Our company's incredible team of caterers and staff.
About

People

Our executive team of owners, chefs, senior managers, designers and planners is dedicated to bringing elevated cuisine, service, creativity and support to your event. Coming from a range of food industry backgrounds and experience, our team's diversity ensures creativity and innovation are front and center when planning your special event and meeting your personal goals.
Laura Lyons CEO and President of Global Gourmet Catering
Laura Lyons
Founding Partner/CEO/President

Laura co-founded Global Gourmet Catering in 1998 after many years working in the restaurant industry and eventually realizing her dream of owning a restaurant in San Francisco.

Read More
Laura Lyons CEO and President of Global Gourmet Catering
Laura Lyons
Founding Partner/CEO/President

Laura co-founded Global Gourmet Catering in 1998 after many years working in the restaurant industry and eventually realizing her dream of owning a restaurant in San Francisco. Having lived in the Bay Area since 1973, Laura grew up in the era that brought such culinary revelations as Alice Waters, the organic foods movement and the integration of a vast array of ethnic influences on the everyday dining habits of Bay Area residents. While earning a degree in political Science at UC Berkeley she realized her passion was working in the food service industry. A lack of common sense and a love of food, wine and entertaining culminated in the development of her own culinary adventure in San Francisco, Babaloo Tapas Restaurant in the Marina. Laura’s introduction to the catering world happened when she developed that branch of the restaurant. Global Gourmet Catering was later born when she realized she preferred having the occasional day off to never having a life outside of the restaurant and being broke all the time. Laura lives in the East Bay with her husband Thomas Kelleher and their son William. Her passions include family, friends, entertaining, music and hip hop dancing.

David Ashley
Founding Partner/COO/CFO

David began his career in the Food and Beverage industry in Chicago. It was there he entered management for visionary restaurateur Peter Morton, owner of the Hard Rock Café Restaurant chain.

Read More
David Ashley
Founding Partner/COO/CFO

David began his career in the Food and Beverage industry in Chicago. It was there he entered management for visionary restaurateur Peter Morton, owner of the Hard Rock Café Restaurant chain, and developed his friendship with Laura Lyons. The high-volume, fast-paced, music-driven environment of the restaurants, with its many high profile off-premise events, served as a training ground for the world to come at Global Gourmet. David spent over a decade with Hard Rock Café at locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood, Newport Beach and San Francisco. David enjoys cooking and can be found at his grill nightly preparing dinner for his family. His recreational passions are many and include music, film, biking, snow skiing, paddle boarding and yoga.

Spain Salinas
Partner/Director of Operations

Spain's passion for cooking began at the age of 10 with the preparation of dinners with his Italian grandmother, which developed into new passions in the culinary world in food styling and catering.

Read More
Spain Salinas
Partner/Director of Operations

Spain's passion for cooking began at the age of 10 with the preparation of dinners with his Italian grandmother. Upon being accepted to culinary school, located in San Francisco, Spain came to find an entirely new passion in the culinary world, food styling and catering. He continued his training at the Westin St. Francis and Argonaut hotels and began to broaden his appreciation for both complex and familiar flavors. He worked for catering companies like Taste, Betty Zlatchin and Patina before eventually arriving at Global Gourmet. Spain’s Culinary training has also been achieved by his extensive traveling through France, Italy, Japan, Spain and Latin America. Spain is part of the Executive Team providing thought leadership and strategic direction. In his spare time he is an avid tennis player and music lover, and spends his evenings exploring the culinary wonders of San Francisco – concerts, operas and symphonies are a must in his book.

Mike Sher
Partner/Director of HR/Director of Concessions

Mike has been in the Food & Beverage Industry for 36 years, starting as a dishwasher and busboy and ending up in Operations and Management Development.

Read More
Mike Sher
Partner/Director of HR/Director of Concessions

Mike has been in the Food & Beverage Industry for 36 years, starting as a dishwasher and busboy and ending up in operations and management development. Mike spent the majority of his career working domestically and internationally for Peter Morton's Hard Rock Café & Paul Fleming's P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: both innovative entrepreneurial restaurant concepts. Mike also worked on a project in New York City in conjunction with The Restaurant Associates Group, founded by Joseph Baum, who ran The Rainbow Room and Windows on the World. While with Hard Rock Café in 1988, Mike met Global Gourmet’s founding partners, Laura Lyons and David Ashley. In 2009 Mike joined Global Gourmet to oversee the new Beverage & Concessions Divisions. Mike’s years in corporate management and training led him to take on human resources as Global Gourmet continued to grow. Mike is also part of the Executive Team helping to strategize and realize the vision of the company. Mike spends his spare time with his wife and two young daughters, biking, hiking, reading, singing and trying to experience everything that the Bay Area has to offer.

Aaron Zimmer
Executive Chef

Aaron brings over 17 years of Food and Beverage service experience to Global Gourmet Catering including Bon Appetit, Guckenheimer and The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay.

Read More
Aaron Zimmer
Executive Chef

Aaron brings over 17 years of Food and Beverage service experience to Global Gourmet Catering as Director of Operations for Bon Appetit, Executive Chef at Guckenheimer (one of the largest cafes on the Google Mountain View campus), and Chef de Cuisine at The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay, where he was responsible for the menus, kitchens and culinary staff for Navio, The Conservatory Lounge, and in-room dining. Prior to that, Aaron worked as Eric Ziebold’s sous chef at the acclaimed CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. As Global Gourmet’s Executive Chef, Aaron trains and manages all of our kitchen personnel and supervises/coordinates all related culinary activities across our large-scale corporate, high-end concession and wedding catering services; sources the freshest, locally produced, ingredients/produce available; develops new and amazing seasonal recipes for our clients; and maintains our company’s consistent quality standards and green practices.

Michelle Kohm
Chef de Cuisine

Michelle is not your typical chef. After receiving her Bachelor and Masters of Engineering from MIT in 2000, she started her career as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley.

Read More
Michelle Kohm
Chef de Cuisine

Michelle is not your typical chef. After receiving her Bachelor and Masters of Engineering from MIT in 2000, she started her career as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley. Unable to deny her love for food, she decided to switch professions and pursue her lifelong passion to cook. After graduating from California Culinary Academy, she had the opportunity to continue her professional training under renowned chefs such as Chris Cosentino (Incanto) and Philippe Striffler (The Hotel Nikko). She joined the Global Gourmet family in 2010 and has since cherished the opportunity to be part of a team with the same values and dedication.

Steven Cheung
Executive Pastry Chef

Steven Cheung is a culinary artist in the areas of baking, pastry, chocolate and confections, inspired as a child since elementary school to become a pastry chef.

Read More
Steven Cheung
Executive Pastry Chef

Steven Cheung is a culinary artist in the areas of baking, pastry, chocolate and confections, inspired as a child since elementary school to become a pastry chef. Today he realizes his artistic goals with chocolate, fruit and flour as his paint, and the plate as his canvas, creating refined and satisfying desserts for our clients. Steven has a culinary arts degree from City College of San Francisco, and also earned a diploma in Pâtisserie from the Hong Kong Culinary Academy. During an externship he focused on mass production at Hotel Monaco in San Francisco, and was then introduced to French-influenced California cuisine at Traci Des Jardins’ Jardinière. He then moved on to Cavallo Point in Sausalito, dabbling in everything from hand-laminated croissants to freshly-spun ice cream and buttery brioche. He became familiar with chocolate and confections at Socola Chocolatier in San Francisco, preparing sweets such as pâte de fruit and hand-dipped truffles, and later continued to hone his technique elsewhere in terms of flavor, texture and plating, along his expertise with detail-oriented French cuisine.

Cheryl Fleming
Director of Wedding and Social Market Catering Sales

Cheryl comes to us from The Battery, where she worked as their Senior Private Events Manager. She has been planning weddings since 2006 and even planned her own, of course, in 2013.

Read More
Cheryl Fleming
Director of Wedding and Social Market Catering Sales

Cheryl comes to us from The Battery, where she worked as their Senior Private Events Manager. Prior to that, she worked as an associate for various Bay Area wedding planning companies, including Rosemary Events and Caitlin Arnold Events. She has been planning weddings since 2006 and even planned her own, of course, in 2013. A self-proclaimed foodie, Cheryl has extensive restaurant experience, having worked at San Francisco favorites La Folie, Perbacco and Bacar. Born and raised in Orange County, Cheryl is a California girl through and through, having intimate knowledge of both Southern and Northern California. She attended San Francisco State University and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter and three backyard chickens.

Garo Eldemir
Director of Beverage Services

Garo has over 20 years of experience in the Food and Beverage industry, bringing unique and creative beverage packages to a wide variety of our catering clients.

Read More
Garo Eldemir
Director of Beverage Services

Garo has over 20 years of experience in the Food and Beverage industry, bringing unique and creative beverage packages to a wide variety of our catering clients. His résumé includes heading up all operations for Patina Restaurant Group at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, managing operations at the California Academy of Sciences for the Slanted Door Group and served as Marketing Director at the Wine Appreciation Guild. Garo brings his experience with high-end catering and venue management to designing customized beverage offerings for Global Gourmet’s clientele. With an eye on developing trends and a passion for innovation, Garo's team lives for discovering and mastering the latest and greatest of San Francisco, and the country’s, amazing beverage cultures. In addition to advances in mixology and California’s breadth of wine offerings, the amazing growth of craft beers is an area of great interest. In his free time Garo, along with his cattle dog Beyla, operate a small-scale hops and barley farm on 40 acres in Sonoma County, exploring and practicing true farm-to-pint glass beer brewing.

Elaine Richards
Managing Director, Sales and Production

Event planning and food have always been two of Elaine's passions. She joined Global Gourmet Catering in 2015, and brought with her a strong background in management, operations and sales.

Read More
Elaine Richards
Managing Director, Sales and Production

Event planning and food have always been two of Elaine's passions. After graduating from the University of San Diego, she gained valuable professional experience at both a Fortune 500 company (CBRE), as well as early stage food startup (Sprig). After successfully launching Sprig, Elaine decided to pursue her true passion in the areas of food and event planning. For the past 15 years, she had organized events for various non-profits, social groups, schools and networking groups. Elaine joined Global Gourmet Catering in 2015, and brought with her a strong background in management, operations and sales. Her unique professional experience, as well as her passion to create a perfectly organized event, quickly became recognized and she was promoted to Managing Director of Sales and Production. In her free time, Elaine can be found in Napa organizing social events for her friends, or meeting people in San Francisco. Don't hesitate to reach out, she would love to meet you!

Raquel Esparz
Director of Community Relations and Senior Event Sales Manager

Raquel joined Global Gourmet in 2006, bringing her experience in event planning and management, unique international background and a deeply rooted passion for nutrition, healthy cooking and wellness to the team.

Read More
Raquel Esparz
Director of Community Relations and Senior Event Sales Manager

Raquel joined Global Gourmet in 2006, bringing her experience in event planning and management, unique international background and a deeply rooted passion for nutrition, healthy cooking and wellness to the team. Raquel moved to the Bay Area from Barcelona, Spain, where she received degrees in tourism and hospitality as well as communications from University RLL of Barcelona. Inspired by family tradition, she also studied cocina natural, therapeutic natural cooking in Barcelona, and continued to graduate as a certified nutrition consultant and educator from Bauman College in the Bay Area. Raquel also studied Marketing at UC Berkeley. In addition to her role as Senior Event Sales Manager, Raquel is Global Gourmet’s Director of Community Relations. She organizes our work with nonprofits, leads employee volunteer programs and began our relationship with Copia, which ensures all excess food from our events is redistributed to communities in need. When not at work you can find Raquel cooking healthy meals for her friends and family, exploring local restaurants, travelling, reading, cycling, running with her dog or hiking with her husband and daughter.

Scott Fairbanks
Senior Sales Manager and Creative Director

Scott’s love affair with food began at the age of eight – with the discovery of a coffee cake recipe on the back of a Bisquick box.

Read More
Scott Fairbanks
Senior Sales Manager and Creative Director

Scott’s love affair with food began at the age of eight – with the discovery of a coffee cake recipe on the back of a Bisquick box. Throughout his youth and in parallel to a successful professional career in Southern California, he owned and operated Great Scott Catering, where he honed his abilities to present stellar cuisine, provide impeccable service and dedication to his very loyal clients – attributes that serve him well in his current role as Senior Sales Manager and Creative Director. Scott joined Global Gourmet Catering in 2004 and came up through the ranks, including a very successful run as Global Gourmet’s Chef de Cuisine. He joined the sales team in 2008 and was appointed Creative Director in 2016. Scott believes that there’s always an interesting story to be discovered where food, presentation, and guest experience intersect; it’s this living interaction that is always changing and evolving, continually influenced by styles, trends, technology, social media and many other factors. For Scott, it is where the heart of creativity and design lives every day.

Rafael Campos
Event Designer

Award-winning designer Rafael has spent his entire career in the design industry, starting in his birthplace Rio de Janeiro, where he designed shopping center environments for major retail chains.

Read More
Rafael Campos
Event Designer

Award-winning designer Rafael Campos has spent his entire career in the design industry, starting in his birthplace Rio de Janeiro, where he designed shopping center environments for major retail chains. In San Francisco over the past 25 years he developed his career as an event designer at major bay area catering companies including Spiral Hand Events, and since 2000 with Global Gourmet Catering. He has designed and produced hundreds of events from small, intimate gatherings to corporate events for tens of thousands. Rafael is known for his creativity in transforming event space, his attention to detail, and his responsiveness to clients' needs. Rafael travels extensively, curating design concepts from other cultures including Asia, South America and Europe. He spends much of his free time in Sonoma County, where he loves to entertain with his partner and nurture his garden.

John Riggin
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

John is our in-house millennial marketeer with a vested interest in good food, namely pizza.

Read More
John Riggin
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

John is our in-house millennial marketeer with a vested interest in good food, namely pizza. Upon Global Gourmet’s acquisition of industry-innovating mobile wood-fired pizza ovens, John joined the team to further the company’s marketing and social media efforts. His experience includes writing, editing, outreach and branding work in the fashion, healthcare, technology and food industries. John is an alumni of CSU, Chico’s award-winning journalism and public relations program, and comes to us from one of San Francisco’s leading startup PR firms. Outside of work John is a voracious reader, also known to start small karaoke dance parties in his kitchen while cooking with wine.