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2022 Schedule

All Times Listed are Central Time

LCAES 2022

Westin Cincinnati - Cincinnati OH

Schedule at a Glance (subject to change)


Sunday, November 13


6:00 PM–8:00 PM                              

(All) Preconference Cocktail Party hosted by Funky’s Catering and the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, Great American Ballpark

100 Joe Nuxhall Way/Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Sunday night will offer a walk down history lane as we visit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Considered one of the finest exhibits in Major League Baseball, the Reds Hall of Fame showcases the oldest team in the major leagues. Cincinnati is a baseball crazy city, with a 150 year plus tradition of always having the first game in the National League division played at home - the entire city treats it as a quasi-official holiday.


The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum at Great American Ball Park is the place where the story of Reds baseball comes alive each day. The Museum features 16,000 square feet of historical, interactive, and educational exhibits, highlighting the rich and storied tradition of the Reds for fans of all ages. Since its inception, 90 players, managers, and executives have been honored with induction into the Hall of Fame.


Cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6:00 – 7:30. There are many other restaurants in the immediate area for those interested in dinner following the reception.


The Hall of Fame is approximately 6 walking blocks from the Westin, or one stop on the free Cincinnati Connector Trolley from outside the Westin. The Hall is on the same block as Great American Ball Park, past the Reds Gift Shop heading down towards the Ohio River.



Monday, November 14


9:30 AM–4:00 PM                             

Registration Open


10:00 AM–12:00 PM                         

Interest Groups (ALL)


Next Gen Roundtable – Presidential 1

Anthony Lambatos

The Next Gen group addresses issues surrounding generational transitions among LCA members, through either familial or employee relationships; it is open to everyone dealing with these questions.

1st hour: How has the covid era turmoil impacted any generational transitions

2nd hour: Challenges faced by the next generation transitioning into the business


The Future of Weddings Roundtable – Presidential 2+3

Tom McDowell, Connecticut Wedding Group

Weddings are the single largest source of revenue for the LCA members; everyone with an interest in this market is invited to attend.

1st hour: 2022 results, guest counts as an indicator, 2023 prospects, permanent vs transitional changes in the wedding market, venue relationships

2nd hour: Pricing strategies, service models to address labor shortages, new menu concepts


Chef Roundtable - Taft

Peter McCaffrey

All chefs and culinary personnel are invited to sit in on this introductory session.


12:00 PM–1:00 PM – Fountain Room, 2nd Floor

Plated Lunch – Regional Lunch Meetings Hosted by Steering Committee Members



1:00 PM–1:40 PM - Presidential 1

Opening General Session – Welcome, New Member and Industry Partner Introductions (ALL)

LCA Membership Report, Specialist Members, Group Activities, LCA Website Updates

New Members – Southern Way Catering Columbia SC, Bill Hansen Catering Miami, District Events and Catering Atlanta

Industry Partners – Curate, SB Value


1:40 PM - 2:30 PM - Presidential 1 and Garfield                             

(ALL) Speed Networking with Your Peers


2:30 PM–2:45 PM                              



2:45 PM–3:45  PM – Presidential 2 + 3                                

(SEG) Business Development: A How To…So You Can Level Up Your Business & Sales Pipeline

Meryl Snow; Lisa Ware, Catering By Michaels

Learn Lisa’s strategy to reach prospects at the right time. Find growing companies, into growth opportunities, changes in the market, what your competition is up to, and how you can attract your target audience more effectively.


(MOG & CIG) Leadership Development  - Taft

Anthony Lambatos & Peter McCaffrey

This will be a self-reflective session that will give participants an opportunity to assess how they are showing up as a leader within their respective companies. Anthony and Peter will discuss the impact leaders can have, the valued leadership behaviors within member companies, and how leaders are evaluated. They will also discuss what it takes to continue growing as a leader and how attendees are making time for that to happen. They will also address the question of implementing DEI (diversity, inclusion, and equity) in catering leadership.


(PNG) Recession and Inflation Proofing Your Business – Presidential 1

Andrea Correale, Elegant Affairs; Jeff Miller, JAM Catering

The catering industry has always been sensitive to trends in the macro-economy. With the most severe bout of inflation in recent memory possibly leading into a recession, the question of how to plan for these economic headwinds is key for the health of all our businesses.


3:45 PM–4:30 PM – Presidential 1   

(PNG, MOG, CIG) White Paper Results - Developing a Finance and HR Group

Carl Sacks  

This year’s Industry Intelligence White Paper Survey received responses from close to 50 LCA members. During this session we will review some of the most interesting data points from the survey analysis, as well as opening up the floor for discussion of other finance related topics. We will also revisit the question of whether to restart an LCA finance and HR group, similar to our culinary, sales, and management operations group.


3:45 PM-5:00 PM – Presidential 2 + 3

(SEG) That Worked!

Meryl Snow; Pam Howatt, Divine Events; Fausto Pifferrer, Blue Elephant Catering; Donald Shives, Best Impressions

This session will cover sales and marketing ideas that show promise or profit – topics include Venues, Meeting/Wedding Planners, DMCs, Vendors, Prospects, Current Clients, Weddings.


4:30 PM–5:00 PM – Presidential 1   

(PNG, MOG, CIG) Previous Item Reviews

During this session we will revisit topics covered and recommendations made in previous years’ LCAES sessions, to see how things have turned out. Topics to be covered include:


*Self-Insured Health Coverage – Russell Morin, The RM Group – the RM Group now has a year of history with Self Insured health plan. Russ Morin will provide us with some perspective on how the plan has worked for them both on the financial side, and on the employee satisfaction side.


*Guest Ordering at Table for Sit Down Events – Jerin Dunham, Funky’s – at last year’s LCAES a lively discussion began on the topic of offering guest’s choice entrees. Jerin from Funky’s will be demonstrating an automated system that they developed in-house to automate this guest service using pads.


5:00 PM–6:00 PM                              



6:15 PM–6:30 PM                              

Transportation to Welcoming Party


6:30 PM–9:30 PM                              

Welcoming Party at The Transept – Renaissance Masters

1205 Elm St. Cincinnati 45202

Formerly Old St. John’s Church, the first German American church in Cincinnati, this fully restored building owned by Funky’s Catering is now a proud landmark and extremely popular event venue on Washington Park in Over the Rhine. The Transept’s interior is rich with history, grand staircases, hugely unique features, and standout characteristics, such as a 50-ft. vaulted ceiling with original wood beams, giant chandeliers, exposed brick, private entrances, ornate windows, and stained glass.


The evening will be filled with multiple unique food stations on all four floors of the venue. The creative food stations will take in consideration the diverse ethnic background and history of the Cincinnati region.  We will also provide stations that will include a selection of locally brewed craft beers (at one time OTR featured 250 different brewers) and a selection of fine bourbons that represent the history of the Kentucky bourbon trail. Live entertainment will be available the whole evening.


9:00 PM–9:30 PM                              

Optional Return to Westin Cincinnati – Last Bus Leaves at 9:30 PM


9:00 PM–11:00 PM                            

Optional After Party at Ghost Baby Underground Bar, 1314 Republic St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Ghost Baby is within walking distance of the Transept, and directions will be provided.


Following the Transept Reception, we have organized another unique, only in Cincinnati experience: an excursion to a local Over The Rhine establishment that will incorporate another aspect of Cincinnati’s brewing history. The establishment is called Ghost Baby and is located five stories below ground. The space was originally used by brew masters to store their kegs of beer. It has recently been renovated after being abandoned for more than a century. Ghost Baby was recently named by Esquire Magazine as one of the top 20 bars in the U.S. for 2022. LCAES attendees will be welcomed to Ghost Baby with no cover charge – the bar is no-host.


Return transportation to the Westin Cincinnati is available via Uber, Lyft, or taxi. The Cincinnati Connector Trolley/Streetcar is also available running every 15 minutes until 11:22 PM. The Connector is free to ride, with the nearest stop to Ghost Baby at the corner of Race and 12th, dropping off immediately outside the Westin Hotel at Walnut and 5th.



Tuesday, November 15


8:00 AM–9:00 AM                             



8:00 AM–12:00 PM                           

Registration Open


9:00 AM–9:55 AM - Presidential 1   

(ALL) General Session – Welcome, New Member, and Industry Partner Introductions

New Members – Bold Catering & Events Atlanta, Partyman Catering Rochester, Personal Touch Dining San Diego, Chef’s Garden Catering Jacksonville




9:55 AM–10:15 AM - Presidential 1

(ALL) Funky’s Catering Rebrands!

Michael Forgus and Jerin Dunham

Our hosts for this year’s LCAES will be changing their corporate identity as of the first of the year, as part of a process that includes a merger with one of the other large caterers in Cincinnati. Michael and Jerin will be relating to us how they planned for and will execute this consolidation and rebrand.


10:15 AM–10:45 AM - Presidential 1           

(ALL) Disaster Catering – World Central Kitchen - Laura Hayes, Chef Corps Director; Elyssa Kaplan, Director of Culinary

WCK, led by prominent Spanish American chef Jose Andres, has taken the lead in providing emergency catering to distressed persons suffering from both manmade and natural disasters throughout the world. They are on the ground providing support surrounding the war in Ukraine, the catastrophic floods in Pakistan and Kentucky, and mass casualty events here in the United States. The WCK Chef Corps will be presenting via Zoom a session on what they do, and how the LCA and its members could assist and participate.


10:45 AM–11:00 AM Break


11:00 AM - 11:45 AM - Presidential 1

(ALL) Keynote Speaker – Karen Forgus, Cincinnati Reds

Karen Forgus is a native Cincinnatian and lifelong Reds fan who is in her 16th season with the organization. In her current role as Senior Vice President of Business Operations. Karen oversees all revenue including ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, and oversees community relations, marketing, communications, broadcasting, in-game entertainment and productions, consumer clubs, public relations, and promotional events. Karen leads the Reds Way customer service model used in-park by Reds employees and Reds partners. And she directs social and digital media strategy.


Many caterers participate in the sports and entertainment economy and depend on those sectors for some of their highest profile catering opportunities. Karen will be discussing how the Cincinnati Reds survived the COVID pandemic,  and the subsequent changes in consumer behavior post-pandemic. 



11:45 PM–12:45 PM – Fountain Room, 2nd Floor

Buffet Lunch – Meet the New Members (ALL)


12:00 PM–4:30 PM                            

(CIG) Chef’s Tour – Peter McCaffrey


Stop 1 –33 East Court St. Cincinnati OH 45202


Avril Bleh Meats

For over 125 years Avril-Bleh & Sons have been creating fresh sausage products. They offer over 30 different types of hot dogs, mettwursts and sausages, using premium cuts with no additives or fillers. Many of the finest restaurants in Cincinnati use Avril products – customers choose Avril-Bleh because of the quality and the fact that their products are made right here in Cincinnati. This tour will include live demonstrations preparing their prestigious sausage products, and tasting opportunities.


Stop 2 – Findlay Market


Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices

Colonel De, a Kentucky Colonel and local culinarian, pitched an idea for a cooking show to a Northern Kentucky cable channel. His idea was to show how spices and herbs could change the flavors of everyday foods. The show was a success and people wanted to know where they could buy the spices, herbs, and blends they saw on the show. Having started with less than 100 items, the store now offers over 500 culinary, herbs, spices, and custom blends, and two more stores have been opened. This stop will include a discussion of how their products are developed.


Sen by Kiki

Sen by Kiki is a small Japanese influenced fish and seafood butcher shop focused on sustainably and responsibly caught seafood. Sen, meaning “fresh” in Japanese, also carries a selection of sashimi-grade seafood and a variety of oysters that can be enjoyed onsite at the oyster bar which is a first of its kind inside the Market House.  Chef Hideki enjoys bringing in his own twist of flavors inspired by his life growing up as an American, and his mission is to serve what he likes to eat.


The Rhined, Findlay Market

The Rhined is a specialty cut-to-order cheese shop located in a historic building in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. The Rhined specializes in domestic, artisanal cheese and also offers many regional selections. Sit at the counter of our intimate, tiny shop and enjoy cheese flights, and talking cheese with our educated cheese mongers.


Other Stops To be Determined



1:00 PM–2:00 PM - Presidential 1    

(PNG) Catering Industry Mergers & Acquisitions

Bill Hansen, Bill Hansen Catering; Art Fortuna, VT Group, Carl Sacks

Bill Hansen has successfully grown his Miami based catering business through both organic growth and acquisitions of a diverse set of events and catering businesses. Art Fortuna is the principal owner of Vibrant Table/The VT Group in Portland OR, and has also made competitor acquisitions. They will compare and contrast their experiences and their strategies for creating a win-win transaction in catering M&A. Carl Sacks will provide other M&A resources and examples of specific transactions.


(SEG) How Marketing Works with the Sales Team – Presidential 2+3

Rachael Volz, A Fare Extraordinaire

Rachael started as a receptionist in 2005, quickly learning the ropes and eventually becoming the sole owner in 2015. “We are a party of perfectionists, a coterie of creativity, and a formation of flexibility. We thrive on making genuine connections. We are absolutely obsessed with the details.” Topics to be covered include how event marketing works within the sales team, floral design and graphic design, menu design and unique catering presentations, sales team motivation and compensation.


(MOG) Employee Engagement  - Taft

Anthony Lambatos

With the labor market continuing to be incredibly tight, companies must find ways to both attract new team members AND retain their current employees. Employee engagement is a key element that reduces turnover and improves team morale, both which lead to increased productivity. Going beyond pay and benefits, we will discuss what companies are doing to keep engagement high and how they infuse purpose into the work of their team members. We will also discuss various communication systems within member organizations.


2:00 PM–3:00 PM - Presidential 1

(PNG) Employee Accountability & Company Liability

Robin Selden, Marcia Selden Catering; Marcy Telfer, Chef by Design; Suzi Shands, Mintahoe Catering; Reuben Bell, Blue Elephant Catering

From carelessly packed (and subsequently broken) equipment to parking tickets to thousands of dollars in insurance claims—at what point do we begin holding employees accountable for careless on-the-job behavior? Panelists will discuss situations and then open up to the class for discussion. Let’s discuss different policies and procedures LCA members have in place, tactics that have been taken, and/or proactive solutions that have (or should have) been implemented. 


(SEG) Inside Blue Plate Chicago’s Sales Team - Presidential 2+3

Dan Joseph, Blue Plate Chicago

Dan provides vision and leadership in developing and implementing Blue Plate’s operational and sales initiatives for all aspects of Blue Plate, increasing revenues, cost efficiencies, strengthening financial reporting controls and company-wide communications. Dan explains the BPC sales structure, including Compensation, Goals, Accountability, Leads, Challenges.


(MOG) Job Descriptions Exchange and Review - Taft

Anthony Lambatos

During this session we will share a variety of Job Descriptions for common positions within LCA companies. This will provide insight into formatting, presentation and content of these valuable documents that set the tone for what is expected of an employee. We will also discuss the nuances of how to determine what responsibilities should fall under which positions.


3:00 PM – 3:15 PM Break


3:15 PM–5:00 PM                              

(ALL) Findlay Market Walking Tour – Off Site

Findlay Market is Ohio's oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati's most cherished institutions, welcoming more than one million visitors each year. Located just blocks from downtown in Over-the-Rhine, a dense historic neighborhood rich in 19th century architecture, Findlay Market remains the bustling center of farm fresh, locally sourced, artisanal and specialty foods and is home to more than 50 full-time merchants selling meat, fish, poultry, produce, flowers, cheese, deli, ethnic foods, and more. LCA members will get a chance to stretch their legs in the afternoon and either walk or trolley to the market.


Woman Owner’s Group – Presidential 2+3

Kelly Early, Thomas Caterers of Distinction; Suzi Shands, Mintahoe Catering

1st hour: Women owners only, please

2nd hour: Open to all who want to learn more about women owner’s issues in the workplace



5:00 PM–6:00 PM                  

Break – On Own


6:15 PM                                             

Transport to Evening Party at The View


6:30 PM–10:00 PM                            

Evening Party at The View - The Art of the Palette

1071 Celestial St  Cincinnati, OH  45202


Another Funky’s exclusive venue, The View is located at the edge of Mt. Adams, Cincinnati’s highest elevation. Like Rome, Cincinnati is built on seven hills, with Mt. Adams being the most prominent immediately overlooking downtown, and only minutes from our hotel.


The View features some of the best Cincinnati “Cityscape” perspectives. The Ohio River, historical landmarks and neighborhoods, stadiums, miles of beautiful parks and downtown architecture highlight the views from this hot spot—hence the name. The View offers one of Cincinnati’s premier settings for weddings, corporate gatherings, and nonprofit and special events. The Venue Report named it one of the “Hottest New Venue Openings Across the Globe.”


Tuesday night will consist of a special night of light immersion, Cincinnati history and fabulous food. The evening will start with cocktails and appetizers while taking in the panoramic view of the city, and then move into the ballroom space for an upscale plated dinner.


9:30 PM                                             

Return to Westin Cincinnati – Last Bus Leaves at 10:00 PM



Wednesday, November 16


8:00 AM–9:00 AM                             



9:00 AM–9:45 AM

(ALL) Is Corporate Catering Coming Back? - Presidential 1

Carl Sacks, Jeff Ware – Catering by Michael’s

The recovery in corporate catering, both event related and daytime delivery catering, has lagged the rest of the various catering sectors. During this session we will ask everyone with an interest in corporate catering to provide us with their insight: what types of corporate businesses are returning, and how has this market changed in the post-Covid era?


9:45 AM–10:45 AM                           

(PNG, SEG) Proposal Show and Tell  - Presidential 1

Chris Sanchez, LUX Catering

For the full-service caterers in the LCA, the event proposal is and always has been the initial touchpoint in the clients’ decision-making process. Since every touchpoint must reflect, reinforce, and reiterate the company’s core brand strategy, a sampling of proposals from both LCA members as well as caterers from outside the LCA will show how this is being done around the industry.


(MOG) Dealing with the Supply Chain Challenges – Presidential 2+3

Anthony Lambatos

The pandemic disrupted our ability to get product on demand.  With supply chain issues, caterers have been forced to deal with a new set of challenges.  During this session we will discuss the biggest pain points and the solutions that have caterers have come up with.  We will dive into the ability to pass higher costs along to customers, substitutions for unavailable products, inventory strategies and managing expectations of both customers, and fellow team members.


9:45 AM – 11:30 AM  Transept Kitchen

(CIG) Chef’s Demo

Peter McCaffrey & Chef Brad Bernstein Demonstration and Tasting at the Transept


Prominent Cincinnati area chef/restaurateur (and former catering industry executive chef) Brad Bernstein will be presenting a professional cooking demonstration, assisted by LCA Culinary Director Peter McCaffrey. CIA graduate Chef Brad has developed several successful food concepts. These have included the popular Red Feather Kitchen Restaurant and most recently an innovative “grocerant”, a combination grocery store and restaurant.


Brad will be preparing Baby Carrot Soup Indian Style, with Carrot Top “Pesto”, Preserved Lemon, Golden Raisins, Toasted Almonds and Panch Phoron Spice Mix.



10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Break


11:00 AM–12:00 PM – Presidential 1           

(PNG, SEG) What Differentiates Your Company from All of the Other Caterers: How to Build a Moat

Around Your Business

Jeffrey Selden, Marcia Selden Catering; David Porto, Blue Plate Madison  

The LCA is comprised of many of the most successful caterers in all of North America. Since the barriers to entry to catering are so low, each LCA member has found a way to differentiate their business from the mass of competitors. In this session, Jeffrey and David will discuss how they’ve achieved the goal of building a moat around their respective businesses. The session will include an open forum discussion and Q&A on this topic.


(MOG) Utilizing Technology - Tech Talk – Presidential 2+3

Anthony Lambatos; Jeff Ware (Catering By Michaels)

Technology can be a great tool to improve efficiencies within a catering business. It can be a struggle to keep up with what is available and how to use it to is highest capabilities. We will go beyond the common catering specific software platforms and talk about how various technology platforms are used within member companies and the integration of those tools. We will also discuss cyber security and what companies are doing to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.


12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Presidential 1

Lunch & Closing Session                    


1:15 PM–2:30 PM                              

LCASC Committee Meeting - Carl Sacks, Kathleen Stoehr




ALL – All Attendees

PNG – Principals Network Group

SEG – Sales Executive Group

CIG – Culinary Insight Group

MOG – Management Operations Group

LCASC – Steering Committee