Captain of Catering, Helmsman of Heritage
Christopher Vazquez at the helm of Heritage Grill, Ralph Brennan Catering & Events
For as long as he can remember, New Orleans native Chris Vazquez has had a thing for cooking. Born into an Italian-Cuban family, he fondly recalls hours in the kitchen with his great grandmother, who taught him to make her family-famous lasagna. After graduating from high school in Destrehan, Vazquez turned his passion into a career by enrolling in the Culinary program at Delgado. His first cooking job was at Mr. B's Bistro, where he worked with Ralph Brennan and longtime chef Gerard Maras. He never could have foreseen that, years later, he'd be heading up the extensive catering operations of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, as well as running the kitchen at the popular Heritage Grill, in Metairie.
From Mr. B's, seeking to broaden his culinary education, Vazquez jumped at the chance to apply for a line cook position with renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. He spent the next decade of his career working with Puck, fine-tuning and elevating his culinary and management skills, and opening Spago, Beverly Hills as a sous chef, along the way. Vazquez left Spago to try his hand as a personal chef, cooking for A-list Hollywood celebrities and business executives, honing his personal cooking style and travelling the world over. It was a stimulating time, allowing him to master a variety of cuisines including Italian, Asian, French, Mediterranean, Creole, Spanish Tapas and California Fusion.
The siren call of New Orleans eventually lured Vazquez home to his roots, and back to the professional kitchen. He found Red Fish Grill, known for its innovative spin on Gulf seafood, to be the perfect fit. As executive sous chef, Vazquez oversaw a staff of more than 30 cooks in the bustling Ralph Brennan-owned French Quarter restaurant, taking special pride in developing his staff and serving as a coach and mentor. Five years in, he was tapped to preside over Ralph Brennan Catering & Events, one of New Orleans' most in-demand catering operations, headquartered in the massive back-of-the-house facilities of Heritage Grill, where he also serves as executive chef.
His years as a personal chef equipped Vazquez with an uncanny depth of understanding expectations, and his catered events, large and small, invariably delight and impress. The close relationships that Ralph Brennan Catering & Events has forged with the city's most fascinating and impressive venues suit Vazquez' mastery of eclectic styles to a tee: whether a client desires an event of opulent luxury or refined restraint, his expertise strikes just the right note, every time. While he's heartened by the frequent requests for favorite signature dishes from the Ralph Brennan restaurants at catered events, Christopher Vazquez' sophisticated palate infuses beloved New Orleans flavors with additional spice and flair, elevating his catering menus -- and his array of offerings at Heritage Grill -- to a whole new level of "Wow!"