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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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Delivery, Set Up, Clean Up, Cake Cutting, Server(s)
Delivery, Set Up, Clean Up
Breakfast / Brunch, Buffet, Cake Cutting, Cocktail Reception, Dessert, Family Style, French Service, Hors d'oeuvres, Lunch, Plated, Server(s), Stations, Tapas, Tastings
African, American, Asian, BBQ, British, Cajun, Caribbean, Chinese, Ethiopian, French, German, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin American, Local, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Russian, Sandwiches, Seafood, Southern, Southwestern, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese
Gluten Free, Lactose Free, No Pork, Kosher, Nut Free, Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian
Barware, China, Chocolate Fountain, Flatware, Glassware, Linens