Our company began as a “personal chef service” to members of the Orlando Magic Basketball team of the late 90’s. Our founder, Alfred Mann, was a part of the culinary TASK team at Walt Disney World for many years prior to becoming the personal chef for Penny Hardaway in the late ’90s. Through that experience, Mann had the opportunity to meet many local and international celebrities. Penny’s home at the time was located on the 9th hole of the Isleworth Golf & Country Club where everyone from John Smoltz, Jaleel “Urkel” White, Shaquille O’Neal, Tyra Banks, even Tiger Woods, and many others who would stop by for lunch or dinner parties. Through these contacts, Mann was able to build a solid celebrity chef status among the local A-list community. Based on the repeat client referrals, we took the hint and launched Elite Catering & Events, LLC to bring the same V.I.P. service to you.
ABOUT THE CHEF & FOUNDER
Alfred L. Mann was born in Bradenton, Florida. He grew up enjoying his Grandmother Naomi’s soul food and stories of her life experience. Alfred moved to the Orlando/Kissimmee, Florida area at a young age. Alfred has traveled around the country to enhance his passion for people, fine arts, fashion, food, music and wine. Alfred Mann’s culinary arts journey began at age 13 at a small Italian restaurant called, The Maynard in Kissimmee, Florida as a utility cook where he learned to make sauces and fresh pasta from scratch. Alfred Mann later joined Walt Disney World in the early ’90s and became a member of the Culinary TASK team at resorts and specialty restaurants. Alfred Mann made an exit from Disney to become the personal Chef for Penny Hardaway and many other Orlando Magic players of the late ’90s. Mann’s journey has also included time with Johnny Rivers, Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse, Bernard Carmouche and many more. One of Mann’s most inspirational chefs is still Patrick Clark, Mann’s greatest mentor was Larry Leckhart. In 1999, Alfred Mann joined the Emeril Lagasse team as Saucier and Specialty Chef at Emeril’s Orlando in Orlando, Florida upon opening the restaurant. Emeril’s Orlando was rated best restaurant in Orlando at the time. Alfred Mann states everything was made from scratch from the bacon to tasso to capicola, and yes, even the worcestershire sauce; gallons and gallons of it. It was really an amazing time for the City of Orlando and the hospitality industry. In 2001, Alfred Mann won the Student Chef of the Year award from the American Culinary Federation in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand. In 2002, Mann went on to become Corporate Executive Chef for J.R. International Enterprises, Inc. overseeing a major 2-year project involving 2 markets: Orlando, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee. Alfred Mann always had a desire to join the Darden Restaurants management team and in 2004, his contracted project came to an end affording him the opportunity to join Darden Restaurants with their Olive Garden brand in Atlanta, Georgia and Orlando, Florida as operations culinary service and sales manager. During his time with Darden, the company produced record industry numbers. He stayed with Darden until 2008 when he made an exit to start his own business, Venture, and invest in real estate. Well, we all know how that went; the U.S. economy crashed hard and froze Wall Street to Main Street. Determined to make great food, in 2009, Alfred Mann went on to secure a position as Saucier and Specialty Chef at Christini’s Italian Restaurant located in Orlando, Florida recruited by Mr. Christini himself. The restaurant received an excellent rating in 2010, “Christini’s Restorante Still Impresses,” and we quote, “The Pollo al Marsala ($$$) was the surprise: The earthy wine sauce was reduced to the consistency of syrup and elevated the chicken and sautéed mushrooms to another level.” With this review, Mann became one of the highest paid sauciers in the country and was responsible for preparing many of the signature high-ticket grilled and sautéed dishes such as Chicken Marsala, Veal Marsala, veal chops, steaks and more. Mann eventually was promoted to the title of Executive Chef at Christini’s Italian Restaurant. In 2012, Alfred Mann went on to officially launch his own company, Elite Catering & Events, LLC.