Meet the culinary genius behind your new favorite event space, Elaina Vazquez. As the Chef & Owner of Chicago’s amazing custom catering firm Boutique Bites, Elaina has expanded her creative genius to include a stunning new event & entertaining space, BRIQUE.
Today we are going behind the scenes with our latest gal crush & touring her stunning new space, learning about how she turned her passion into her dream career, and what creative vision really looks like! So strap in, scroll down, and get inspired to take on those big plans!
CURRENTLY BASED IN:
TELL US WHAT YOU DO:
Chef / Owner + Culinary Style Director of Boutique Bites & BRIQUE
WHAT IS BRIQUE?:
Brique is our onsite private events venue. I have owned Boutique Bites Catering for 8 years, and Brique is an extension of that brand. It made sense to build our own venue since most of our clients ask us to help them find a space for their events. I thought to myself: why not build a venue with our aesthetic and a commercial kitchen onsite (which is hard to come by).
We’re not as large as the really big venues that hold 200+, but larger than a restaurant private dining room that only fits 40-60 guests. We built a beautiful room that can accommodate 115 seated with a dance floor or 150 cocktail-style. We host everything from weddings, to rehearsal dinners, to workshops, to corporate functions. Also, we are the exclusive caterer at the space, which makes for a very seamless party planning process.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SPACE?:
The open show kitchen. It is my dream kitchen brought to life. We built a 28ft wall of floor to ceiling shelving. It has white subway tile, a bookshelf ladder, a 12ft marble counter that is on wheels, and I invested in lots of beautiful copper pots. It’s total eye candy for kitchen lovers.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?:
Figuring out how to design an 8,000 square foot space. 4,000 square feet consists of my commercial catering kitchen, and then the rest of the space needed planning and décor. I don’t have an interior design background, so I rely on my sense of style and just try to fill the space with stuff that I love. But every decision takes time to execute, so it has definitely been a labor of love.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO ARRIVE AT SUCH A COHESIVE STYLE & PRESENCE?:
I was inspired by the café/bakery in the movie ‘It’s Complicated’. We wanted BRIQUE to feel like a combination of Napa Valley meets Nantucket, so this really guided the design process. I had a very clear vision of how I wanted my space to make people feel – as if you were in a home that you didn’t want to leave. In order to achieve this, we let the natural beauty of the space speak for itself – exposed brick walls, wooden beams, large windows flooded with light, and then customized the rest of the details to suit a beautiful home – marble counters, chic restrooms, capiz chandeliers.
We hosted our grand opening party last April and so many guests stayed the entire time and told us the same thing when the party was over – “we don’t want to leave”. This was a great feeling!
YOU ARE ALWAYS SUCH AN AMAZING HOSTESS. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET FOR GREAT HOSPITALITY?:
Do as much as you can ahead of time so that you can actually socialize with your guests. You would be surprised at how well most items hold for a few hours.
WE LOVE A GOOD ENTERTAINING TIP, DO YOU HAVE ANY YOU SWEAR BY?:
If you can do just one thing to really put your guests at ease and get the party started when they walk through the door, it’s this – offer them a cocktail or glass of champagne immediately. And remembering small details goes a long way. So if you have a friend who only drinks martinis, hand her one when she takes her coat off. Trust me, you will be perceived as the best hostess ever.
WHERE CAN WE GO TO SEE MORE OF YOUR WORK?:
Boutique Bites just got a wonderful new website, so that is the best place to learn more about our events & offerings. As for social, here are the best places to see what’s happening & a little behind the scenes action: