Louis Danegelis was born and raised in a Greek family in Chicago. He started working at a young age in his Dad’s restaurant with his 2 brothers on Commission Row, which served home cooking and Greek specialties to the local truck drivers.He Left Chicago in the early 50’s for cooking school in Madison and then Milwaukee Area Tech School. Local relatives named him “Windy,” because he was from the windy city of Chicago. After formal training, jobs took Louie all over the Milwaukee Metro area, as far north as Elkhart Lake. He was employed at Brynwood and Merrill Hills Country Clubs, Fluer de les, Milwaukee Country Club, and Gimbels Catering among others. Fondest memories were working with such prestigious chefs as Ottomar Perisies at the Milwaukee Athletic Club and Adolph at the University Club. Louie always gets a laugh when telling how Ottomar used to hide his beers in the large stock pot in the refrigerator, and how as a young second cook, threw out all his vegetables because it was not fine enough of a dice, and made him start over again. Louie’s goal was to work with as many European trained chefs as possible. Many times he was the only apprentice in the kitchen with all journeyman arriving early and staying late. He had a thirst for knowledge that continues today. During this time, Louie joined the C.C.C.C. club and by the early 1970’s helped to start the Milwaukee ACF chapter, serving as Vice President.By 1972, Louie was a well rounded Chef and took a Chef Instructor position at WCTC, as well as worked as a Maitre’D and tableside Chef at the Red Circle Inn. The years at WCTC proved to be enriching for Louie as well as his students. Teaching came easy and the students were always challenged and inspired as they saw “Mr. D’s” passion.By 1986, Louie remarried and he and his new wife Lisa started a catering business, Lee Johns Catering. As the business and their family grew, he decided to retire from teaching after 20 years and cater full time. His thirst for knowledge continued as he developed a style infusing the standards of quality of old world cooking with today’s food trends and ethnic flair. Furthering education have included cooking schools and tours in Paris, cooking classes with Julia Child, Italian Chef Bugialli and Jacque Pepin as well as pastry and chocolate classes. Most recently he has taken Indian cooking classes. In 1991, Louie achieved one of his goals of becoming a certified Chef Educator and a certified Executive Chef. Currently, Lee Johns Catering is thriving, serving an elite clientele. Homemade stocks, sauces, salad dressings, chutneys, breads and pastries are common place in Louie’s kitchen, whether he is cooking for 10 or 1,000. It is not surprising to find Louie experimenting in his kitchen with the likes of homemade Nan, ginger ale, Vietnamese street food, spice blends and freshly made cheese. A little stint between 1995 and 1997 found Louie and Lisa checking out the restaurant business by opening “Louie’s” with the slogan “Its the spices man.” Though short lived, it was a great experience and a character builder for sure! Very often you will find one of Louie’s five children helping out at the party sites or in the prep kitchen. Louie said it is a “family affair” and a great way to spend time with the kids teaching them values, leadership and work ethics, not to mention just having fun. In addition to his five young children ages 8 to 16, Louie has three adult children and 8 grandchildren. Cooking and family are his passions, and who knows where that thirst for knowledge will take him next!
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Recommended by 100% of couples
Mikaela · Married on 08/23/2019
10/10 recommend Lee Johns for your wedding!! First of all, do not skip a tasting with them. We did our tasting in November (2018) and we were treated like royalty. You get a full meal at your tasting, and we even got to try a bunch of their mini pastries as a treat! The people at Lee Johns are a total sell, but the food is also incredible. We knew hands down after our tasting that we wanted to use them for our wedding. We also used their bar-tending service which was really convenient! On the day of our wedding they were professional, timely, and the food was great. We ended up doing extra pastries in addition to our wedding cake and we did a late night station with them too. We had a ton of leftovers and they made sure to pack them up and put them in the fridge at our venue so we could pick them up the next day. I truly cannot imagine a better catering service - if you are located in Southeast WI, go with Lee Johns. You will not regret it!Sent on 09/03/2019
Brittany · Married on 09/29/2018
Seriously, where to begin!? Lee John Catering catered our wedding at the River Bend Nature Center in Racine, WI on September 29, 2018. Five+ stars across the board.Sent on 10/04/2018
Our contact at LJC was Sarah H. Super professional, kind, and great to work with. Communication could have not gone any more smoothly. Give that woman a raise!
We felt like we without a doubt had an incredible value for what we paid. The catering staff was awesome! Each staff at the venue was professional, fun, and took care of us. I looked across the venue late in the evening and saw the dancing along with us! Talk about awesome.
The food was outstanding. Our goal was good, wholesome midwest comfort food and they nailed it. All of our guests song it's praise. My brother, sister-in-law, and cousin are vegan, and they even whipped up special plates for them. All of our vegans were SO pleased with their meals and said the would order the dishes in a restaurant.
Other perks that added value: our tasting was free of cost, china, silverware, and glassware was no cost, LJC brought votives with candles for us to use at no cost. No cake cutting fee and they plated kringle for our guests for a late night sweet snack also at no cost.
Sarah and the team at LJC, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You were amazing and made our day SO special.
User4151242 · 2+ years ago
What a high level of service and expertise. The food is incrediable and so is the staff. From the first course we had at our tasting we knew that Lee John was the catering company for us.Sent on 01/26/2016