DCF: So Who Are You?
Charese John, Revive Events & Catering, Co-Owner/Creative Director- Charese John is more than a “chef” and way beyond the title of “designer.” John is a creative force with plenty of innovation, vision, and talent. She can see the horizon and she knows how to build it. John has roots in the soil of Corporate Hospitality via Fortune 500 companies like Safeway and Dean & Deluca. Those roots grew stronger as co-owner of Revive Events & Catering, a boutique catering business in Washington, DC. In just the past six years, John and her team have designed more than 3,000 events including private dinners, corporate receptions, and weddings with 1,000+ guests.
Above ground, Charese has also learned to own the sky—and knows no limits. While studying with celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, John mastered the art of international cuisine with a flair. Throughout this time she was gaining a deep understanding of the wants and the needs of the entire dining experience: the internal requirements of the host, the guests’ palettes, and the external environment to hold and enhance it all.
DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
CJ: When entertaining is your life-style… It does not feel like work at all! I love celebrating all of life’s special occasions! Its such a wonderful opportunity to meet people when they are celebrating the best times of their life’s! That makes my work “Funemployment”
DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
CJ: I consider Marcus Samuelsson to be my most important role model as I have had many over the years. My first professional cooking experience came from his kitchen as he emphasized the importance of greatness in the details. Cooking daily in a 3 star fine dining restaurant, no detail ever went over looked! I still hear his words in my head over 15 year later. I believe it’s were my intensity for greatness was birth and nurtured.
DCF: What’s your happy place?
CJ: My happy place comes from with-in. When I am able to create, design & deliver a great experience with ease for my clients it confirms that this is what I am here to do! The joy I have is transferred to the work and the people I get an opportunity to meet!
DCF: Where do you get your energy?
CJ: My energy comes from the desire to always provide an exceptional experience. Food & Design is always evolving and I love to stay on top to trends and industry movements! You must move to grow… Movement is my energy!
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
CJ: When I look at my children, I am reminded of what my #1 job is! However, when your work is your lifestyle it carries over to the family and it was important to me to build my business around them! My boys get a front row seat to see how the magic happens and they love it! (sometimes lol). My baby boy age 7 is a foodie and my oldest son age 15 has a pallet for finer things in life because they have been apart of the journey!
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
CJ: My biggest sacrifice has been financial resources! In my first 2 two years, it was very important to me to insure that we always presented each event with a luxurious feel even if the budget didn’t allow. We wanted our work to speak for itself… and now it does! I am glad we never compromised that goal.
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
CJ: I have not found that the Catering industry is woman driven these days… So instead of struggles I have found strength watching woman become very successful!
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
CJ: I would tell my younger self not to complain as much! I was told very early on that I would have to be better and work harder just to be in the room. There were very few woman chefs 18 years ago when I first starting cooking & entertaining for a living. It is a lot easier today but I am grateful for my road… IT made me who I am!
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
CJ: I have been extremely blessed to not have an extreme failure but I have had many disappointments. The greatest of them all was the naive expectation that I would be able to start a luxury catering service in the Urban area of NE Washington DC without a big Brand behind me. I had to start over from scratch and by showing each new client what we were able to do. We did not look the part at the time but stayed true to what we knew.
DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
CJ: My proudest moment to date was when we received a call to host the first visit of the new Nigerian President to the United States. This event was extremely challenging because we only had 2 days to put together and ensure the Ebony Life TV network that we were capable of executing such a prestigious event and had knowledge to do so. It was such an honor to work at the Nigerian embassy as the first Non-Nigerian caterer to host the president. #greatevents
DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?
CJ: I am super excited to be working on our First book (Fabulous Entertaining – all year long).
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