Mike Bentz has enjoyed a successful career for over 23 years in the restaurant and hotel industry.
I have been a professional chef and manager for the last fifteen years. I also have a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University, Fort Wayne. My Major is Organizational Leadership and Supervision, with minor areas of study in Communications and Psychology. I started in the restaurant business at the age of fifteen, as a bus boy at Country Kitchen in Fort Wayne. I worked there for four years, and ended up dishing, cooking, and finally as kitchen manager for the last two years. From there I worked at Cracker-barrel restaurant as a grill and prep cook for three years as I put myself through college.
This is where I learned “southern” cooking, along with the feel of cooking in a high volume / high stress environment. I then became Sous-Chef at Mallory’s restaurant in Halls Guesthouse, and Kitchen Manager of the Guesthouse Grill. This is where I was introduced to fine dining, as well as banquet cooking. I ended three wonderful years there to become Executive Chef of the Holiday Inn, Fort Wayne.
I began perfecting my technique and skill with weddings and countless banquet catering.
Two years succeeding the Holiday Inn, I worked as Sous Chef, opening a brand new Oyster Bar restaurant, then as Executive Chef of Banana’s Steakhouse. This allowed me even more freedom to create and experiment, as well as develop and perfect my catering expertise. Next I worked as Kitchen Manager of the busiest Mexican restaurant in Ft. Wayne, Bandido’s. Five years of strict controls and paperwork sharpened my skills. I was also a Line Chef at Orchard Ridge Country Club.
I moved up to Exec Chef at Red River Marriot, Halls Guesthouse, and most recently opened Baker Street Steakhouse. It was there I put all my skills to use as Executive Chef, involved in every facet of operations management.
In 2002 my close friends badgered me into going into business for myself as a caterer D.B.A. Crackerjack Catering. I started this from scratch, and now enjoy a steady pace of weddings, corporate functions, lunches and breakfast meetings, and many other various parties.
Catering styles for meetings, celebrations, holiday theme buffets, ethnic foods and weddings. From simple occasions to New World cuisine, pushing the limits of culinary arts to fit your specialized, situational needs. Let us take the hassle out of planning and decorating your special event.
Custom packages available for any occasion. Wedding themes, back drops, linens and skirting, pipe and drape, trellis and ivy, chair covers and bows, centerpiece and table design, candles, scent, music, etc. all. Let us take charge of your special day!
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