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.
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.
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.
“I realized all I really wanted to do was come home and cook dinner.”
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.
Shannon brings a variety of skills to Root Catering, but she is specifically known for being the organizing queen and binder fanatic. This former teacher and health educator has worked for Root during the wedding season since the company's inception. In 2016, she joined Root full time as our event manager, working directly with clients to make sure no detail goes unnoticed.
Spending her weekend nights at celebratory events has helped remind Shannon of the importance of celebrating each and every day. Since she can’t sing out loud or join the guests on the dance floor at the events she works, she spends her days off singing and dancing at home with her sweet little family.
front of house manager
Chara started working in the restaurant and catering industry in 2009 and has been working with us since 2013. She appreciates Root’s high standards and respect for employees, partners and clients. Chara considers it a privilege help ensure our clients’ momentous events run without a hitch from start to finish.
Outside of her catering life, Chara runs a one-woman rustic-furniture business—also founded on honoring cultural roots and practicing sustainability. Her perfect day? Gathering materials in the woods with her dog, then working in her shop, covered in sawdust head to toe.
Christina was introduced to Root Catering in 2013 and has been bartending each busy season since then. From the incredibly diverse and ever-growing staff, clientele and menu to the use of sustainable farms and a zero-waste mindset, Christina is continually humbled by Root's standards and honored to help make each event memorable and enjoyable for the client and their guests.
When Christina is not serving up drinks with Root, she provides medical and therapeutic massage and expands her knowledge in holistic wellness through continuing education courses.
Melinda joins our team with more than 20 years in the service industry. Her experience ranges from working in high-volume bars to serving/bartending in some of Rochester’s finest restaurants. So no matter what your event, rest assured that Melinda has you covered.
When not behind the bar at Root, Melinda works for local contractors specializing in residential remodeling.