Just as a plant begins as a tiny seed, so too Root Catering began as a small idea. It all started in California with a little notion to visit a farmers market, then cook dinner using the freshly acquired ingredients.
One meal led to two, three clients led to four and so on. Soon a little business was off and running.
As this feisty enterprise blossomed, our founder realized it was time to uproot the company and head back home. So the company (all of one person!) moved back to Rochester in 2011.
From the get-go, our passion was to embrace and live the farm-to-table movement, prepare innovative and delicious meals using fresh food, and provide exquisite service.
As we forged partnerships with some of the best vendors in the Rochester region and grew our clientele, we were ready for the next step. And so Root Catering was born. Ta-da!
As the name suggests, here at Root, we seek to honor roots: the food we grow and prepare, the meals we enjoy with family and friends, our hometown, the relationships we form.
Above all, Root Catering celebrates a journey and a passion: crossing the country, returning home and devoting ourselves to a labor of love.
Mackenzie Zerniak, Head Chef
Mackenzie’s love of food and cooking started at a young age, when she would make non-edible concoctions in her grandmother’s kitchen. At 11, she became a vegetarian and shortly after a vegan, which really ignited her interest in food. Her first job was working as a bus girl, which eventually led to a place in the kitchen.
After working in various kitchens in the Rochester area, Mackenzie knew she wanted to be a chef. In 2014, she attended The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, completing more than 600 hours of rigorous, life-changing culinary classes. She began working with Root Catering in the fall of 2014 and was promoted to head chef in 2017.
Besides cooking, Mackenzie enjoys going to the market, spending time with her family, gardening and being outdoors.
Root Catering is a full-service catering company based in Rochester, NY. From the start, we have served discriminating clients with innovative food, excellent service and a zealous attention to detail.
Be it an intimate gathering of 10 or a lavish wedding for 300, Root will work with you to craft a custom menu that contributes to a one-of-a-kind experience.
In tandem with our clients, we innovate menu plans based on local seasonal harvests and ingredients sourced whenever possible from regional farmers and purveyors.
Root has always subscribed to the “farm-to-table” ethos. Why? Food is most flavorful and nutritious when harvested at its peak. And it’s important to support local farmers and minimize transport time and distance.
It may not be a crime to accompany a first-rate meal with poor service. But it should be. Root is just as committed to providing service that’s as exceptional as the food. Drawing on our event-planning background, we’re prepared to handle every aspect of your special occasion, down to the smallest detail.
Kristin Klock-Watte, Chef + Owner
Kristin’s culinary career began in San Francisco, where she worked as an event planner for four years until it dawned on her that only in the kitchen would she find her true passion. After receiving classical training as a chef, she started a Bay Area business as a personal chef and small event caterer.
“I realized all I really wanted to do
was come home and cook dinner.”
About a decade later, Kristin’s hometown began calling her back. In 2011, she answered the call and returned to Rochester. In no time, Root Catering (then called Chef k2) became one of Rochester’s elite caterers. Kristin and Root Catering now focus on custom, creative menus that celebrate the region’s culinary bounty.
One menu doesn’t fit all. That’s why you won’t find one on this site. You see, we listen first and cook second. The type of event, your preferences, the seasonality of ingredients—all of these will factor into a customized menu that will charm and delight your guests.
Good food will do that. Take you on a journey, spin a tale. We take inspiration for our culinary “stories” from the crucible of experience—crafting farm-to-table cuisine in Napa Valley and soaking up the modern and/or heirloom flavors of New England. And, of course, from our local roots, riding the wave of a serious food revival right here in Western NY. Let’s talk about how you’d like to tell your story.
When food looks as good as it tastes, you’re doubly satisfied. Whether you're throwing a rustic hoedown or hosting an upscale wine tasting, our "food designers" will prepare custom presentations that’ll suit your style and event. So don’t forget your appetite—or your specs!
Yes, we’re a motley crew. (Not the hair band, despite our tattoos.) In our case, motley is defined as "a merry collection of foodies who’ve serendipitously connected to serve crazy-good food for your amazing event." Some of us bring to the party years of training in catering and cooking. And others bring advanced study in psychology. (What?) But whatever our paths, we all hold as sacred the pillars of catering excellence: respect, quality, customer service and the ability to memorize the lyrics to "Dr. Feelgood."
We have a slight problem. We get caught up in the little things. The hundred details (give or take a thousand) that go into the art of catering. Like the way we fillet a locally sourced trout and sear it, skin-side down, for 2-3 minutes (depending on thickness, of course) in a pan of olive oil heated to an exact temperature of ... you get the idea. Are we obsessed with cooking technique? Or just plain obsessed?
You’re here to celebrate and we're here to help. So our numero uno priority is serving you and your event. But a close second is mood management (aka smiling). We might even allow ourselves a bit of fun. After all, it’s highly contagious. Keep the mood bright and the guests happy. That’s our motto. Salut!
Not every occasion calls for a full bar, but if your event does, you're in for a treat. Or perhaps you’d rather opt for some fine reds and whites to be served with dinner. Either way, you’re in good hands. Root can offer a full complement of refreshments to whet your whistles and maintain a sociable atmosphere. Our seasoned, friendly bartenders will create an experience that’s stress-free—and right for the occasion. And odds are, come closing time, you'll have made some new friends.
Whenever possible, we prepare and serve what's in season. It’s that simple. Happily, abundant upstate New York offers plenty to choose from. In almost any given season, there's something new in the pan or oven or on the grill. Root is ever conjuring new dishes based on the time of year. It sure keeps life interesting. And delicious. So, what’s your favorite season?
Chef k2 is now Root Catering. We freshened up our brand and a few other things, too (this website). But don't worry, we're the same food-loving fanatics we've always been. Enjoy!
Interested in joining our team? Wunderbar! Please tell us about your fabulous self at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food and the cooking arts make for a rich experience. They’re physical, sensual, emotional. They require more than a little thinking and judgement. And some say there’s a mystic dimension to food and cooking and eating. We’re inclined to agree. To us, it’s less a vocation than a calling. We consider it a blessing to make it our life’s work.
Every last detail accounted for.
There's always reason to celebrate.
There’s no “I” in Teamwork (or Harmony or Synchrony or Yummy).
We prefer to stand out in a crowd.
Art you can eat.
Cue the hors d'oeuvres!
We get to know our food. Support your local farm.
Another well-composed dish.