Mokena Caterer Has Environmental Goals
Mike Buziecki of Mokena's Crazy Fingers Catering wants his food to be as sustainable and environmentally conscious as it is delicious.
Mike Buziecki wants to save the earth through cooking.
His business, Crazy Fingers Catering, is dedicated not only to creating delicious food, but doing it in an environmentally conscious way. He buys locally produced food, organic when he can't get local, and tailors his menus to what's available seasonally.
"We're trying to create the best possible food we can while protecting the environment and managing resources," he said.
This means a lot of research for the 36-year-old chef. He goes to about 12 to 15 farmers markets a week during the summer to meet with local vendors. He has gone throughout the Midwest to check out if the farms raise the food the way they promised.
"When it comes to the beef I'm cooking, I want to know how it was raised," Buziecki said.
So far, business has been going well. He operates out of the St. John's United Church of Christ kitchen, cutting his overhead immensely. He had to scale back last month on the number of cooking demonstrations he gives out of the St. John's kitchen because he was too busy with catering jobs.
He has four part-time employees, but might need to hire more people. Applicants need not have experience, he said. That can be taught.
"Positive attitude is just the most important," Buziecki said.
Twelve years ago, Buziecki was a 24-year-old line cook in Chicago deciding whether to make food his career.
He decided to go to Le Cordon Bleu, now known as the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, to become a full-fledged chef.
Then came Sunday Dinner. The program, affiliated with the Green City Market, offers sustainable food with a local focus. Buziecki started working with their granola bar business and became a market manager of the Green City burger booth.
"I had never tasted food like this," Buziecki said. "Naturally raised pork products and beef products, produce that was picked the day before. It really opened my eyes that this was where I wanted to be."
Coming to Mokena
Chicago, however, wasn't where he wanted to be.
The Willowbrook native wanted to be in a quieter area. More importantly, he wanted to be closer to his girlfriend, who lives here. So he moved to Mokena about 18 months ago and hasn't looked back.
"I like this area a lot," he said.
Then St. John's entered the picture.
"Once I found out St. John's had the proper permit for a business to work out of, that sort of got the ball rolling," he said.
He went before the church council to apply to run Crazy Fingers out of the church kitchen. He's still very involved with the church, cooking for their weekly "Jam Time" kids dinners.
"They're good to me and I'm good to them back," he said.
Buziecki does hope to get his own storefront in the near future, possibly a small diner or café someday.
But that's all in the future for this new business. He wants Crazy Fingers' growth to be as sustainable as the food.
"Right now, starting out, it's one event at a time, one client at a time," he said.