Today we are interviewing Jess Edmonds, Executive Event Planner at Spice of Life Catering Co.
* Please tell us about Spice of Life Catering Co. and what services you offer...
The Spice Companies includes Spice Kitchen + Bar and Spice of Life Catering Co., headquartered in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District, and Spice Acres, a 13-acre farm in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We believe that, by growing, purchasing and preparing local, sustainable foods, we can make a positive impact on our regional economy. Spice of Life Catering Co. is a full-service, upscale catering company that features sustainable ingredients from small family farms within a 100 mile radius of Cleveland. We handle many aspects of the planning process such as helping clients find the perfect venue, suggesting local vendors we love, building that dream menu, handling all the needed rentals and helping with all the logistical details of the day. We have an incredible staff of Cleveland's finest (and most fun!) servers, bartenders and chefs that are there to make your big day the most epic event you could imagine!
*Please tell us about yourself...
I am originally from Parma and was a proud Ohio City resident for the better part of the last decade, which I loved dearly. I now live in Lakewood with my husband Brian and our Old English Sheep Dog Mr. Biggie Smalls. I love riding my bike around town and experiencing all the awesome that CLE has to offer -- eating, drinking, culture, shopping, concerts -- all of it! I've been with Spice for eight years running the catering company, doing the majority of the event planning and helping grow the restaurant and now the farm, Spice Acres. Spice is a HUGE part of my personal life, too, so it's hard to even draw a line between personal and professional at times, and I think most people involved in growing a small biz can relate! I work with some of my closest friends, both of my sisters and an amazing team overall, so it's really the best of both worlds when I come into work each day. We are, however, starting our own family come the end of February so I will finally take some time off to learn all about the joys of motherhood and let my team run the show this spring, which will be a crazy adjustment but I couldn't be more excited!
*How did you get started in this industry / how did Spice of Life Catering Co. get started...
I have worked in the food and beverage industry since I was a teenager, and after graduating from CSU with a degree in marketing and PR, I was just sort of floating around the city with no real direction....until I met Ben Bebenroth! Meeting Ben really changed everything for me. He hired me on in 2008 as his event planner. I have had the pleasure of helping him grow Spice of Life Catering Co. from a three-man operation in a tiny 10x10 office, to one of the city's best catering companies! We employ eight full time employees and dozens of part timers when we are in our busy season. Every year we grow in a new direction, be it a new restaurant, a 13-acre farm or a new food delivery program (Check out Mod Meals!)....we just can't seem to sit still. We are always looking for more ways to grow and further our mission of pushing local, seasonal fare and it has been incredible watching the company grow!
*Does Spice of Life Catering Co. have a specialty?
Absolutely. Our main focus is supporting small family farms by making the majority of our purchases from within a 150 mile radius of CLE. All of our menus are built and inspired by the seasons, so a wedding menu for early April looks vastly different than a menu for end of May -- things change quick around here and we like to take advantage of anything new sprouting up!
* What do you love about your job and the wedding industry?
I love helping clients create a reality out of a vision inside their head. I love sitting down and hearing about all the ideas they have and then getting things on paper and creating a plan of how to execute the dream at hand. I love a challenge and our clients keep us busy to say the least.....wedding on a rooftop? Yes! One long table winding throughout the woods for 350 people? Sure thing! We get bored fast so having clients with BIG ideas keeps me and my team motivated and always on our toes!