Since its founding in 1994, Big Delicious Planet has evolved from two sisters catering backstage for rock bands to a highly successful full-service urban farm-to-table operation with a talented team of event producers, chefs, baristas, servers and bartenders. Throughout BDP's history the mission of the company has stayed constant: to provide high-quality food, eye-catching presentations, and personalized service. These qualities are consistently delivered because of the dedicated women and men of BDP who share a passion for creating one-of-a-kind meals and events.
Heidi Moorman Coudal |
Owner + Culinary Director
Heidi's interest in food began with a copy of her mom's Officers' Wives Club Cookbook. Born in Munich, Germany while her family was living abroad, Heidi lived your typical military kid lifestyle, moving often and to a crazy menu of places: Germany, California, Greece, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Georgia, etc. Wherever they moved, so went the latest copy of the OWC Cookbook and new recipes for her to make with her mom for "bridge night" or dinner parties. Her favorite childhood memories were the summers spent traveling and camping around Europe in the family's red VW van with her mom, three siblings, art books and a Michelin Guide to help them find good places to eat in the towns they visited.
After college, and a semester in India, Heidi moved to Chicago and began working in film production as a production coordinator and producer, and later worked with a rock & roll caterer to help make ends meet. She noticed there was a need for catering to film sets and backstage at concerts, so Big Delicious Planet was spontaneously founded in 1994 with her older sister, Ellen (who has since moved to the UK). BDP's first job was catering backstage for the band Aerosmith at the newly opened United Center, and the company spent 19 years catering at venues such as The Riviera, The Chicago Theater, Alpine Valley, the Aragon, the venue in Tinley Park and many more. During that time, and to this day, BDP catered film and photo shoots, private events, weddings and regular corporate accounts.
Heidi constantly seeks new sources of inspiration to ensure the company's culinary and event teams are evolving and staying passionate in order to be anything but your typical "catered food". Her mantra of "just do it" inspired her to open a cafe, the Canteen, in the front of their West Town kitchen in 2011. That same year Heidi's dream of having an herb garden was realized when she planned and built an incredible urban farm on two adjacent undeveloped city lots. Most notably, in 2013 BDP became the nation's first caterer to earn 4 Star Certified Green Restaurant status, and was named "The Greenest Caterer in America," a title they still hold.
Heidi enjoys dreaming up new concepts from her travels around the world, and the diverse ethnic culture and cuisine of Chicago. She enjoys hot yoga, biking the lakefront, a nice glass of wine and hanging out with her family. Heidi and her husband, Jim, have three children - two daughters (Isabelle and Grace) both at the University of Michigan, and a son (Spencer) at Lane Tech College Prep. She's also a certified "Seriously Badass Woman."
Christen Whitehouse | VP of Event Production
Christen began working at BDP in 2007 as the first official office employee, and in 2017 was named VP of Event Production. She oversees BDP's Event Production team and works with clients through all stages of events, from booking to planning menus to onsite coordination of staff as well as event flow and guest experience. She loves to utilize her graphic design and floral arranging skills, and can help with event design. She took some time off from BDP in 2011 and moved to Bordeaux, where she taught English, traveled around Europe, and most importantly, ate amazing food. Outside of work, she's likely hanging out with family, including toddler Delphine and baby twins Remy + Yann, taking a calligraphy class, or trying new restaurants around the city.
Grace Hamilton | Director of Weddings + Events
Grace joined BDP in 2015 after working with Catalyst Ranch, one of BDP's top clients. Grace works closely with Christen, assisting in all stages of wedding planning. With a background in natural + organic food, and venue management, Grace’s goal is to make your gathering fun and stress-free. Coordinating with local vendors, styling tablescapes, and incorporating natural ingredients and in-season produce are all aspects that drew her to BDP. Grace loves to travel, and while on her adventures find other farm-to-table businesses around the world. Outside of work you’ll likely find her at local live shows, hosting dinner parties for her friends, biking around the city, practicing yoga, and working at a local farmers market.
Sarah Crowley | Digital Marketing Manager
Sarah's background may be marketing, but she's no stranger to hospitality. Throughout college, she worked many service jobs, from catering at a fancy hotel, to a taqueria, where she stood on the side of the road in a taco suit to generate business. She's interned at a hospitality marketing firm, worked in agencies, and was last a project manager for a design + print shop. At BDP, she manages our digital and marketing departments, coordinates the farm dinner series, and helps out with client services, stepping in wherever she's needed. On the weekend she's usually reviewing the next sub shop on her submarine sandwich blog or taking pictures of anything that grows out of the earth.
Chelsey Lange | Event Producer
Chelsey joined BDP's Events team in 2017, as a recent hospitality graduate from the University of Illinois. She assists Christen and Grace with their events and produces many of the events held in BDP's urban farm and in the Canteen. Before graduating, she'd already spent many years in the industry, from working in country clubs where she managed a small staff, to serving in Chicago restaurants like Presidio, she gained an appreciation for attention to detail and service that makes every experience unique. When she’s not working, you can find her taste (and sip!) testing all over the city or jet setting to the West Coast. Entertaining friends in her home and all things plants are where her passions lie.
Michael Jarvis | Client Services Coordinator
After moving to Chicago from Northern Michigan, Michael was drawn to BDP because of the company’s commitment to sustainability and vision of growing wholesome, organic foods in BDP’s urban farm. Michael is responsible for coordinating daily catering operations with clients, managing back of house staff and assisting the events team. From working in the Canteen, to delivery driving, to prepping food in the kitchen and working events — Michael has served many roles at BDP. He lives in Wicker Park with his fiancé, Jeremy, and two cats, Higgs and Hubble. Outside of work he enjoys exploring museums, interior design, planning meals at local farmer’s markets and 90’s horror movies.
Carrie Rubinas | Pastry Chef
Carrie became BDP's Pastry Chef in 2015 after a three year stint as Bang Bang Pie's Head Baker and a couple years as Sous Chef at the now shuttered Birchwood Kitchen. Though admittedly not a cake decorator in the beginning, her wedding cakes are now beautiful works of art. Carrie's commitment to incorporating local and seasonal ingredients into her desserts, along with her passion for concocting innovative concepts has elevated BDP's pastry department. When Carrie's not covered in flour, she enjoys running and biking along the 606 and camping with her husband and their dog.
Lucas Chamberlain | Farmer
Lucas joined BDP in 2015 after spending three years working at Henry's Farm in downstate Illinois, an organic farm with over 230 weekly CSA members. As BDP's farmer, Lucas oversees the entire operation from seed to harvest. He has expanded BDP's organic urban agricultural program to more than 140 varieties of 41 crops. He enjoys giving tours of our urban farm to students and groups interested in sustainability and urban agriculture.
BDP's hardworking kitchen staff is the core of our operation. Early mornings, late nights and many weekends, these folks are committed to cooking outstanding food for every client. Not everyone's pictured, but from left to right: Edelmira (Pantry Cook/Server), Chuy (Dishwasher/Porter), Laura (Pantry Cook), Tom Bronny (Chef de Cuisine), Juan (Kitchen Manager), Juan (Lead Line Cook), Marcos (Lead Line Cook).
Jessi Buzby | Canteen Manager
Our Canteen Manager, Jessi, joined BDP in July of 2016 and makes sure our sunny, little cafe runs smoothy Monday-Friday. Originally from Jefferson City, Missouri, she moved to Chicago four years prior to pursue a career in Cosmetology and is now a licensed cosmetologist. When not working Jessi's likely changing the color of her hair, singing, hanging out with her two dogs, and taking bubble baths.
BDP's Facebook Staff
Since early 2016, BDP's been the in-house caterer for Facebook's Chicago office. Monday through Friday we're over there feeding their rapidly growing team. BDP has a great staff that runs the Facebook catering operation on-site: (from left to right) Chef John Madden, Co-Cafe Managers Shawn Donoghue and Leo Yedor.