Chef Andy Schultz is a 2006 graduate of Lowell High School and has been a chef for 13 years. He is using his culinary skills as the Executive Chef for Four Chefs, a west Michigan catering and food delivery business that started in fall 2019. After graduation Schultz obtained his culinary degree he spent two years in Hawaii where he helped open Dukes Beach House in Maui. From there he spent another two years in Colorado Springs as a chef for the Center for Creative Leadership. Finally, returning to West Michigan a decade ago, he was the Executive Chef at Aquinas College and is currently the Executive Chef at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in addition to running Four Chefs. Schultz also has a business degree from Ferris State.
Schultz says he was born into the business as his father, Bob Schultz, is a chef instructor at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. In addition to instructing, the elder Schultz has catered events where while growing up, his son would help prepare in the kitchen. It was through catering a wedding in Lowell in 2019 the two Schultz men in addition to a mother and daughter team the idea for and eventual business of Four Chefs was established.
“It was an outdoor wedding at their house for 120 people. They were remodeling their kitchen, so we only had access to their oven.” says Schultz of the 2019 event. A list of food served at the event incorporated a risotto and gnocchi bar, homemade turkey meatballs with cherry barbecue sauce, charcuterie board, variety of dips, sausage stuffed mushrooms with a balsamic reduction and infused liquor fruit kabobs.
While Chef Andy serves as the Executive Chef, Marla Poterack takes on the role of Director of Events for Four Chefs. The two met while working together at Aquinas College and have made their dream come true when it comes to going into business together. Bob Schultz is called in to help with larger events. The fourth member of the quartet is Poterack’s daughter, Alyvia. She is beginning to get into the industry and learns from the others whenever possible. Chef Andy’s first cooking instruction was with Alyvia where they made a variety of things including pasta, meat pies, ice cream sandwiches, and crab cakes.
Four Chefs provides service in West Michigan, including the lakeshore. The area includes Lowell, Caledonia, Greenville, South Haven, Holland, Dorr, Middleville, and Grandville. For catered events, menus can be customized to suit customers’ needs, although an established menu can be used as a guideline. Depending on the size of an event, accommodations can be made the week of the event if needed. Generally, at least two weeks’ notice is preferred, especially for larger events.
In addition to offering catering services, an online delivery menu offers selections that can be brought to your doorstep. Currently, approximately 55 meals are being delivered each week according to Schultz who says, “Customers are enjoying the home-cooked, from-scratch meals. They tell us it feels like you are eating at a restaurant in their own home.” Typically meals ordered by Wednesday are delivered on Sunday. Meals available are usually changed up every quarter.
When asked what sets Four Chefs apart from others, Schultz says they accommodate what the customer wants for their event. They also buy from local farmers; for example, the beef they use is slaughtered in Calendonia where the business is based. It is important for the business to locally source as many ingredients as possible because of the freshness it brings to the final product. “We like to get involved with the local community to support the local foods.” comments Schultz. “The aroma that is in the kitchen with the fresh ingredients gets the crowd smelling the product and wants them to eat!”
If a seafood dish is on the menu, customers will be ordering Schultz’s favorite cuisine. His experience in Hawaii spoiled him with fresh ingredients. He loves cooking salmon, mahi, halibut, scallops, crab, shrimp, and lobster. In addition to catering events and delivering meals to homes, Four Chefs also offers cooking classes. Examples of sessions include a five-course Italian meal, Mexican-themed dishes, stocks and sauces, southern comfort food, and fish cutting skills.
While Chef Andy is a significant part of running the business and its operations, Poterack is another anchor in the business. Together, the two depend on the other half of their team to round out their group of contributors. Schultz gives credit to Poterack for pushing the business along and thanks his parents “for giving me the drive to do what I love to do, which is cooking”. More information, including how to book a catering event or order meals for delivery, can be found on the Four Chefs website. You can also follow them on Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Four Chefs and used with permission.