guest star: Food for Thought caters the event to you

Food for Thought works exclusively with Adler Planetarium

For this month’s Vendor Spotlight, we look at Food for Thought, which provides café, contract dining and conference catering services for thousands of customers daily. Working with venues such as The Field Museum, Chicago History Museum, Millennium Park, Café Brauer and the Chicago Cultural Center, Food for Thought works with their clients to create the perfect event. Stitely sat down with John Rudy, Vice President of Catering, and learned about his start in the business and how Food for Thought can individually cater the event towards each client’s specific needs.

Stitely Entertainment (SE): How did you get started in catering? 

John Rudy (JR): I came back from Europe after studying abroad and had run out of funds.  My brother started a new job at the Roostertail in Detroit and said he could get me job as a “cater waiter”.  I didn’t really want to as I had changed my major out of hospitality management.  Since I needed the money I took the job and was hooked!

SE: How do you develop a menu? 

JR: The client really develops the menu.  We make every effort to get to know them and their guests personally so that the menu is reflective of their needs and what they want to accomplish.  We ask good questions, listen to the answers and let the talented folks in the kitchen make us look good!

SE: Since you work with food for a living, do you enjoy cooking at home? What are some of your favorite things to cook?

JR: Since I don’t really cook at work, I love to cook at home.  I really hate to waste that culinary degree!  My favorite meal to make a home is jerk chicken, red beans and rice, my mom’s potato salad and cole slaw, lemon curd with berries and shortbread.

SE: What is the craziest event story you can share? 

JR: I once worked with a bride who refused to move her ceremony inside despite the inevitability of rain.  She wouldn’t listen to me, her parents or her planner.  She walked down the aisle and the sky opened up soaking her and her guests.

SE: What sets you and your company apart from other caterers?  

Without a doubt, it is our culture.  This is a people business and if your internal customer is not taken care of the paying customer never will.  We set the bar high, provide the best tools and communication we can, create a team environment, keep it positive, respect each others talents and hire the best.

SE: What advice would you give to couples when working with their caterer on their wedding?

JR: If they don’t ask about you as a person, go to the next caterer.  They’ll never be able to understand what you need unless they ask a lot of questions.  If they do all the talking you know who is most important to them.  Narrow down your choices to 2-3 before asking for proposals.  Chances are the proposals will be more defined and you’ll be looking forward to working with someone you like.  Getting proposals and doing tastings with people you have not talked intimately with about your wedding is a waste of everyone’s time.

SE: Put your iPod on shuffle. What are the first three songs that come up?

JR: Europa by Santana, All Along the Watchtower (Live) by Dave Mathews and Soulshine by The Allman Brothers.


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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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