Our Staff

John Merrill, General Manager

John Merrill Food in Bloom General Manager From the age of sixteen, John was drawn to the energy of the food and beverage world. He began his career on the Las Vegas Strip, working his way up through every position in restaurants and rubbing shoulders with some of the most famous chefs in the country. After graduating from UNLV with a degree in Hospitality and Business Management, John quickly found himself traveling the country, consulting and opening new venues with a variety of cuisines. Settling back home, he took over the reins as the Catering and Operations Manager for all of the Wolfgang Puck restaurants and off-premise events in the Las Vegas area. He went on to become the General Manager for Steve Wynn’s new restaurant, Society. Inspired by the outstanding cuisine and fresh, organic products of the Northwest, John recently relocated to Portland with his wife Carrie, a Pastry Chef, to seek out the next chapter in their exciting careers.

Andrew Bergman, Executive Chef

Drew Bergman_Executive Chef Born in Boston, MA, Drew Bergman grew up mostly in Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia. After college in Minnesota, Drew returned to Philadelphia and worked for 3 years for Affordable Housing and Community Development non-profits, where he met his future wife, Kimberly. Drew and Kim moved to Portland in 2005 looking for new adventures, and Drew began cooking professionally. He joined Food in Bloom as Sous Chef in July of 2011 and became Executive Chef in 2014. Drew focuses on emphasizing quality seasonal ingredients and uncompromising attention to detail. He lives in North Portland with his wife and daughter.

Elizabeth Hardison, Marketing & Sales

2nd web photo.cropped Eliz Born into a family of travelers, Elizabeth grew up sampling the world’s cuisines, from China and Australia to Mississippi and Argentina. Eventually finishing up her formative years in Southern Oregon, Elizabeth took jobs in the food industry as soon as she was old enough: back of house, front of house and even running community gardens in between. Marketing and event planning is a job that taps into her prior experience in baking and managing bakeries (Pearl Bakery and Little T American Baker), handling marketing and product development for an organic beverage company, running sustainability programs, and even teaching, which she has a Masters in. She feels fortunate to work with some of the best chefs around and is happy to bring their cuisine to Portland tables.

Kris Kremers, Event Planner

Kris Kremers_Event Planner After coordinating her own birthday party at the age of 9 to include a scavenger hunt, hot dog eating contest and Barbie fashion show, Kris’ family knew that she was destined to be a party planner. Kris has been planning events for Food in Bloom since February of 2007, after relocating to Portland from San Francisco.As a former Marketing and Events Director of a popular San Francisco tourist destination, Kris brings extensive experience in event planning, marketing & public relations to the Food In Bloom team. In her spare time, she enjoys perusing antique stores, exploring the Oregon Coast, and cooking for her family and friends. With her dual passions for culinary and decorative arts, Kris puts her talents and enthusiasm for creative menu planning and décor to work for your special event.

Krystal Kelch, Event Planner

Krystal Kelch_Event Planner Being Italian and raised by a father who loved to cook, Krystal took an interest in fine cuisine from an early age. She often took the role of chef within her family particularly focusing on desserts and comfort foods. Her favorite memories are those of cooking with her family and exploring magazines like Bon Appetite. In 2005 Krystal put her love of food, events and detailed organization into practice by joining an elite catering company in Orange County, CA. She worked as a wedding coordinator there for 5 years, assisting with and executing numerous flawless events. Then in 2010, Krystal and her husband moved to Portland where Krystal immediately began coordinating and executing weddings, corporate socials and private events, joining the Food in Bloom team in late 2011. Her passion is to see stunning events executed flawlessly and works hard to ensure your vision for your special day comes to life.

Catherine Buford, Event Planner

Catherine Buford has been with Food in Bloom for over ten years and brings an extensive culinary background to her position. Catherine relocated to Portland after completing her degree at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. During her time in the Bay Area, she cooked with several top chefs in restaurants in both the Napa Valley and San Francisco. Her love for food began in the South, with family roots in Texas and Louisiana. Catherine has a passion for food and planning events that is shared with her clients, developing relationships that last many years.

Justin Saylor, Office Manager

jgs bio pic Justin has been involved in the Portland restaurant community since he relocated to Oregon in 2002. Originally from Northern Idaho and growing up on a dairy farm, Justin has been drawn to institutions that understand and utilize fresh, local, and ‘from-scratch’ concepts. Taking his foodie passion and combining his sales, marketing, and administrative skills, he’s had the opportunity to work for several of Portland’s most revered and unique restaurants. An avid long distance runner and yoga instructor, Justin brings high energy to the Food in Bloom office.

Colleen O’Neil, Staffing and Operations Manager

Colleen Onneil_Staffing Manager With a lifetime of experience in fine dining, catering and event production, Colleen works to insure the success of your event by coordinating our team of skilled professional servers and bartenders to serve your guests with grace and enthusiasm. Her behind the scenes efforts in coordinating various aspects of Food in Bloom’s events for the past decade, has helped to earn Food in Bloom the reputation as one of Portland’s most reliable and exceptional caterers. Downhill skiing, live theater and the blues are at the top of her favorite things list!

503.944.6820

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