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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7 Reviews for Lee John's Catering
Recommended by 100% of couples
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Melissa · Married on 09/06/2020
Amazing Food and Delicious Flavors
We met with Sarah and she was extremely helpful with answering our questions we had during our tasting. The food was amazing and we are excited to partner with them for our wedding.Sent on 11/24/2019
Hailey W. · Married on 08/29/2020
Delicious, memorable, great service
The food was exceptional and great service from the initial planning process to the final execution. Our guests still talk about and compliment the food - in particular the mushroom ravioli as a unique and delicious side. We went through with our 2020 wedding knowing it wouldn't look like we initially pictured, but Lee John's came through and helped make our day memorable and special. They were flexible to the times and let us do our tasting via takeout. We are so glad we went with Lee John's!Sent on 09/01/2020
Kristen · Married on 09/21/2019
Foodie Fiesta of Flavor
Where do I begin... when my fiance and I started planning our wedding, food was a huge huge huge priority. We didn't want the traditional steak - potato - vegetable. Both of us are really into quality, unique cuisine and we wanted that for our wedding.
When it came time to do tastings, we met with three caterers. We gave them the task of coming up with a Tex-Mex / Fiesta themed dinner for our guests that included gluten-free, dairy-free, and plenty of vegetarian options. First tasting was terrible, second was really good but didn't deliver what we asked, and then we met with Lee John's.
First, Sarah was very responsive and great to work with. At our tasting, they literally knocked it out of the park. We left our tasting with our exact menu because they nailed our vision right on the head. Plus, the whole kitchen team was phenomenal - not to mention Chef Louie!
-Apps: Flank steak skewers with chimichurri, Chorizo Phyllo purses, Endives with chipotle cream, and tomatoes + balsamic
-Bread: Pizza Focaccia and Chili Cheese Cornbread (AMAZING)
-Salad: Jicama + Chayote Salad (DELICIOUS)
-Entrees: Beef tenderloin (perfect) with a serrano hollandaise or a poblano queso; Mixed Grill skewers with Shrimp and Chicken; pan-fried sweet corn cakes with roasted red pepper sauce; grilled vegetable skewers; spanish rice & black beans
-Dessert: Peanut Butter Chocolate Parfaits (Lee Johns), Chocolate Covered Strawberries (Lee Johns), then Tres Leches & Churros from an outside bakery
-Late Night: Nacho bar (salsa was so so so good)
We are still getting comments from the guests about how amazing the food and service was. They definitely did not go hungry!
If you want a wedding menu that is slightly out-of-the box, I definitely recommend Lee John's. They are able to take your vision and turn it into reality plus more.Sent on 10/03/2019