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meet the team

Bonnie Altholz   Bonnie Altholz
Director of Special Events

An accomplished Chef, Professional Baker, and a background in NYC restaurant management, Bonnie brought diversity and added knowledge to Certé from day one that compliments the most challenging of events. She currently oversees the company's larger, high-volume clients and has been working a mere step from Chef Sylvia since Certé's inception. Creating a bond of trust with each client she manages is the pinnacle of Bonnie's business philosophy, which partners perfectly with Certé's core values. Her extensive experience in catering and event production enables her to produce high end, large scale events. Bonnie believes in not only bringing her client's vision to life, but also delivering the ultimate "Wow Factor" to each and every event.

When she has a day off (which is rare!), Bonnie likes to keep in shape, attends Broadway shows, and is a sports enthusiast ... with a love for football, basketball, tennis, hockey, and Yankee baseball (players).
PJ Jordan   PJ Jordan
Client Relations Director/Business Development

With over 20 years of hospitality experience in catering, fine dining and hotel management, PJ is heavily involved in the growth of the company and ensures that our communications and customer services retain their high standards, as well as supporting the company with sales and marketing & social media at both Certé and Pizza by Certé. She has an immense list of duties but basically, her job revolves around making clients happy! She also heads up our "green" marketing efforts and assists Chef Sylvia in his efforts to reduce our carbon footprint over at Pizza by Certé. So in addition to following up to ensure 100% customer satisfaction, PJ is the go-to person for a multitude of questions, concerns, unsolved mysteries and general "repairs". She is known for having an overbearing tenacity, an infectious laugh, is a perfectionist, and has an insatiable need to please others.

A passionate foodie, PJ likes cooking her native Southern food, looking for Chef Sylvia's next great composition, & spends the first 9 months of the year anxiously awaiting the beginning of Football season. Her mantra is: "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone"
Jennifer Hurley   Jennifer Hurley
Event Planner

Approaching each client with a "client-first" mentality, clients appreciate Jennifer's calm demeanor throughout the planning process and her attention to detail the day of. She believes that every event should be perfect, no matter the budget. She works with Chef Sylvia to carefully craft menus that consistently deliver over-the-top results and unique flavor combinations. Graduating from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor's Degree in Food Service Management, her years of experience allows her to translate those expectations to our operations team to make it happen! When she goes to an event organized by someone else, she still cannot help switch off and enjoy not being in the driver's seat for once. NO! Instead she goes on auto pilot, opening doors, directing people, solving other people's problems. It's in her blood!
Alicia Baratta   Alicia Baratta
Event Sales & Planning

Our newest Team member, Alicia offer new clients a seamless transition from the initial selection of Certé to final execution of even the smallest event. Her knowledge and understanding of what is needed to transform a client's communication into a live experience is what makes the on-boarding process with a client flawless. Alicia comes from a family restaurant background and her genuine love of food started at a young age. She loves the thrill & anticipation of the first meeting with the client, to seeing the dust settle afterwards. Alicia is a "rush junkie" and lives for the reward of satisfaction on the clients' faces. After all the craziness and troubleshooting that goes into planning an event, she is right at home in the fast-paced environment where you truly have to be on top of your game. And, we're pretty sure she has a Waterproof notepad in her shower (yes, they really do make those).
Robert Montes   Robert Montes
Kitchen Manager

Another long-time employee of Certé, Robert worked his way up through the ranks starting as a dishwasher in 2001. He has been educated & groomed by Chef Sylvia, worked daily side by side with him for many years before taking over as Kitchen Manager, and is still relatively sane. He oversees all kitchen production and brings many years of culinary experience to the team. His resilience and stamina allow our customers the flexibility to challenge Certé with the most vital requests. Robert ensures all your food is cooked to perfection and presented beautifully. Chef Sylvia remarks "having Robert in the kitchen allows me the time to focus on the creative end of the business and builds an uncommon bridge between the kitchen and the front of the house."

On a rare day off, Robert likes spending time with his family, martial arts and surprisingly ... cooking at home.
Carlos Ramirez   Carlos Ramirez
Counter Intelligence

Bringing outstanding organizational skills and extensive experience to the position of "Counter Intelligence," Carlos oversees the important day-to-day production of our Retail Counter and small delivery operations. Originally from Mexico City, but a Manhattanite for over 25 years and a member of the Certé Team for over 14 years, he ensures no one has to wait when they order for delivery, or come into the store to order in person. He safeguards our menu offerings and guarantees the quality of the food is respected and held to the higher standards set by Chef Sylvia. Carlos' unique ability to be everywhere in a high-volume, high-pressured, fast-paced environment while ensuring every order is correctly prepared, packed appropriately, and delivered on time makes him a powerful asset to Certé. He takes the "bull by the horns" to get things done and find solutions when no one else can, a dedicated team member who shares our food and management philosophy.

When he's not up to his elbows in orders, he relishes spending as much time with his family and 2 children as possible.
Chef Marc Trujillo   Chef Marc Trujillo
Director of Culinary Operations

Hailing from Long Island, Chef Marc has 20 years experience in NYC kitchens. Responsible for the overall operations for the back of the house both Certé & Pizza by Certé, he supervises Health Dept. regulations & makes sure all standards are met in the kitchen. He sources all food for both stores, and ensures all vendors selected meet Certés philosophy of food, and the ingredients are only of the highest quality. In a time when your average dish contains out of season ingredients from far-flung countries across the globe, and meat, fish, and dairy from questionable sources, Chef Marc's careful sourcing of ingredients gives a deeper meaning to the trendy and often inappropriately used "Farm to Table" philosophy.

Chef Marc attended the Culinary Institute of America and we actually have seen him chasing a vendor down 5th Avenue because of some over-ripe berries that were delivered.
Cleopatra Clarke   Cleopatra Clarke

Cleo started college, not in the Accounting field at all, but in Forensic Science. While working as a receptionist, her eye for details and keen attention to numbers soon landed her a position in the Accounting department, which further convinced her to pursue an Accounting degree. She does, however, utilize some of the skills she learned in the field of Forensics … as she examines all things under a microscope. A native of Ghana, and having experienced dishes from different cultures coupled with enjoying food from several ethnicities, it only seemed natural she would marry a Chef.

On her spare days, usually just Sundays, Cleo relaxes at home and watches football or western movies with her husband & son.
  Pizza by Certé
Diego Ayala   Diego Ayala
Back of the House Manager/Pizza by Certé

Diego began his career at Certé in 2004 as a dishwasher. After a mere 2 weeks, Chef Sylvia put him behind a sauté pan and he's been cooking ever since--becoming a vital member of our kitchen team. Over a year and a half before Pizza by Certé opened, he assisted Chef Sylvia with the pizza dough technique, which actually took a year to perfect. He became fascinated with all aspects of being a "green" restaurant and began helping with all recipes and procedures to guarantee the "made from scratch" concept using fresh, local ingredients (no cans here). Making sauce from fresh tomatoes, house made pasta and dough, along with ensuring we stay within the policies of a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant can be grueling. Diego manages to do it all with a big smile.

When he's not cooking up a storm, you'll find Diego working out, playing basketball and experimenting with new dishes.
Victor   Victor Guzman
Front of the House Manager/Pizza by Certé

Working in the food industry for over 12 years in the FOH, Victor knows the progression from kitchen to the customer and the importance of make every single person happy. He is also seriously rooted by the sustainability aspect of Pizza by Certé and ensures we stay true to reducing our carbon footprint and keeping our certification as a 3-Star Green Restaurant. Victor is genuinely rewarded by seeing every customer leave with a smile, and we seriously think he has a shrine at home with "Customer" in huge neon letters that he worships every day.
Joseph Spagna, Jr.   Joseph Spagna, Jr.
Environmental Consultant

Born in the Great Depression, Joe "Pops" has developed a natural ability to be environmentally-friendly without having to make an effort! The majority of his life was spent owning and operating a highly successful waste management business. He was recruited from retirement to oversee the composting and waste separation at Pizza by Certé to ensure we maintain an appropriate measure of compliance with our 3-Star status with the Green Restaurant Association.

Pops is an avid traveler and has a student's pilot license, likes to hit the golf course and values time with his grandchildren.
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