- Meet The Chef -
restaurateur - chef - visionary
From the corridors of Corporate America, to the pantries of most elite commercial kitchens, Vonda McPherson has mastered it all...and she's just getting started. A seasoned Sales Executive for a decade, Vonda McPherson has always had a knack for business, coupled with a flair for aesthetic style and the unforgettable orchestration of event coordination. Her chosen medium to express her creative muse has been the culinary arts and private and corporate event planning. Working for Fortune 500 corporations to the likes of Johnson & Ethicon Division as well as ACS Guidant as a top medical supplies sales executive for years, Vonda McPherson discovered first-hand the successful nuances of professional catering in the high pressured environment of corporate America. During a career transitional period while working as a Sales Executive with digital communications giants Prime Media, Vonda experienced an epiphany of sorts and a restaurateur was born. With a leap of faith, McPherson left the security of her successful corporate career for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship in the risky and sometimes volatile arena of restaurant ownership to pursue her own dreams and not those of others.
In 1998, Vonda McPherson opened her very first restaurant venture in Elizabeth, a bustling downtown business district. BBQ, a neighborhood haven for a community in desperate need of quality food provided with an uncompromising dignified customer service philosophy. In addition to serving as a major employer of local residents, BBQ became known as a destination for traditional Southern BBQ cuisine. Shacks customer reviews were revolutionarily overwhelming from the inception. So much in fact that catering request began to pour in virtually instantly. The need quickly had arisen for Vonda McPherson to conceive a catering company that would expand both her menu offerings as well as her client roster. The makings of Vonda Catering and Events were meticulously fashioned into a formal corporation to commence with serving the catering and special event planning desires of an emerging clientele that spanned from local families and community members to some of the most prominent corporations, organizations and political figures throughout the state of New Jersey. Always looking to give back to others and not satisfied as merely a restaurateur, McPherson was asked to serve in the capacity of Director for the Culinary Arts Ministry of The Shiloh Baptist Church of Plainfield, NJ a vibrant congregation of over 700 members.
The inevitable evolution of Vonda Catering and Events would naturally be to establish destination locales that could successfully serve the needs of original crowd, while simultaneously catering to a new culinary audience. The second restaurant venture launched by the Vonda Inc. Brand was The Greenhouse Café a partnership between Newark Housing Authority in an effort to reinvent to common cafeteria, by introducing healthier, yet equally delicious options. After the success of the Greenhouse Café, McPherson became eager to introduce a new space in which anyone can experience even more sophisticated offerings to the pallet in a completely new space. This new restaurant venture would be totally conceived and designed by Vonda McPherson in every possible conceivable aspect. From menu selection to textile designs and paint swatches, every element of Ms. newest culinary destination originates completely from the vision of Vonda.
Kitchen is the third and most recent restaurant venture to be launched by Vonda McPherson. Kitchen has rapidly become a fixture of one of most historic communities. Nestled on the of the also known as the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD), a Newark neighborhood, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, concept was for a welcoming space that would be strategically placed in the heart of a community on the upswing. This vision has been realized with the opening of the doors to Kitchen. The concept of freshness is not only expressed in food presentation, but in architectural choices. Strong elements of minimalistic European interior design features with an urban twist were specifically chosen by Vonda personally. McPherson has worked to create with Kitchen a most unique dining experience that is unlike any other restaurant in Newark, N.J.