Charese John, Founder of Revive Catering Curated by Charese J Chief Creative Officer, SERG. John curates extraordinary catering events under the SERG moniker, leading teams from 20 to 200. As a former Catering Executive for Safeway Corporation and Dean and DeLuca, food innovation and creative dining experiences are John’s innate affinities.
Charese J creates one-of-a-kind, customized catering experiences of effortless opulence that make her the “go-to” around DC’s catering and events scene. From intimate celebrations, Capitol Hill extravaganzas, historical annual social impact events to celebrity soirees.
Charese John is a Culinary Visionary. A native of the DC/Maryland area and an HBCU graduate of Clark Atlanta University.
We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Charese and discuss navigating the holiday season safely.
When did you discover your passion for the Hospitality Industry?
My parents were big dinner party hosts and home entertainers. It seems we were always hosting dinner parties or invited to my Mom’s friends’ homes for one soiree or another. It was a part of our family lifestyle growing up.
As a Marketing major at Clark Atlanta University (HBCU), I often hosted gatherings or “kick-backs.” My circle coined “Food, Folks, and Fun!” Good food, good people, and big fun, it was a vibe before we called it a “vibe.” I was always interested in making things taste and look good in college, and my events feel special. Every December, I was infamous for my Holiday party with friends. It was in conjunction with my Birthday, only a few days before Christmas.
It would be years before I understood and connected “hospitality” as my passion.
Shortly after college, I studied under the tutelage of Chef Marcus Samuelson in NYC and abroad before starting hospitality businesses. Hospitality is in my blood, and it’s a part of my DNA.
What inspired the start of Revive specifically?
Revive started in 2010 as two divisions; a food take-out division (now the infamous DCity Smokehouse, voted the Best BBQ in DC (Washington, Post) ) and Revive Events & Catering (REC) division. We (both teams) had many growing pains over the years, and unbeknownst to us, the two divisions were thriving but opposing one another simultaneously, under the same roof. Our take-out was simple, delicious comfort BBQ cuisine and REC, catering experiences, Food Done Well, and fun! Today, through SERG properties, we have strategies and tactics to effectively serve all of our customers.
We did a soft launch of Charese J Entertaining (CJE) in 2021, but the official launch will occur in 2022. Charese J Entertaining is my “hustle” and expansion spin-off from Revive Events & Catering. CJE focuses on corporate partnerships, political events, and celebrity tastemakers with my signature approach, VEX® – Visionary Experiences. I elevate hospitality experiences for those seeking greatness and a lifestyle done well!. I’m excited to expand the brand to niche hospitality and entertaining, separate from the catering business (Revive Events & Catering).
How did joining the partnership with Southeast Restaurant Group (SERG) align with your current vision for your brand?
@ReviveEvents has always been a sister to DCity Smokehouse, under the Southeast Restaurant Group (SERG) moniker since our start in 2010. The beauty of SERG is we are Proud Leaders in the DC Hospitality Movement – we offer something for everyone;
The Best DC Style BBQ, Catering Done Well, and Niche Private Events; Political, Government, and Personal Tastemaker events.
Tell us about the work you do with SERG, LLC?
At SERG, I’m the CVO, Chief Visionary Officer (CVO). I oversee our properties’ brand vision and projection relative to innovative cuisine, rich culture, and strong social impact—all-important pillars to SERG DC.
What are the three key components of a great event?
Before every event, we make an effort not just to have a checklist but to understand our client’s needs. Understanding the event host expectations is key. Every client is different, and customization is our sweet spot. Three key components to realize client expectations include; flavorful, innovative approaches to the food menu, beautiful aligned table settings, décor, and lighting, with exceptional service. As a bonus, we strive to insert a fun vibe into all of our events. Food Done Well, Life Experienced Beautifully!
Can you share a few tips on hosting events safely during the holiday season?
– Guest should take a rapid home Covid test before they arrive at your party (and the host should have a few home test available just in case)Be Intentional when you host.
what does that mean? How do you want your guest to feel? From the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave.
– Covid has changed our lives but as a host you can still give your guest an experience. Be intentional with every detail, spacing, signage, every decoration and your attire.
– Be comfortable as the host – with your own sparkle/glam as your host the party. Since we know that Covid has changed things. As the host set the rules, such as hand sanitizer when you walk in and around your home; block off certain areas so that people aren’t wandering around the home. Crack a window for circulation, bathroom hand towels that guest can use and throw away. And remember – It’s ok to razzle dazzle your guest with your appearance and attire. Why not?
– For dinner/treats/dessert/finger foods, make sure you create place cards and note dietary restrictions – don’t want anyone getting sick because they ate something without knowing what it is or what is in it. Keep food and place setting spread out on the table/counters. When people are gathering to get food, don’t let them crowd the food area. (Also keep mask available)- Don’t forget the important signature drink (alcohol and non-alcohol)
What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?
I would define a Pretty Woman Who Hustles as a woman who is confident from the inside out yet maintains her “Pretty.” Pretty in personality, energy, and self-care. Resisting world pressures that turn our pretty inside out can be complex, but required. A Pretty Woman Who Hustles is persistent and relentless in achieving her goals. She hustles hard.
Instagram – @ChareseJ
Instagram – @ReviveEventsDC
Site – ChareseJEntertaining
Site – Revive-DC.com
Instagram – DCitySmokehouse
Site – DCitySmokehouse