Housed in the historic Lohman Opera House building across from the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, REVEL Catering & Events hosts and caters the gamut of celebrations, from fundraisers and election watch parties to weddings and holiday parties.

Owner Johnny Graham spent close to 20 years in the fine-dining industry before making the switch to catering special events. Opening REVEL in February 2014 was a homecoming for Graham, who grew up in Jefferson City. He got one of his first jobs in the industry as a line cook at Garozzo’s Ristorante in Kansas City and honed his cooking skills at restaurants throughout the country, including stints at restaurants in San Francisco and Chicago. He also spent several years as a celebrity chef in Martha’s Vineyard and in Los Angeles – his past clients have included Bruce Willis, Keith Richards and Stevie Nicks.

Do you think cooking for celebrities prepared you in any way for catering larger-scale events? Catering for the movie industry for a number of years gave me the chops needed to pull off the larger-scale events. I spent the better part of a year working in the Caribbean catering with Hat Trick Catering for the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films, feeding 300 to 700 people two meals a day. Everything [was] made from scratch, too. I thrive on the kind of organization that it takes to pull that off on a daily basis.

What do you enjoy most about catering events? Feeding people is an intimate act. It should, in my opinion, be treated as such. As chefs, we are putting something inside of people, providing nourishment, sustaining life and creating memories. Most of my strongest memories in life are interwoven with sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the food that was involved. At my wedding, my friend made his great-great-grandmother’s Pakistani curry recipe for 168 people. Next time they have a similar curry, they’re probably going to think of that wedding they went to in Missouri. So many weddings [serve] the same stuff over and over because it works from a business sense. I love getting to know what each couple loves and being a part of those memories for people.

What’s next for you and your work with REVEL? While I grew up in mid-Missouri, I am still relatively new to the food scene here. I am still avidly looking to meet and connect with more of the farmers, local wine and beer producers and others to build an infrastructure of sorts of locally sourced products and services. I am still looking forward to the day when I have the place to grow our own vegetables, grapevines and have fresh eggs every day. On the rare occasion when you’re off work for the day, where are you going and what are you doing? When I’m off I like to get outside. If it’s not hunting season, I like to get on my bike and head to Hartsburg Grand Restaurant or Claysville Store on the Katy Trail.

REVEL Catering & Events, 102 E. High St., Jefferson City, Missouri, 573.636.0023, facebook.com/revelcatering


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