Experience is certainly a sign that you are getting a catering team that knows their stuff. On top of that, commitment to stay with a company shows prospective clients that the team they are hiring believes in their business. The Crystal chefs have over 165 years of combined experience in the industry! You are guaranteed to have chefs that are among the best of the best preparing the menu for your event. Let’s meet the team!
Name: Matt Vogel
Role: Corporate Chef with Crystal Signature Events
Training + Concentration: Classical French and Italian cuisine training by Chef Harlan Russel, Chef Timothy Highes, and Chef Jim Coleman
Years of Experience: 26 years
Favorite Part of Career: Organizing large events with fresh, from-scratch ingredients to give healthy and sustainable food to the public.
Community Involvement: Mentoring at the Restaurant School of Philadelphia, volunteering at the food shelters in Philadelphia and College of Physicians, donating to Second Helpings in Indianapolis, and participating in the annual Rev Indy event.
Industry Advice: Work hard to become as proficient as possible in as many areas as possible in order to be well rounded. Stay on top of trends so you can stay relevant. Most importantly, enjoy food and what you do. Work for the love of the food, not for the paychecks.
Name: Ryan Moore
Role: Sous Chef with Crystal Signature Events
Years of Experience: 16 years
Favorite Cuisine to Prepare: French and American Southern. Combining the two goes together like peas and carrots - I love both the lighter and heavier sides of each diaspora.
Favorite Part of Career: Menu creation. Between the brainstorming and bantering between chefs on whose idea is better or what the best flavor combinations are or the camaraderie between the culinary team in general during the creative process. It’s a learning opportunity and it challenges me.
Community Involvement: Participating in the annual Rev Indy + Zoobilation events and volunteering with Second Helpings
Industry Advice: Passion and drive are the two most necessary qualities. If you don’t have those then you won’t succeed in your ultimate dreams. You have to have an overwhelming desire to cook and push yourself to learn harder techniques. Go out to eat at meaningful restaurants and really try to understand what the chef or restaurant is doing and saying. Study food everywhere you go and try to pick apart what techniques or ingredients were used. Just become a student of the game, welcome criticism (but it doesn’t mean you have to accept it, it’s not all good for you) and don’t let up even after you’ve reached your goals.
Name: Scott Cramer
Role: Executive Chef at The Indiana Roof
Training + Concentration: Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious culinary program at Johnson & Wales University. His concentration is on coaching production, diverse menu development and concepts, and inventory controls.
Years of Experience: 30 years
Culinary Adventures: Living 8 years in the US Virgin Islands, being a part of multiple food competitions, teaching classes for Sur La Table, and volunteering at Second Helpings.
Industry Advice: Focus on creating ways to keep the guest and patronage more interested and continually evaluate with an open mind what can be done to make diner’s and employee’s experiences better.
Name: Raven Brown
Role: Executive Sous Chef at The Indiana Roof
Years of Experience: 8.5 years
Favorite Part of Career: I am very organized and efficient and thrive under pressure. I also enjoy leading the staff and delegating tasks as needed.
Industry Advice: Never think something is beneath you. Everyone has to start somewhere and some tasks might not be glamorous, but they are all important!
Name: Ben Seigel
Role: Executive Chef at Crane Bay
Training + Concentration: Degree in Food and Beverage Management from Johnson and Wales University
Years of Experience: 33 years
Favorite Cuisine to Prepare: I enjoy creating and making new sauces, chutneys, compotes, jams, and marmalades. I also really enjoy smoking and BBQ and all the creative room there is to grow. I love to combine flavors and ideas that seem off the wall but when produced work well together.
Favorite Part of Career: The creative side of the culinary world. If I can get someone to try something that they would never eat and enjoy it, that is a major accomplishment for me. I love designing plate presentations and buffet designs as well, it's very much a form of artistic design and I really enjoy the look and reaction when people see and experience my food and presentation for the first time. I also love the unknown that every day brings, always able to create something new and different.
Community Involvement: Annual Zoobiliation event as well as many cooking demonstrations for various businesses
Industry Advice: Follow your heart and passion and have a strong will - this is not an easy business or career to get into. But the personal rewards and satisfaction are many if you push yourself to succeed. The most important thing is all the other culinary professionals you can learn from and grow, so spend more time listening to others and keep your eyes and ears open because there is so much to receive in this business. Good luck to all future culinarians!
Name: Kelly Retherford
Role: Sous Chef at Crane Bay
Training + Concentration: Undergrad degree from the University of Kentucky, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology. Later, graduated with Highest Honors from the Chefs Academy of Indianapolis.
Years of Experience: 25 years
Favorite Part of Career: In this industry our business is providing experiences and most importantly memories. It's very rewarding. The favorite task of my work is creating - whether it be menus or new food items and then making them into artwork on a plate.
Community Involvement: Annual Rev Indy event, donating time for Second Helpings, and being featured on Indy Style a few times.
Industry Advice: Be driven, but patient. It’s not going to happen overnight. The kitchen is not as glamorous as shown on tv. Through years of hard work and eagerness to learn you will only grow and become better at your skill. At the end of the day, it is awesome being a part of such a unique community!
Name: Emily Slavens
Role: Executive Chef at The Heirloom
Training + Concentration: Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Sullivan University
Years of Experience: 16 years
Favorite Cuisine to Prepare: I love cooking food from around the world. I love finding new flavors and spices that people don’t see every day and finding a way to incorporate those flavors into familiar dishes.
Favorite Part of Career: My favorite part of cooking is the satisfaction of making people smile with the food I have prepared. It brings me joy to know I have had a part in someone else's happiness.
Community Involvement: Annual Rev Indy event, missions trips to feed homeless children in Haiti and Brazil and volunteering at the Plainfield Correctional Facility and Putnamville Correctional Facility to teach culinary skills to inmates in job training programs.
Industry Advice: Find as many kitchens as you can and work shifts doing a variety of things. Find what you love to do, and find out what you don’t prefer doing. Learn as many cuisines and techniques as you can from people who have experience in the industry. If I had it to do all over again, I would have traveled more when I was younger and done more hands-on training around the country and world.
Name: Falicia Minor
Role: Sous Chef at The Heirloom
Training + Concentration: Graduated from The Chefs Academy of Indianapolis
Years of Experience: 12 years
Favorite Cuisine to Prepare: I’ve discovered my saucy side! I just can’t resist the art of creating delicious sauces. It’s like my superpower in the kitchen.
Industry Advice: Being a chef is like a high-stakes cooking adventure. It's a culinary roller coaster with more twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti! If you can't handle the heat, the pressure, and the occasional flying spatula, you might want to stick to being the 'Master of Microwave Meals' instead!
Crystal’s culinary team is truly driven by their passion for exceptional food and desire to create the most extraordinary experiences for you, their clients. They are experts in their field and committed to training the next generation of culinary professionals in the Indianapolis area. Interested in joining our team? We are always looking for dedicated, hard-working, service-minded individuals to help us deliver exceptional events. Apply today!
Or if you have an event to plan, reach out to our event management team to learn more about Crystal’s standard of excellence in executing unique, unforgettable full-service events at one of our three distinctive venues.
Related Topics: Catering, Heirloom at N. K. Hurst, Crystal Catering, Catering and Culinary Awards, Menu Creation, Indianapolis Event Catering, Convention Event Catering, Special Event Catering, Crane Bay Event Center, Indiana Roof Ballroom