Handmade caramelized energy. These are the words used to describe the harmonious flavors Cool Guy Foods infuse to create the most unimaginable and distinctively gourmet food, reminiscent of the smorgasbord equivalent of Billy Joel and Elton John. What makes these culinary mechanics stand out is that they truly understand what it means to provide a hands-free, comprehensive complement to an otherwise high-stress event, and they do it all among a pretty amped backdrop.
So who are Cool Guy Foods? Picture a couple of guys with a passion for food, a desire to cook and the drive to pull off a great gastronomic experience, and you would unveil Cody Wyatt and Jeff Berges. Wyatt explains that he always had an interest in tactile activities which lead him to explore anything with wheels and a motor. Add to this a natural entrepreneurial curiosity, and by age 10 he was already on course to become a businessman. But it was in the summer of the year he turned 13 that the first seeds to owning his own catering company would be planted.
“I was able to come to KC where my father was a chef for Deb Reves Catering,” Wyatt says. “I got to wash dishes backstage at concerts, and it was the coolest job ever—seeing concerts for free, being backstage and making a ton of cash. I was hooked.”
While his love for mechanical engineering never went away, another craving was brewing, and he determined he wanted to make room in his life for both. In a rather haphazard fashion, Wyatt decided to enter a culinary program in Colorado where naturally, he thrived. Once he returned to Kansas City he became the executive chef for Deb Reves Catering and opened restaurants during the offseasons of the concerts. Then, in 2012, he was given the opportunity to buy the catering company and needed a partner in the endeavor. Jeff Berges was an exceptional choice, and Cool Guy Foods was born.
Many of the most critical components of a successful show are the happenings behind the scenes, and having sustainable sustenance before, during and after any high-energy performance is critical. Cool Guy Foods seamlessly master these tasks in almost an ethereal fashion, maintaining professionalism from beginning to end. From the moment the tour trucks pull up, coffee is freshly brewed and plans are already in place for a client-centered feast tailored to meet their needs. Their primary clientele is in the music and film industries, and while some clients are local, they also cater to national and international artists as well. While it would be easy to get caught up in infatuation, these cooking enthusiasts always uphold their standard of distinction.
“They’re not going to walk into a bunch of starstruck servers with us. You have to leave that at home. They get enough of that on stage,” Wyatt says. “Backstage is their home life, where they’re able to be normal and not have to sign an autograph on their way to the buffet table. Sometimes it’s hard. I mean, everyone has that one rock star or that one actor who it’s tough not to stare at, and you want to run up to and be like, ‘OMG I’m your biggest fan!’ But, being professional and not being a fan is very important.”
It would be remiss to discuss a catering business and not mention the food, and for Cool Guy, the most important ingredient is love. They have taken their enthusiasm for food and permeated it into each dish they prepare, and while they have put a remarkable spin on traditional dishes such as succulent chili rubbed rib-eye with braised bok choy and crimini mushrooms, and mouthwatering jerked pork tenderloin with cilantro and date relish, they also have a reputation for the eclectic tastes with the spicy five bean curr. Their raw chocolate avocado mousse pie is said to blow minds.
They do it all, and they do it without error. Clients have the option to taste from an extensive menu including warm goat cheese and tea-smoked duck canapé; flavorful pecan encrusted salmon with brandy maple glaze; fresh field greens with bleu cheese and spiced pecans in tomato vinaigrette; and hearty oxtail soup, just to name a few.
“(Because) Most of our clients live on the road we make them feel at home for the day,” Wyatt says of Cool Guy Foods’ ultimate goal. “We work to keep them relaxed and happy. Our clients work hard and have to perform. We give them the energy and nutrition to make it all happen.”
And exactly how did the name Cool Guy Foods come to be? It was a term of endearment that seemed to suit their vision and was derived from their family of chefs. Simply put, it is used after they witness something that is out of this world or an amazement. One look at how they have mastered the art of creating a remarkable spread, and the name, indeed, is perfectly fitting.