Director Of Sales, Riverhouse Catering
I was born in Hartford, Connecticut and raised in a neighboring suburb. From an early age and by way of my Italian roots, I developed a passion for food in spending weekends with my grandparents in their kitchen, and visiting my uncle’s fresh pasta store. At age sixteen I stepped foot into my first commercial kitchen as a busser for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I never imagined that a part-time job in high school would open the door to the profession that I would grow to love as an adult.
After high school, I took part-time classes at community college and worked full-time as a banquet server for a small country club in my hometown. I eventually worked my way up to Banquet Manager where I managed a team of people and oversaw golf outings, social events and weddings alike. During the years following college, I gained experience in a variety of different roles within the food service industry. I waited tables at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club on Cape Cod, worked as a lead hostess at City Steam Brewery Café in Hartford, and ran theater concessions and events with Max’s Catering at The Bushnell also in Hartford.
The range of professional experiences that I had in my early adulthood truly helped develop the foundational skills that brought me to Riverhouse Properties, where I have worked since 2008 when the company took over the space that is now The Society Room of Hartford. I started with the company as the Wedding and Social Events Coordinator, eventually focusing solely on the weddings as the Wedding Sales Manager. Over the course of almost six years within Society Room, I had the privilege of helping to coordinate several hundred couples on the planning of their wedding day while working alongside and getting to know some of the finest professionals in the industry—both colleagues and associated vendors alike.
In early 2014, I accepted the newly created Catering Event Sales Manager position for Riverhouse Catering. This position allows me to combine my enthusiasm for design, my eye for photography, and my love for food and drink—really I could not as for a more perfect job! I am proud of the fact that I truly worked my way up from providing bread and water service at a steakhouse to selling and coordinating hundreds of weddings and private events!
Brandie Villanova: Executive Chef, Riverhouse Catering
After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Brandie worked as a cook for Knickerbocker’s Catering in ST. Helena California. After spending time in Northern California, Brandie decided to head for the South Pacific. After landing on Maui in 2003, she started working as a grill cook at a popular steak house and began her move to the top. After only two years Brandie had been promoted to Chef de cuisine of the same steak house. Needing a change, she then took an Executive Pastry Chef position at Son’z @ Swan Court.
There she excelled at offering a wonderful dessert menu, using many of the islands amazing produce! After marrying and starting a family Brandie made her way back to Connecticut where she began pushing her way into the Catering field. Brandie held the Executive pastry chef postions at both The Country Club of Farmington and Jordan Caterers, before joining the Riverhouse Hospitality team. She was hired as the Pastry chef in 2014 and quickly moved to Executive Sous Chef in 2015.
After getting her feet wet in the sous chef position it was only natural for her to become the Executive Chef of Riverhouse catering in 2017. She has a definite love for the craziness that often comes with the catering territory.
Kirsten Pechout: Catering Sales Manager for Riverhouse Catering
My friends and family knew I was going to be an event planner even before I did. From filling the days of our family vacations with attractions, dinner reservations, and “scheduled down time” to organizing the order of which stores my friends and I would shop in for perfect efficiency, I have always had a natural instinct for organization and preparation.
After four years at Johnson and Wales University under an event management degree, I was eager to graduate from organizing college fundraisers, tradeshows, and festivals to holding the reigns in planning my own event. During my senior externship I singlehandedly designed, structured, and delivered a free carnival to the youth of my hometown funded purely on local donations.
I was thrilled when an opportunity was presented to return to the company that first gave life to my passion for event planning. I had worked in operations at Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in my early college years, where I gained such a respect for Riverhouse Hospitality. Stunning venues, attention to detail, genuine care for clients, and incredible food quality are just the foundations of this company. I am honored to strengthen and add to those foundations, as I assist the Wedding Sales Manager in making wedding dreams come true.
Operations & Warehouse Manager
Keith grew up in St. Johnsbury Vermont. His love for cooking and food developed from the wonderful dishes that his grandmothers prepared. Keith started out his culinary education with the high school culinary program.
Keith went on to attend the culinary Institute of America. After graduating from the Culinary Institute in 1979 Keith started working as a chef and kitchen manager in restaurants in Westport Connecticut.
In 1986 Keith started into his catering career working for one caterer for 11 years before buying the business with the chef. Keith has free lanced event management for many Fairfield County caterers before joining River House Catering in 2015 as operations and warehouse manager.