Zelda’s Catering is a family owned and operated business, with an uncompromising culture of client satisfaction and attention to detail. We believe in clear commitments, clear expectations, and no excuses. Our commitment is to serve through excellence.
We are nationally recognized and community focused.
Excellence begins and ends with people and leadership. At Zelda’s, we are proud to have assembled an outstanding, dedicated leadership team with talent, creativity and pedigree. A team designed to deliver consistent perfection. We invite you to browse their biographies below.
The founder and force behind Zelda’s, Linda began her professional career during the 1980s personal computing revolution with a very different focus — using dual degrees in computer science and education to design early educational computer games. After a 15-year hiatus to raise her family of four young men, Linda returned to the Chicago kosher catering world in 2003 with a new portfolio of self-taught culinary talents, new passion, new vision, and above all, new appreciation for the most meaningful things life has to offer. As our dynamic team leader, Linda infuses her own unique style and inspiration into every wonderful taste Zelda’s presents.
Director of Events
Taylor’s passion for the exacting details that make events memorable is locally acquired. Taylor came to Chicago after earning her undergraduate degree in hospitality from Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business with a minor in Theatre Design and Technical Production — which means that Taylor can craft a lovely evening and also wield a blow torch when necessary.
Taylor began her Chicago career working with the front-of-house team at the innovative Next Restaurant, then managed the bustling high-end Theater District restaurant 312 Chicago before joining the Zelda's team. The art of listening is Taylor's unique talent in helping clients realize their creative vision.
Executive Sous Chef
Gary Diaz graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in 2002 with the degree of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. He was immediately recruited by The Ritz-Carlton Chicago Hotel. With dynamic kitchen and interpersonal leadership skills, Chef Gary quickly became a designated staff instructor for the Ritz Carlton in standards excellence. After advancing within the Ritz-Carlton organization for 17 years, Chef Gary joined Zelda's Catering as Executive Sous Chef in 2019. He is a Chicago native and die-hard Cubs fan, enjoys playing tennis, as well as watching tennis and other athletic competitions.
Alina is a graduate of the historic Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She brings a European touch to Zelda's from Krakow, where she worked for 12 years as general manager of a boutique hotel located in the city's famous Jewish quarter. There she had primary responsibility for event production and catering to many large international tour groups. Alina is skilled and creative in all types of kosher food, and is especially fond of creating pastry and desserts. She spends time in Israel each year exploring culinary developments, restaurants and emerging catering trends. She has attended Chicago's renowned French Pastry School, and interned at The Standard Club.
Jimmy was born and raised in Skokie, and is a graduate of Evanston High School. He continues to live in nearby Evanston and has been a popular part of the local scene his entire life. Jimmy's daily routine includes sharing breakfast bagels and conversation with his friends on the Skokie Police Force at one of the local establishments. Jimmy brings more than 20 years of catering industry experience to Zelda's, and prides himself on making sure the company's fleet of delivery vehicles is kept clean at all times. Jimmy enjoys walking and spending time at the beach during the summer months.
Director of Operations
Ben began his career in food service through volunteer work at several Israeli food kitchens. After receiving his degree in Business Administration and Finance from the IDC International School of Business in Herzliya, Israel, Ben returned to Zelda’s Catering excited to lead the company into a new era. In 2013, Ben took over as director of operations and is responsible for ensuring that Zelda’s day-to-day activities run seamlessly. Ben is proud of Zelda’s work with the local community, including its partnership with the EZRA Multi‑Service Center.
Director of Catering
Kathy is synonymous with kosher catering in Chicago. Kathy began her hospitality career in 1990 at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, ultimately advancing to Catering Sales Manager for leading Hilton properties including The Palmer House Hilton and Hilton Chicago. In 2001 Kathy left Hilton to enter the kosher catering world as Catering Sales Manager of Danziger Kosher Catering, where over the next 14 years she developed a large and loyal following as Chicago’s premier kosher event coordinator. Kathy’s experience ranges from modestly sized private dinners up to 4,000 attendee conventions. Kathy enjoys spoiling her two adorable cats. She loves to bake every chance she gets, and delights in sharing the amazing harvest from her backyard vegetable garden with her many envious neighbors.
Yaakov was born and raised in Chicago. He attended Fasman Yeshiva High School and graduated from HTC with a BA in Psychology and Judaic studies. Yaakov completed a masters degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University. For over two years he spent time abroad in Israel as a staff member at Eretz Hatzvi before joining the IDF where he completed his service at the rank of a sergeant as a designated marksman in the Givati Brigade. Yaakov enjoys working out, reading psychology journals and studying military history. In the small world department, Yaakov and Ben Neiman (Zelda's Director of Operations) spent six summers working together as JCC camp counselors on Chicago's North Side.
Kevin is a veteran of the Chicago catering industry, with experience at many of the city's longest established firms, including Jewell Events Catering, Blue Plate and Food for Thought. He takes pride in having participated during his career in catering many of the city's most prestigious catered events, including the openings of Museum Campus and Chicago Symphony Center Orchestra Hall, Brookfield Zoo Ball and Columbia Ball. Kevin has degrees in Honors History and Political Science, as well as a JD degree from Loyola University of Chicago. In his free time, Kevin is an avid quilter, and is a past president of Illinois Quilters.
Executive Chef Jon Hudak brings more than 20 years of experience to Zelda's Catering. Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Jon has been sought after throughout his career by the most prestigious hospitality organizations in the United States, most recently serving in executive leadership roles at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and Ritz Carlton Chicago Hotel. Chef Jon has a passion for food artistry and reinventing classic favorites for today's modern palate. His mastery of a wide array of cooking styles and techniques, and command of a dedicated and talented culinary team, are his personal recipe for creating consistent perfection on a plate. When Jon is not at work you will find him at the local farmer’s market, or spending time with good friends enjoying a quiet glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
After graduating from Yeshiva University in 2008 with a B.A. in Physics, Elliott joined Zelda's as Bookkeeper, IT manager, and Graphic Designer. Today, he continues to manage Zelda's state-of-the-art technical infrastructure and software systems, as well as the company's finances.
As Zelda's grew into the premier catering company it is today, Elliott made sure that our staff has had the technical tools they need to deliver top-notch service. When he isn't keeping his coworkers' lives interesting by constantly updating their software and settings, Elliott enjoys raising two adorable children with his wife Devorah.
Before joining Zelda’s Catering, for more than a decade Sean learned the ins and outs of the Chicago area on-premise catering industry with the Hilton Orrington in Evanston and the Glen Club in Glenview, ultimately turning his talents to the world of off-premise catering with Food for Thought.
In his free time, Sean likes to go to the movies, cook, and spend quality time with his two cats and dog. Sean enjoys traveling, especially his trips up to the Michigan outdoors where he relaxes while camping and fishing. Sean boasts an extensive and growing collection (verging on obsession) of barware and breweriana from around the world.
John has been with Zelda's from the very beginning, and has grown to become an integral part of the company's operational backbone. In his spare time, John enjoys hiking and mountain biking. John met his wife in the 7th grade (although they decided to wait a while to make it official), and recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary!
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
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