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Relish Events at Independence Grove Serves as New On-site Caterer

February 2, 2024 01:36 PM
© Melissa Marie Photography

Lakefront Elegance Meets Culinary Excellence

John Eggert's culinary journey ignited during his childhood. He has vivid memories of the moment his passion for cooking began to sizzle.

Eggert was 8 years old when his mom showed him how to make scrambled eggs. “My mind was blown away from that point on,” he said. This sparked the imaginative transformation of his kitchen into a pretend restaurant. He and his younger sister assumed their respective roles—she took food orders, while he crafted the dishes.

Though his passion for cooking grew, his mother cautioned him about the demanding and challenging nature of the hospitality industry. This led him to choose business studies at Indiana University.

“After completing a business internship, I came to the realization that I truly missed cooking,” Eggert said. “I realized that I needed to discover a way to combine business and accounting, and the creative aspects of culinary arts.”

Fast forward a couple of decades, and Eggert has achieved this by establishing and running Relish Catering Kitchen, located in Schaumburg.“I was determined to find a way to merge cooking and operating a successful business.” As director of operations, chef de cuisine, he has grown the catering company from the ground up over the last 10 years. “I love the aspect of making people happy with food.”

A year ago, his company assumed management of the restaurant, bar and concessions at Palatine Hills Golf Course. And in January, he expanded again within the Lake County Forest Preserves. Relish Events at Independence Grove, located within the Libertyville forest preserve, now serves as the on-site caterer for special occasions and operates the outdoor café.

While touring the unique space in 2022, Eggert said he could picture his company operating at the popular forest preserve. “Perfectly nestled on a 129-acre lake with nearby native gardens and rustic woods, it’s a picture-perfect location for any event,” he said. Bookings are now available for weddings, social and corporate events at any scale.

"We strive to synchronize our menus with the ambiance of the space," Eggert explained. "Our goal is to harmonize the food options with the midwestern prairie-style atmosphere." Prioritizing local ingredients whenever feasible is important to the company.

The outdoor café, operational from spring through fall, will showcase a refreshed menu and collaborate closely with the Beer Garden at Independence Grove, operated by the Forest Preserves. The menu will feature summer staples such as hotdogs and hamburgers, complemented by an array of flatbreads and innovative culinary creations. “Guests have the opportunity to enjoy a craft beer and order a meal or snack to be served from the café.”

The business owner is inspiring his chef to unleash creativity. “We plan to serve menu items that are truly Instagram-worthy."

When brainstorming the name of the business, Eggert sought inspiration from his Chicago roots and stumbled upon the word "relish" at a party. “I like the double meaning of the word; firstly, to enjoy something with delight and secondly, the condiment that is synonymous with Chicago-style hot dogs. And here we are almost eleven years later.”

Enjoy your next event at Independence Grove: