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Meet Scott Cardel, Your Personal Chef

My love of food began at a very early age. I was five years old when my neighbors discovered me in the middle of their garden. I was sitting there with salt and pepper shakers in hand, savoring their warm, ripe and slightly dusty tomatoes.

That was my first sensual food experience.

In 1978 at the age of 18, I worked at The 510 Haute Cuisine in Minneapolis as a waiter and maître‘d.

I knew learning about French cuisine and wines in such a beautiful setting would be exciting, but the reality surpassed all my expectations!

After two years in the dining room, I talked my way into an apprenticeship in the kitchen. Some of the chefs resented me because I was paid to learn while they were just beginning to pay off their loans for culinary education. However, I worked very hard to prove myself and eventually earned their respect.

Six years later, I was hired as a chef at The New French Cafe, Nouvelle Cuisine. It was thrilling to work in the open kitchen and watch the incredible variety of clients being served by the most eclectic and talented kitchen and floor staff around.

The best croissants and French bread ever and the Bastille Day block parties were an orgy of aioli, bread, and Fisher beer. Everything and everyone reeked of garlic for days!
After stints in NYC's Jams, Jonathon Waxman's wild ride tribute to California Cuisine, and Anne Rosenzweig's Arcadia, I moved to San Francisco in 1990.

This is where, more than 20 years ago, my friends Kerri and Mark Lehmann hosted a dinner party that launched my catering career. They opened the door to the most amazing clientele and set me on a journey that continues to excite me today.

Executive Chef Michele Cavaleri has been by my side for 10 years now. I can think of no one who works as hard as she. Michele brings to the Cardel Catering table integrity, strength, and the best cuisine I’ve had the pleasure of serving and eating.

We have no grand philosophy about food or catering, unless you count striving every day to bring the best of all that we do to your table.

Meet Michele Cavaleri, Your Executive Chef

My culinary career began at the age of 13 when my sister Marie yelled from the kitchen, “Shell, it's time to learn how to make the sauce!”

You see, for people growing up in large Sicilian/Irish families, learning how to make your mother's or father's recipe for sauce and meatballs is a sacred tradition. The recipe gets passed down through the generations for all to enjoy, and for me that introduction to cooking made preparing food an act of love.

Professionally, by industry standards, I started late. I was 28 when I decided my first career, publishing, wasn't for me. I was passionate about food and cooking, and my cousin convinced me to audition at the Rocco's in Boston. I must have been charming, because I was hired by the restaurant on the spot. Truly, I have my cousin Maria to thank. She put in a good word and, as they say, the rest is history.

I moved to San Francisco in 1992 and began working at Suppenkuche, which was one of the few German restaurants back then. I had little to no experience with German food at the time, but I remember thinking, "What's so difficult about schnitzel?  I've been making chicken cutlets all my life!" Again, I must have been doing something right, because it may have been the first time I made schnitzel, but it wasn't the last, not by a long shot.

After my time at Suppenkuche, I went to Venice, Italy where I worked at Al Covo restaurant. Al Covo is where I was taught the art of gnocchi, sauces, grilling fish, (they take grilled fish very seriously in Venice) and many other things. I spent some time in Munich - eating, not cooking - and then returned to San Francisco.

In the following years, I helped open two more German Restaurants in the Bay Area, Walzwerk and Speisekammer. At a point, about the time Scott Cardel needed an Executive Chef, I decided I needed a change, and I joined him at Cardel Catering.

More than 10 years later, we are still working side by side in the kitchen to make every catering event a memorable one.

Cardel Catering Company
2404 Lincoln Avenue, Alameda, CA 94501
Main (510) 239-4447