Seared scallops and micro greens with a tangerine reduction
With the catering expertise, service experience and culinary wizardry of its founders, Paramount Events is poised to become the next “It” catering service. The event-planning company may be in its infancy (its website officially launched in April), but the founding trifecta of Jodi Fyfe, Jimmy Bannos and Tony
Tony Pontillo, Jodi Fyfe and Jimmy Bannos
Pontillo bring a combined 70-plus years of culinary experience to their new venture. As former president of Blue Plate and Berghoff catering, Fyfe has been a staple of Chicago’s catering scene for more than 20 years; Bannos is the chef behind local favorites Purple Pig and Heaven on Seven; and Pontillo has managed food service for the Chicago Bears and the PGA Gold Championship, among other notable events.
Industry colleagues for decades, Fyfe, Bannos and Pontillo saw an opening in the food-service industry for an events company devoted to producing imaginative cuisine, exceptional service and, most importantly, a truly personalized dining experience. Clients can craft their event menu from Paramount’s traditional gourmet catering options (which focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients) or they can showcase their Chicago culinary favorites by selecting items from notable local restaurants, such as Salatino’s, Dough Boys, Francesca’s Restaurants, Fat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila Bar, Urban Belly, Belly Shack, Gabriel’s Restaurant and Miramar. It’s this customization—“the restaurant option,” as Fyfe calls it—that sets Paramount Events above the rest as they fill an important void in an already crowded industry.
While the restaurant option is certainly a bonus (Purple Pig’s chorizo-stuffed olives or charcuterie plate for a dinner party? Yes, please!), a basic commitment to quality grounds the company’s mission and core beliefs. As Fyfe explains, they chose “paramount” as their moniker because it evokes a steady and sturdy yet flexible quality. “You need to learn how to be everything for everybody,” she says. “It isn’t that hard to be a successful caterer, you just need to listen to people.” Fyfe is charming in her self-deprecation; to do what she, Bannos and Pontillo endeavor to do may seem simple on paper, but it certainly isn’t easy. But with such a diverse menu, a blend of haute and lowbrow cuisine (think truffle mac ’n’ cheese) and the ability to cater to anywhere from 10 to 20,000 people, Paramount Events may have found the perfect recipe to serve any type of client.