Local Legacy: LaChef Catering
A lot of elements must work together seamlessly to create a memorable event, no matter the size. From venue and decor to the guest list and entertainment, there are quite a few moving pieces to juggle, but one of the biggest decisions is always: What will everyone eat? LaChef Catering makes it an easy choice. Through fresh menu items and professional service, it strives to make every wedding, private event and corporate function a success.
President and owner Jennifer Prost Gierhart always has understood the responsibility required to own a local business. She grew up watching her father run his company and says it influenced her work ethic and lifestyle. “I knew I wanted my own catering company,” she explains. “I loved the idea of the hospitality business. I’ve always enjoyed working with food, and I watched a lot of cooking shows when I was younger!”
Prost Gierhart received her degree in hospitality restaurant management from Missouri State University and worked in the private catering industry for more than a decade before realizing her childhood dream. She opened Hart Catering Company in 2016 and specialized in corporate events, but her mind was set on expanding. The opportunity came when the former owner of LaChef wanted to retire. “I bought LaChef and merged the two businesses,” Prost Gierhart says. “Hart Catering is still our corporate carry-out line.”
LaChef already was an established local caterer when Prost Gierhart took over, and she is mindful of its legacy. She considers herself a second-generation owner, carrying on the company’s proud tradition alongside vice president Melissa Sinamon, who has been with the company for three decades. “LaChef has been serving our community for 37 years,” Prost Gierhart says. “We’ve kept the same professional staff, including our executive chef, Mary Peura, who has been with the company for more than 15 years. I rely on her knowledge of the company and its recipes to run the kitchen.”
While clients can expect the same high-quality service and presentation, Prost Gierhart says she did bring some changes to LaChef, like introducing a new menu focus with ingredients sourced from local vendors. “The quality of food has always been high, and we still serve everything fresh out of the kitchen,” she notes. “There’s just a little more attention now on ingredients because of my background in nutrition.” That means the catering company can handle different dietary needs, including gluten-free and vegan diets.
“We stay up on the latest trends and offer a personalized experience,” Prost Gierhart says. She notes LaChef is known for its innovative, themed cocktail parties, and it takes a creative, unique approach to each dish. Also notable is the highly trained staff, many of whom have been with the company for years. “They are the most professional servers you could ask for,” she says. “That, combined with fresh, quality food, ensures that every event is on point.”
Prost Gierhart hopes LaChef continues to serve St. Louis for years to come. She jokes that she’s appointed her 4-month-old daughter as the future leader of the company. “I’m already trying to groom her as the third generation,” she says. “She’ll keep the LaChef name around for another 40 years!”
LaChef Catering specializes in events from 10 to 1,000 guests and has been serving St. Louis for more than 30 years. Pictured on the cover: President and owner Jennifer Prost Gierhart. For more information, call 314.647.5350 or visit lachef.com.
Cover design by Allie Bronsky
Cover photo by Bill Barrett
Pictured above: Jennifer Prost Gierhart.