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.

Paul Bosch, Executive Chef

bosch Executive Chef Paul Bosch is accessible, humble, direct and authentic. His approach parallels Food In Bloom’s simple, fresh and authentic style. Originally from the Midwest, he completed his degree in Hotel Restaurant Administration at Southern Illinois University. Growing up he would help his parents in their garden, utilizing every fruit and vegetable in every dish he created. Paul continued his path into  culinary territory and received his A.O.S. Degree in Culinary Arts in New York at the Culinary Institute of America before heading westward to Colorado, Washington and finally Oregon. He has left his creative footprint at Skamania Lodge, Resort at the Mountain, and most recently the Oregon Zoo. Chef Paul joined Food in Bloom in November 2014. Paul is a proud member of the James Beard Foundation, Alpha Zeta, National Sommelier Society, Epicures of Wine, Chefs Collaborative and Portland’s always growing and influential food scene. Paul’s inspirations are his wife, children and parent’s continued support, as well Portland’s culinary community. “The sense of comradery among the chefs and their passion for supporting farm to table and sustainability in Portland while still having the ability to tie in their culture and doing it successfully is amazing.”

Caitlin Pihl, Marketing & PR

Annessa Hartman, Event Planner

annessa headshot final As a little girl Annessa always found interest in planning events. Often she could be found making dinner menus for her pretend restaurant and coordinating talent shows for her friends. While planning her high school prom, she discovered that she could make a career out of her passion! After high school she immediately enrolled in the hospitality program at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles. There she explored her passion for fine dining and exceptional service. After graduating she began working at a prestigious Los Angeles catering company, Patina Restaurant Group. During her tenure at Patina, she planned and executed events at some of Los Angeles’ most celebrated venues, including The LA Music Center and Hollywood Bowl. Annessa’s next venture took place in Long Beach, CA at the Aquarium of the Pacific.She then became a mother, gained experience in the hotel industry, became a mother for the second time, and led the sales department for Maverick’s Catering. Recently, she and her husband picked up the family and said ‘good bye’ to California and ‘hello’ to Portland, OR to pursue new and exciting opportunities. Annessa’s passion for local organic foods, live music, macaroons and farmers markets, make Portland a perfect fit for her and her family; epitomizing her favorite inspirational quote by Bob Marley, “ “Love the life you live, live the life you love.”

Mary Clare Adame, Event Planner

 mary clare headshot final Mary Clare thrives on organization and details. Raised in Bend, Oregon, her father was a pilot and she garnered world experience and travel, seeing different parts of the United States from Chicago to Florida, to Colorado and Oregon, and internationally from Beijing to London. Mary Clare initially wanted to be a teacher, but wasn’t a huge fan of the teaching part; rather the planning and preparing aspect.During her post-secondary education at Oregon State University, Mary Clare realized her passion for planning parties and events, but gained the lucrative experience in sales and administration to equip her with a full set of skills in the event planning industry. After she completed her BS in Merchandising and Interior Design, Mary Clare began her tenure at one of the largest law firms in Portland, utilizing her love of planning. She accrued her experience in the event planning and catering world quickly, managing the calendars of 25 conference rooms and coordinating event services for groups of various sizes.She joined Food in Bloom in the summer of 2014 and she seamlessly executes large scale galas, intricate auctions and detailed weddings. At a quick glance on her vision board, you’ll see inspiration drawn from Kate Middleton, pictures of her fostered St. Bernards and a very confidently written “Go Beavers!” Of course, the vision board, much like Mary Clare herself, is detailed, organized, and perfectly level.

Justin Saylor, Office Manager, Marketing Assistant & Venue Representative at Montgomery Park

justin headshot final 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.

Stephanie Crawford, Operations Manager

Stephanie Head Shot Stephanie is a stickler for detail and the fine points of hospitality. She brings to bear her twenty years of hospitality experience and degree in Art Appreciation to address and overcome all of the logistical and aesthetic challenges every event faces. She led the service staff at A La Carte Event Pavilion, Tampa Bay, Florida’s premier catering company. She managed the events facility and helped contribute to record sales and revenue during her tenure. She managed a variety of events and they were as diverse as: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl ring ceremony, the Patel families’ 800 hundred person two-day traditional Indian wedding celebration, the retirement party for CentCom commander General Tommy Franks retirement party to the Debartolo Family Foundations 1200 person five-course plated fundraising dinner.She and her husband moved to Portland and pursue their passion for local and organic food and sustainable practices. She has spent the last six years honing her hospitality skills and developing her knowledge of local and sustainable practices, as the Catering Director of Artemis Foods. Always looking to take on new and greater challenges, we’re excited to have Stephanie on our team.

Kyle Kornegay, Venue Representative at Exchange Ballroom

Kyle was born abroad in Germany, then his family relocated to Portland when he was 6 and he’s been here ever since. Kyle did not grow up in a household of people that were daring food enthusiasts, so during his adolescent years, he explored Portland and discovered the abundant food options that the city has to offer. He began to cultivate his palette and hasn’t looked back! After graduating from high school and attending classes at Portland Community College, he started working for Salvador Molly’s Catering as a Server, which grew into Vibrant Table Catering & Events. Within six months, he was promoted to Event Manager and started running large scale and detailed events. Over the years, Kyle has dabbled in various roles within the company and ultimately found his niche in executing flawless events.Kyle has watched VT Group grow and thrive as a company. He enjoys the quality of the food each company delivers, the dedication of the staff and the creativity everyone brings to the table. Kyle took on the fast paced role of Venue Sales Representative for VT Group’s fourth exclusive venue, the Exchange Ballroom & Cascade Rooftop, this past January. He enjoys being able to work with Food in Bloom Catering , Vibrant Table Catering & Events and f&b cafe and catering. He also likes the atmosphere of the Eastside Exchange building, which includes some of Portland’s most diverse and design oriented companies.

Anna Schwartz, Venue Representative at Lan Su Chinese Garden

 anna headshot final Anna has over a decade of experience in hospitality. She has a passion for customer service and building relationships. While living in Las Vegas she worked for MGM Resorts, Station Casinos, and before relocating to Oregon she worked at Steve Wynn’s 5 star, 5 diamond resort, Encore. There she helped open up Wazuzu, helmed by celebrity chef Jet Tila, where she was a server for four and a half years. She built long lasting relationships with not only the staff, but also Wazuzu regulars. She also worked alongside Chef Jet at Bon Appétit events and Lucky Rice Festivals.With their love of food and their passion for the great outdoors, Anna and her husband Mike, recently moved to Portland. She started her new adventure at Food in Bloom Catering as a server. This past August she was promoted to VT Group’s Venue Representative for the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Her warm and enthusiastic personality has helped contribute to her success and client satisfaction.