The Summit Team
My first experience in the food industry was in 1973 when I worked for Carl’s Jr. flipping hamburgers and I worked my way up to Assistant Manager but wasn’t sure that was my path so I tried Banking and the high end jewelry industry over several years but always found my way back into the restaurant industry in some capacity. Then one day while managing a restaurant in Newport Beach I was approached by the local Yacht Club to cater their annual event and from that day on I knew event catering was my vocation calling. Now here we are 30 years later with 26 years as one of two captains steering the Summit Event Catering Ship and still loving my job. I will say with confidence that it’s all about our employees. Without them we are truly nothing. We owe our success to them. I have a wonderful, loving and supportive wife, Linda, without her none of this would be possible including obviously my awesome 3 grown boys, Adam, Zach and Travis who are the apple of my eye. They are all doing well and I am grateful for that. I am looking forward for another several years serving our communities in and around Southern California God willing.
Duane has worked in the Food and Beverage Industry in Southern California since 1978. He has held positions in Management, Operations and Special Events with some of the areas finest upscale establishments throughout his career. He joined the partnership at Summit Event Productions in April of 1995 and has been an integral part of the growth and success we have recognized in the past decade. As you will notice from the company photo, he enjoys his time off in the outdoors, traveling in pursuit of his passion of fly fishing.
In April 2004 Event Executive Pam Aki joined the Summit Events family. Pam came to Summit Events with over 20 years experience in restaurant and private club catering management. Pam has worked planning every detail for events corporate and private. Pam’s passion is working with brides assisting them with all the details for their special day. Summit Events is blessed to have Pam as part of the team.
Event Catering Director
In May of 2000 Tyler joined the Summit Team as a part-time server and event supervisor. In one short year Tyler moved into the Director of Catering Sales position. Tyler has worked with some of the finest restaurants and catering organizations in Orange County and we feel fortunate he has chosen to be a member of our team.
VP of Event Sales
Veronica Medrano joined the Summit Event family April 2010. Veronica brings with her years of experience in the event industry. Her knowledge of customer service, sales, marketing, design and wedding event coordinating enables her to use her talents to take a client’s ideas and execute them from start to finish. Veronica’s fresh ideas in contemporary and modern food will wow any client. Her energy and passion for great customer service bring joy to any client planning an event. Most recently, Veronica caught the eye of Award Winning Event Planner, David Tutera, star of the “My Fair Wedding” television show. In 2011, Veronica worked side by side with the “My Fair Wedding” team, in not one, but two shows for this popular production. Summit Event Catering is proud to have Veronica as part of the team 8+ years.
Debbie Christensen first began working at Summit as a server. A few years, and many events later, she decided to come on board working in the office as a sales assistant. Within a month, she moved up to a sales position, becoming the newest member of our sales team. Debbie is not new to the Wedding and party planning industry. She was the publisher of The Wedding Guide book for 25 years, a local directory to help Brides plan a perfect Wedding, founder of The Wedding Wizards local networking group, and board member for the South Bay chapter of the Association of Bridal Consultants. She promotes the idea that years from now, your guests won’t remember the details of your event, but they WILL remember the food. It has to be fantastic, and with the Summit team behind her, she will make sure that happens for every event she books.
She loves working with people and helping to make their special day a tasty success!
JT is an OC native and has experience working in restaurants and catering. He’s had quite a reputation for creativity and excellence during his tenure at The Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach for the last two years. His experience also includes working for The Waterfront Hilton while still in culinary school.
His love of animals led him to his dream of being a zoo keeper. Throughout his upbringing he also fell in love with food. Growing up experimenting with his family’s recipes gave him desire to become a chef. When asked what he loves about being a chef he says, “the most rewarding thing for me is to create or spark a memory through my food”. He feels that bringing people to a time of joy is greatly rewarding. Influenced by growing up in Southern California and spending time with his Filipino grandfather, he leans towards Pacific Coastal and Baja Mexican cuisines.
JT is no stranger to off site catering. He was the executive chef for 24 Carrots Catering from 2006 to 2011. What does he plan to bring to Summit? Personalization to our clients, and knowledge to our chefs. JT loves the scientific aspect of cooking, but most importantly sharing with his team everything he has learned along his journey. We love his philosophy that “every kitchen is a classroom”. JT tells us that every person in the kitchen is a student and a teacher and reminds us that we can all learn from each other’s knowledge. He’s only been with us a few weeks and our staff has responded positively to his style, demeanor and experience. His excitement and positivity are infectious. He’s already taken our current menu items and brought a depth to them to the delight of our team and our clients. Soon he’ll change our menus and elevate our cuisine to a new level. We can’t wait to see what new heights we can achieve with JT at the helm of our kitchen.
So much can be said about Jonathon. In his 20+ years with Summit, Jonathon has supervised literally over 2000 events for us and has played a huge part in the success we all enjoy. When Summit has a huge event we call Jon. As most of you know Jon recently Co-Supervised the main area of one of the most logistically challenging events in recent memory with confidence and poise leading his team to a very successful outcome. The client was amazed at how the team worked together, the quality of our products provided, as well as the overall design of the event.
Lead Event Chef
Armando has been employed with Summit for over 20 years. He has held many roles including Sous chef and Assistant Warehouse Manager. He has, and continues to be, a huge part of the Summit Family and our success. Over the years we have learned a great deal about this amazing person.
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Kitchen Assistant Manager
Creative, Marketing & Graphic Design