it Takes a village

We are a team of talented chefs, creative designers, and skilled planners. Some may say that we get to party for a living, and while we love what we do so much that we sometimes might agree, the truth is that we take what we do very seriously. Our clients value us as much for our fine food and service as for the level of comfort they have in knowing that we treat each event like it is our very own. We make sure fun events are fun, solemn events are solemn, and special events are special. And, with each event, we take care of every detail, every time, allowing our clients to feel like a guest at their own event.

 

Jennifer earnest - owner

liz earnest - owner

Jennifer & Liz earnest

Liz and Jennifer Earnest have worked together for more than 10 years. Liz started The Chef’s Garden after Jennifer went off to college. Impressed by the business her mother built and eager to help grow the brand, Jennifer traded grad school for life lessons and fully immersed herself in The Chef’s Garden in 2005. Both believe that it is a part of our cultural DNA to meet, scheme, celebrate, and mourn over a meal and therefore know that food and drink are at the heart of creating vibrant gathering spaces.

Both are inspired by their clients and the opportunity to use The Chef’s Garden as a vehicle for community engagement and feel blessed to have built a team that not only shares in their vision, but that is committed to helping them grow it.

Today, the mother-daughter duo has expanded The Chef’s Garden’s capabilities to include both catering, events, and now restaurants. Their sister brands include CG Dinner Club, The Cummer Café, and The Candy Apple Café & Cocktails.

jamey evoniuk:

Executive chef/owner

Jamey’s love of cooking started as a young child in the kitchen with his grandmother. He went to college on a tennis scholarship and ended up studying business and finance at the University of Florida. However, like most good career paths, his ambition led him down a new road. At the age of 24, he started cooking professionally. His impressive resume includes time spent working under some of the biggest names in the restaurant world, like Louis Chatham of Commander’s Palace, and being the Executive Chef of the Four Star and Four Diamond award winning restaurant Manuel’s on 28th. But Jamey’s humble passion for cooking and creating food that people remember is what makes him so lovable. He is now the Executive Chef of The Chef’s Garden Catering and Events, as well as its associated brands: The Candy Apple Café & Cocktails, The CG Dinner Club, and the Cummer Café. Jamey has created a loyal following of hungry fans that adore his approach to food. When he is not cooking in one of our kitchens, he is busy with his wife, Jen, two girls, Charlee and Catye and new baby boy Kennedy.

Chris Irvin:

Executive Catering Chef

Chris started washing dishes at an Italian restaurant at 15, to save some money to buy a car.  Little did he know, he would discover his passion for food and hospitality working these jobs.  After college, he decided to make a career out of food and enrolled in culinary school.  He is now the Executive Catering Chef at The Chef’s Garden and is a creative collaborator for the company.  His food philosophy has always been about simple foods with big flavors and he has an innate ability to take sophisticated flavors and make them approachable. While his career has afforded him the opportunity to cook for United States Presidents, International Dignitaries, and numerous celebrities, his passion lies in delivering extraordinary food to everyday people.  He loves food, gardening, travel, and spending time with his wife Tiffany, their two pups and four cats.

Elizabeth head shot.jpeg

elizabeth Van Nuys: 

Catering & Events Director

Elizabeth is a veteran of the catering and event business with over 3 decades in Hospitality. She earned a degree from West Chester University in Liberal Arts with a Minor in Graphic Arts and has always had an eye for the creative and a “sixth sense”, if you will, for client’s needs and a pulse on future trends. She believes guests take their first bite with their eyes, so not only is the taste of the food important, but the look of it is paramount.Her decades of experience have allowed her to plan events for a long list of VIPS, including: The NFL, John Travolta, Playboy, Coors Brewing Company, Southwest Airlines, MCCI Group, President George W. Bush, American Cancer Society, Fox Sports, University of Florida and more. While her design background led her in a direction she never anticipated, she wouldn’t have it any other way. When Elizabeth is not working with clients, she enjoys crafting, spending time with her son and daughter, eating out and trying new foods and is an avid reader of cookbooks and food magazines.