Meet The Events Team
Travis Hawkes – October 10 2017
I was in a “app-provided” cab cruising down Michigan Ave. one recent, sunny afternoon. When I say “cruising,” I mean inching along at a pace that’d make a turtle impatient. My driver, a Chicago native named Anne, was changing lanes while in an intersection while turning left onto one of the busiest streets in America. With a couple honks and a swift shift around some “slow pokes,” Anne found a clearing and all of a sudden, it was a wide-open road, revealing the Chicago River and the incredible buildings that lined it. I told her that she had made a good move and appreciated her bending of the rules. “In Chicago,” Annette said, “you either have to make your move or the city will make it for you.”
Put that on a t-shirt, right?
Chicago is a worker’s town and here at Northern Fork, we represent that to the fullest.
With Kathleen Jenkins leading the charge, our Director of Sales & Events knows how to take the challenges of putting an event together – “a juggling act, to say the least” – and make those challenges melt away. “We don’t offer the whole “one size fits most” packages you often see in catering,” she said. “Instead, we offer individualized service and menu planning… making the planning process as seamless and painless as possible for Northern Fork guests.”
Chicago’s stories are as diverse as its people. From Michael Jordan to Oprah Winfrey to Eddie Vedder, we’ve got all sorts of stars that love to call the Chicagoland area home. From the Northside boutiques to the Southside swap meets and every Gold Coast Goliath in between, you can shop till you drop and still never see it all.
That diversity and creativity ring true with us. Meg White and Ellyn Cook, our Event Sales Managers, integrate their varied backgrounds into their jobs on a daily basis. Ellyn, with a passion for wine and hospitality, used that to help her develop a “palate for great flavors.” “All of our items – from food, drinks to menus and photos – are developed by our team, who are as passionate as I am.” She goes on to say that Northern Fork “…lets us all bring our creative touch to the table, making your events customized by a group of people who love what they do.”
Can’t say it better than that.
And Meg, who has been with Northern Fork for four years, has seen her background in art help the company evolve. “I have watched the company expand from a simple drop-off service to full-service events.” She goes on to say, “Everyone strives to make their own event or wedding the next best experience. No one wants to go to the same event twice, and making an event special to you is what we’re about.”
Chicago’s specialty is the food and we’re deep-dish proud to be a part of that aspect. With our Executive Chef Katie Boyd quarterbacking the kitchen, she’s utilized the city and its wealth of edible assets to give Northern Fork the opportunity to offer so many choices. “Our food is a mix of my favorite things: local goods, an abundance of cultures, and small indulgences.”
She went on to speak about how she came from a hospitable southern family and how, mixed with the knowledge she garnered in culinary school, the attention to detail has made her a jewel in the Northern Fork crown. “I had a chef in culinary school tell me that you only serve short ribs to people you love because making them well really takes a lot of extra love, time, and attention. I keep a short rib on our menu year-round because that message really stuck with me and I hope to show that extra attention to every person we serve.”
Bethany Kelley is our Event Coordinator and while she oversees each event, “expedited flawlessly,” she is also our in-house photographer, a talent she’s been cultivating since before she was a part of the NF family. “Photography has been my passion for many years and it is the best part of my day when I get to use my talents to bring life to our menus and website.”
Gabrielle Sanchez works hand-in-hand with Bethany, conjuring up ideas for events and photography ideas for the two of them to work on. As a big part of the company’s social media outreach, Gabrielle knows that everyone has more than one hat to wear. “From expediting events to being onsite, I have learned so much in a such a short amount of time. Knowing that I play a big part in ensuring the success of each event is all the reward I need and more.”
There’s a sincerity and a genuineness to our pursuit of throwing the perfect party, and although we take our work seriously, our work is “throwing the perfect party,” so we know how to have fun. Ask Shocara McCurry, our Event Manager and Event Chef and she’ll tell you how we’re doing in that department: “We’re killing it!”
She’s a firm believer in our company’s “from scratch” process and the use of elite, quality ingredients. “No weird fillers for meat, plastic pretending to be cheese, and a truly start-to-finish process from the plan to the plate.”
That’s Chicago; a town that has fun working hard. Add in the fact that the town is always expanding, both up and out, and there’s never a dull moment in The Second City. Greg Martinets and John Sabella have been fantastic event managers and they’re both keeping their eyes on client relations. “During my 20 plus years of working in the catering industry,” John said, “I have not come across another company that was this focused on exceeding guest expectations. They have taken the time to find out what their clients desire and developed made-from-scratch menus that can be tailored to fit any occasion.”
Mark Twain spoke of “her” in a way every beautiful, wide-reaching city would hope to be spoken of: “She is novelty; she’s never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.” Northern Fork is a Chicago company with the highest standards that’s always augmenting our menus and ideas to meet your needs. Just thought we’d introduce ourselves…