Nothing happens without teamwork, and we’re very proud of the group that we’ve assembled. Several of us were adorable as children. See below
Superpower – At this point, staying out of the way.
Leland wrote his first business plan for a restaurant when he was in the 10th grade. As you might imagine, it was a terrible idea and it’s a blessing that he didn’t have the means to execute it or the half-dozen or so that followed it. He developed whatever skill set he might possess in luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants around the country, writing and contributing to a few cookbooks along the way.
Sinplicity Catering was a serendipitous accident created with the talented people that Mr. Atkinson was fortunate enough to surround himself with. Some of them are listed on this page and many more are still here making the magic happen every day.
Earliest food memory: “Hand-cranking peach ice cream on my grandmother’s porch. The milk, cream and fruit all came from not too many steps away on the long-gone family farm. As a child of the electric can opener generation, this was my first realization that things could be so much better if you made them yourself. I thought my arm was going to fall off but I’ll never forget the taste of it. My first ‘close your eyes and savor moment’.”
Lisa Anthony – Operations Director
Superpower – Ability to remember everything about everyone.
We all rely on Lisa’s experience, expertise and common sense to guide us through the weeds. Everyone here counts on her to keep us from doing something silly and on some days, we make that an impossible challenge. She began her foodservice career as a pastry chef and the organizational skills and precision that that position requires translate perfectly to our sometimes organization-averse group.
As one of our most tenured employees, Lisa’s seen it all and has been critical to our success. We miss the days when she split time with the kitchen while developing some of our best recipes.
Favorite Childhood Food Memory: “Grandma and Grandpa’s Fresh Coconut Cake. It was a team effort. Grandma started on the cake and my Grandpa would painstakingly shave fresh coconut for this massive showstopper cake. It was a true labor of love and everyone felt so special to be the recipient of this amazing treat. She never wrote anything down and I am still trying to recreate those recipes today! I likely went into pastry because of my love for my Grandma’s baking.”
David Burger –Executive Chef
Superpowers: Culinary Wizardry. Ability to cost any recipe in 12.3 seconds.
David’s done a great job of bringing order to the chaos of our kitchen. In addition to being a talented cook, he remains calm and steady in the eye of the culinary tornado. Coming in as early as 2 AM, he makes sure that our standards remain high and that everything’s ready on time. As the man says, with a name like Burger, a career in the kitchen was inevitable.
The Chef honed his catering & culinary crafts at Amphora Catering, Air Culinaire, and Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ before joining us in June of 2018.
Earliest food memory: “I think like most people my earliest ones revolve around family and the Holidays. I remember from a very early age my grandmother, mom and her 5 sisters all getting together every New Year’s Eve to make egg noodles. They carry on this tradition every year, and it has now grown to include their grown-up children and grandchildren.”
Vivian Ritchie –Sales & Event Manager
Superpower – Connecting with clients at first contact.
We’re very lucky to have Vivian as the newest member of our team. Her ability to plan meticulously, comfort clients and make all of the many details come together on time without a hitch have made her a valuable asset in a short period of time. After 13 years with Celebrations Catering in Sterling, Vivian decided it was time for fresh challenges. While she misses the emotion and drama of planning weddings & showers and other social milestones, she enjoys the more predictable pace (and weekends off!) that corporate catering offers.
Ms. Ritchie grew up in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and studied International Relations at Centro de Studios in Valencia, Spain before coming to the US in 2000. Her fluency in Spanish really helps us to communicate with our multi-cultural clients and staff. When she’s not working, she and husband Jake enjoy the challenge of raising 5-year old Cassandra and Isabella, who’s almost 2.
Earliest childhood memory: My earliest food memory was visiting my grandma and asking her to make cookies. Her Alfajores (Dulche de Leche Sandwich Cookies) were amazing and the smell of the just-baked wafers would make you drool. Every weekend I would ask my mom to go visit Grandma Rogelia
Jennifer Gual –Catering Coordinator
Superpower – Juggling a hundred thousand details at once.
Like many of our office team, Jennifer began her career in the kitchen. Like Lisa, she trained as a pastry chef at L’Academie de Cuisine and answered the rewarding call of preparing The Most Important Part of Every Meal. While still in school she externed at L’Auberge Provencale in White Post Virginia. Post-graduation, she donned a toque (at a rakish angle, no doubt) in the kitchen of Sweet Crimes, accepting the challenge of creating remarkable gluten-free baked goods and pastries. From there she took over as Pastry Chef for Bayou Bakery in Arlington for almost 4 years.
While she misses the smell of toasting cinnamon and the feel of a rolling pin in her hand, she’s embraced the opportunity to provide excellent customer service and event planning for us and we’re lucky that she made the switch. While doing a great job of taking care of people, she serves an equally challenging role of helping to make sure that the money’s where it’s supposed to be. For that we’re truly grateful!
Earliest childhood food memory: My mom was never big on cooking, so summer visits to Florida to see my aunt were the only times that I would get to cook. Out of all the things she taught me how to make, her beef & potato empanadas were my favorite. Aunt Nazli, or Titi Ness as I called her, was very special to me. She was the person that convinced me I should go to culinary school.
Tori Richardson – Catering Coordinator
Superpower – Holding back an avalanche of chaos and making sense of it all for all of us.
There isn’t a single detail pertaining to your order that doesn’t pass through Tori’s hands and under her watchful eye. She’s the one who makes sure that what’s on your mind and what you’re craving ends up on your guests’ plate.
After getting her Hospitality Management degree from James Madison University, she spent a year as a manager at the Tyson’s Shake Shack. The pace and volume there prepared her for the mayhem that we face here on the busiest of days. While studying at JMU, she worked for boutique caterer Early Katering Company in Harrisonburg. It was that experience that led her to believe that her future lie in catering. We’re very lucky that she followed the path that she’s on.
When she’s not working, Tori and her 3 roommates from JMU plan and execute weekly meals together. They also enjoy playing with Chloe the Wonder Pup, a lovely Lab Mix that keeps them all entertained.
Earliest childhood food memory: When I was four, my sweet, elderly neighbor always invited us kids over to her house to make Jell-O. She boiled the water and we stirred in the powder together. Then, we would go outside and play for a few hours while the Jell-O set in the fridge. When it was finally ready, we would all go back to her house to eat and talk with one another. It was then that I realized how food can bring people together, no matter the age! So much joy could be found with just a simple jiggly bowl of Jell-O!
Pragna Basnet – Catering Coordinator
Superpower: Ability to do anything anyone asks her to do while answering the phone before the second ring.
While attending George Mason University (which she still does, full-time), Pragna worked first at Silver Diner and next at Fogo De Chaõ, honing excellent customer-service skills. While working as a server, she learned how to trust her intuition to sense what her patrons wanted and learned to diffuse tense situations with demanding diners. Those are skills that have served her remarkably well in the time that she’s been with us. We’re looking forward to watching her develop as she gains experience in the industry.
In addition to working and going to school full-time, Pragna helps her brother wrap cars in vinyl and add neon lights underneath. They’re working on a prototype of a Sinplicity delivery van that we should be able to launch soon 😊
Childhood food memory: I grew up in a boarding school in Nepal. We had the same schedule for meals every week but the highlight was on Wednesday (Chicken Chili day). Every week, one of our friends would sneak out back and turn the power off for the dining hall. We would take this 10-second opportunity to steal Chicken Chili from our table-mates’ plates. It wasn’t much but it was the one yummy meal we had every week and back then, us 6-year-olds thought we were pulling heists and eating lavishly in return. As we got older, they figured out why it was only on Wednesday nights that the lights went out in the dining hall. Thankfully, they continued to serve our favorite meal on Wednesday, in spite of our hi-jinks.