Meet Our Crew
23 City Blocks Catering provides flawless execution for all styles and types of events. From corporate meetings and luncheons to weddings for 300, no event is left without a signature touch. Executive Chef Nicholas Miller and his talented team craft from the freshest local ingredients, presenting tantalizing tastes with artistic flair.
Vice President of Operations
Nick has experienced almost every operations area of the hotel, restaurant, and catering food and beverage world. A native of Saint Louis County, Nick graduated from Mizzou with a B. S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management and a minor in Business. He has worked in all areas of operations for Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton properties. Nick joined 23 City Blocks as the General Manager quickly sharing his passion for service excellence with the entire team. Thanks to his proven management record, “Nick J” quickly became Vice President of Operations in 2016. When he is away from the office Nick enjoys everything outdoors, traveling, hockey, and is a connoisseur of fine bourbon whiskey and cigars. Nick’s European roots and world travels gives him a unique perspective of the hospitality field that he is grateful to have as a career and as a way of life.
Corporate Executive Chef
White Chocolate Gnocchi? No problem. Scallop Corndog? A cinch. Custom menu for 300? Easy. Meet Nick, the creative, culinary genius we are lucky to call our own! Nick graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 2001. His experience speaks for itself, working at The Hudson House, the private dining room at Beringer Winery in Saint Helena, California, with Executive Chef David Frakes. In October of 2002, Nick moved to Saint Louis and took a job at Harvest, and seven years after, he and his wife Krissie became the owners. Nick has been named in Best Chef’s America 2013 among many other culinary awards. His forte is farm to table, seasonal ingredients, and his bread pudding has been rumored to be the best dessert in town. The 23 City Blocks team is envious of Nick’s wife and three kids who get to eat anything and everything Nick whips up for dinner.
Director of Sales and Catering
Marianne is an authentic, dedicated, award winning chef turned event manager! She has coordinated culinary events for President Bush, the Washington DC Press Corps, and even transformed the historic Eads Bridge to a catering venue serving 550 guests. You may recognize her as she’s prepared and demonstrated hundreds of new recipes on live morning television shows including The Today Show. For Marianne, the devil is in the details. She took her love for culinary particulars outside of the kitchen and pivoted her career to the event side. She has served as The Director of Catering for the Four Seasons Hotel Saint Louis, The Westin Saint Louis, The Ritz-Carlton Saint Louis, and was the General Manager, Saint Louis Region for Wolfgang Puck Catering. Marianne has also served as an Associate Professor of Hospitality and Food Service Management at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville. While her resume may be long that’s not what she’s most proud of. She loves seeing how culinary and operations teams can work in tandem to bring life to a couples dreams through expertly crafted food and graciously offered service.
Executive Sous Chef
A lifelong Saint Louisan, Brad received his formal training in the Culinary program at Forest Park. He has worked in and has led the kitchen for some of Saint Louis’s best restaurants. Brad was the Executive Chef of Publico and was at the helm when in 2015 they were nominated for the James Beard Foundation National Best New Restaurant award. Brad considers himself a proud connoisseur of all Saint Louis’s culinary curiosities.
Event Services Manager
Erica’s love for service and hospitality began over two decades ago. Her experience is endless having worked with major brands such as Starwood, Hilton, and Marriott. In 2007, Erica had a profound experience helping open The Four Seasons Hotel – Saint Louis then going on to be named both a Four Seasons Luxury Brand Trainer and Employee of the Year during her tenure with the company. Erica has successfully led elaborate weddings, countless cooperate conferences, and even intimate professional sports team dinners. A five-course dinner with wine pairing for 400 guests? No sweat! A breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 500 guests? No problem! Two 500 person dinners back-to-back leading to a concert for 700? No big deal! If you can think it, she can execute it. In her free time, Erica loves to travel and spend time with her daughter.
Senior Event Manager
If you can picture the salsa dancing emoji in the red dress, that would be Afton – inside and out. She brings the charm and thoughtful energy to each and every event she manages. Afton began her career in the hospitality sector at The Loading Dock in tourist-driven Grafton, Illinois where she quickly worked her way from server to Event Coordinator to Director of Marketing & Events. During her 20-year tenure at The Loading Dock, she executed a wide array of events including weddings, corporate retreats, concerts, and galas. Afton’s keen attention to detail, eye for design, and love of logistics have made her a powerhouse in the event industry. Formerly the Founder and Creative Director of White House Weddings + Events, a popular boutique wedding planning business, Afton knows how to ensure a seamless and positive experience for her clients. When not in the office, you can likely find Afton simmering soup on the stove, binge-watching Friends with a bowl of ice cream, or gardening in her backyard with her husband and two young kiddos.
Human Resources Manager
Nicole began crafting her people management skills as far back as she can remember. Her years of attempting to boss her younger brother around, holding leadership positions in various clubs, and being the go-to confidant of friends and co-workers, have helped to craft Nicole’s people management skills. Nicole’s solid relationship building skills shine through with her team members and demonstrate how much she truly cares about her work family. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Media Management and Sales from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Her Hospitality experience began over 20 years ago as a Host and Front Desk agent. Taking care of her guests and co-workers quickly escalated her career and passion for all things people. She has since held the roles of Catering Coordinator, Catering Manager, Sales Manager, Human Resources Coordinator, and now the Human Resources Manager of 23 City Blocks Hospitality Group. When she’s not rallying the troops, flipping a room, or bussing tables with her team, Nicole spends hours at the baseball and soccer fields with her son and husband.