The idea behind Jordan's Food of Distinction is so outright clever that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it first. Executive Chef Jordan Spritz, who had stints at Gordon, Le Francais and Charlie Trotter's under his belt before the ripe old age of 24, brought a whole new life to event planning in Chicago when he began his do-it-all catering company in 2003.
Spritz starts you off with an "interrogation session," holding your hand until you determine exactly what it is you want. His Wicker Park loft, with a high ceiling and a shared kitchen and dining area (so you can watch him cook), holds 35 to 40 people for a sit-down meal and up to 120 for a cocktail party. Trained in all styles of cooking, he can whip up seared West Coast sea scallops with baby asparagus tips and chile-scented fish fume for a formal event just as easily as he can make bagel dogs to accommodate the grandkiddies at a 50th anniversary dinner.
Besides preparing the food, Spritz and his team assist with everything from flowers to linens to music to booking hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. The staff double and triple checks all of the arrangements, which helps to quell those last-minute jitters. Jordan's Food of Distinction generally books events two to three months in advance, but if you want a small sit-down dinner a week from now and Spritz is free, he's more than up to the challenge. While there's no minimum charge per person, the least that you'll fork over is $2,000 on a Saturday and $1,500 otherwise.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown