satisfaction at all times.
Year started: 2016
Favorite item that we make: All sweets and desserts, especially the Cheesecake Lollipops and Candy Bar Pie.
Random Fact: Rebecca is awesome at multi-tasking, which was cultivated while owning/operating a home daycare center while also raising 4 children, working nights in a local restaurant, and obtaining the first of two college degrees.

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