Meet Our Team: Event Manager Philippe Berger

phiAnyone calling the offices of Catering Connection is sure to have an international experience with the various voices answering the phones. From Irish-born and raised Founder/CEO Ursula O’Neill to Events Manager, Philippe Berger, born and raised in France.  Catering Connection clients experience the best of world class service and menus when working with the diverse team at Catering Connection.

Few understand the demanding role of an Events Manager in the food and beverage world, but when it comes to an award-winning boutique full service caterer, the role of Events Manager becomes even more diverse, complex and takes on even more duties.  From helping guests with their menus, coordinating rentals, decor, staff, generating proposals for clients and clients-to-be, site visits to assisting with marketing efforts, sales, administrative duties, customer service , deliveries and much more, Events Manager Philippe Berger does all this (and more) with grace and aplomb.

Born in Grenoble France, Philippe graduated from the Hotel Lesdiguier (Hotel and Restaurant School) at the age of 18 with a B.E.P and C.A.P. in Classic Cuisine, after which he immediately started work cooking in a restaurant.  Throughout the years, his work took him to jobs with the ACCOR hotel chain (Ibis, Novotel, Sofitel), which allowed him to travel the world. In between all his travels, Philippe  enjoyed a stint in the French Air Force as the personal chef of General Forget, Commander of the French Air Force as well as working his way to Executive Chef in Tahiti for Hotel Ibis Kaveka Village on Cooks Bay.

Philippe decided to take a real leap when he moved to the United States and opened the Ibis Hotel in Macon, GA and later the Sofitel Hotel in Houston, TX.  When an opportunity presented itself to move to America’s Riviera, he accepted the offer to work at the historic and legendary Santa Barbara hotel, The El Encanto, where he started as their Executive Chef and then served as their Events and Catering Manager.

What does Philippe like about being a part of the Catering Connection team? “It allows me total creativity with each and every event, from building menus, creating service style, design, decor and so much more,” he says.  “With Ursula leading the company, we keep building a great reputation with constant compliments from our guests which results in repeat business and a dedicated clientele for whom I love working.”  Philippe serves as a Board Member for ISES (International Special Event Specialists) Ventura Chapter and is also a member of NACE (National Association of Catering Executives).  Philippe said his passion with food is what keeps him loving his work every single day.  “And in Santa Barbara, there is never a shortage of local, fresh, healthy food- from produce like avocados , citruses and seafood such as Santa Barbara Spot Prawns and Abalone to farm raised beef and more,” he says.

A resident of Ojai, Philippe loves cooking for friends and family in his spare time is also an avid cyclist.