Lakefront elegance meets culinary excellence

Relish Events at Independence Grove serves as new on-side caterer

John Eggert expanded his catering business in opening Relish Events at Independence Grove, located within the Libertyville forest preserve.

LIBERTYVILLE – John Eggert’s culinary journey ignited during his childhood.

Eggert has vivid memories of the moment his passion for cooking began to sizzle. Eggert was 8 years old when his mom showed him how to make scrambled eggs.

“My mind was blown away from that point on,” he said.

It sparked the imaginative transformation of his kitchen into a pretend restaurant. He and his younger sister assumed roles. She took food orders. He crafted the dishes.

Although his passion for cooking grew, his mother cautioned him about the demanding and challenging nature of the hospitality industry. This led Eggert to choose business studies at Indiana University.

“After completing a business internship, I came to the realization that I truly missed cooking,” Eggert said. “I realized that I needed to discover a way to combine business and accounting and the creative aspects of culinary arts.”

Fast-forward a couple of decades. Eggert has achieved this by establishing and running Relish Catering Kitchen, which is located in Schaumburg.

“I was determined to find a way to merge cooking and operating a successful business,” Eggert said.

As director of operations, Eggert has grown the catering company from the ground up over the past 10 years.

“I love the aspect of making people happy with food,” he said.

A year ago, his company took over management of the restaurant, bar and concessions at Palatine Hills Golf Course.

In January, he expanded again within the Lake County Forest Preserves.

Relish Events at Independence Grove, located within the Libertyville forest preserve, now serves as the on-site caterer for special occasions and operates the outdoor cafe.

While touring the unique space in 2022, Eggert said he could picture his company operating at the popular forest preserve.

“Perfectly nestled on a 129-acre lake with nearby native gardens and rustic woods, it’s a picture-perfect location for any event,” he said.

Bookings are available for weddings and social and corporate events at any scale.

“We strive to synchronize our menus with the ambiance of the space,” Eggert said. “Our goal is to harmonize the food options with the Midwestern prairie-style atmosphere.”

Prioritizing local ingredients whenever feasible is important to the company. The outdoor cafe, operational from spring through fall, will showcase a refreshed menu and collaborate closely with the Beer Garden at Independence Grove that is operated by the Forest Preserves. The menu will feature summer staples such as hotdogs and hamburgers, complemented by an array of flatbreads and innovative culinary creations.

“Guests have the opportunity to enjoy a craft beer and order a meal or snack to be served from the cafe,” Eggert said.

The business owner is inspiring his chef to unleash creativity.

“We plan to serve menu items that are truly Instagram worthy,” he said.

When brainstorming the name of the business, Eggert sought inspiration from his Chicago roots and stumbled upon the word “relish” at a party.

“I like the double meaning of the word. Firstly, to enjoy something with delight and secondly, the condiment that is synonymous with the Chicago-style hot dog,” Eggert said. “And here we are almost 11 years later.”

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Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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