• Company Spotlight: Ratatouille & Co. Grows Leaders Together

    Ratatouille & Co. leverages the culinary and hospitality industries to empower women.

     
    POSTED August 27, 2018
     

Leading events that incorporate multicultural foods and white glove service is what earned Ratatouille & Co. its successful reputation. “Our success as a full-service catering company is driven by our goal of reaching female refugees in the states,” says founder Evelyn Isaia. “Refugees bring culinary ideas from their countries and restyle them for high-end audiences.” 

Ratatouille began operations over a year ago after Isaia retired from a three-decade career in global wealth management. She founded the company with the goal of combining her love for the culinary arts with a desire to help women (primarily immigrants and refugees). Cathy Brower, president and chef de cuisine, was also looking for a new challenge when she joined the Ratatouille team. “Since we were legally formed, we’ve been going gangbusters,” says Isaia. 

The company does its own planning, managing scheduling and event logistics. “We, as a company, come to you,” says Isaia. Ratatouille primarily recruits its chefs from nonprofit organizations focused on workforce development. “Candidates from this demographic who qualify for work at Ratatouille must be servant-hearted,” notes Isaia. 

“It’s inspiring to see women returning to work with a vigor for cooking and sharing their culture and recipes with other chefs-intraining,” says Brower. Isaia and Brower agree that the power of good mentorship is needed for the organization’s chefs to learn both front and back of house disciplines, which translate into skills for work and life. “We also want women to develop positive attitudes about themselves and the work they do. Their confidence blossoms as their social skills improve.” Isaia notes the St. Jude Cancer Research Fund Gala that Ratatouille helped to cater as a part of a catering group in April. “We decided to present one of our seasonally inspired dishes: beet cups. They are vegetable-based shells lined with herbed goat cheese and topped with a beet tartare and dot of crème fraiche. I admire these women who are more ambitious now, because they led that event together.” 

Chicago hospitality collective 16” on Center partners with local businesses to turn everything from bars to theaters into serviceable event venues. Founding partners Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden have transformed 14 businesses (like Bite Café, Dusek’s Board & Beer, MONEYGUN, The Promontory, Thalia Hall and more) and have provided a single point of contact for event planners interested in utilizing these spaces as venues. 

 

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The ILEA New York Metro Chapter’s Big Apple Celebration on June 19 reflected on its 30 years as a chapter and also looked to the future. Held at the Bank at Manhattan Center, the newest event space at The New Yorker, A Wyndham Hotel, chapter awards and the Hall of Legends Award were handed out as well as the installation of the 2018-19 officers.