- Cougar Country Cafe
- Chef Bios
Jo Ann Rozzi - Executive Chef/Owner
Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers and French Fries
Favorite part of my job: Making people smile through food
My Line Up in the Family: #4 of 7 (Exact middle child)
Favorite Patron Saint: St. Lawrence, patron saint of chefs and St. Joseph, who I have appointed director of sales
I would like to share a little bit about how I got started. In our house my mom wanted us kids to take 4-H and we had to take cooking. What a disaster! That first year I had to bake six perfect cookies. Well you would think that would only take at the least two dozen cookies. Wrong! Twelve dozen cookies later, I get six perfect cookies. At the time, I didn't understand the difference between teaspoon and tablespoon or baking soda, powder or salt. All three are white. Did it really make a difference!? At that age I knew I was not going to be the next Julia Childs. My family agreed.
Four years later my dad started catering. I became the prep cook. I was the vegetable, fruit and party tray princess. By my senior year in high school, I was promoted to helping cook food for the hot case in my dad's deli/grocery store. At that time, I started thinking about my career path. One day I was with my dad on a catering event at our church when I mentioned the culinary field -- my dad's eyes lit up. I started looking at culinary schools and found Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. I graduated from Johnson & Wales in 1996 with a culinary degree.
From there, I interned at the San Destin Resort in Destin, FL where I worked in the family and fine dining restaurants, the pizzeria and the banquet kitchen. After graduating, I stayed on at the San Destin and worked in the banquet kitchen where I learned food prep for large meals and how to run a banquet kitchen.
In February 1998 I moved to Phoenix where I worked at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in the banquet kitchen and then transferred to the pastry kitchen. Overcoming my 4-H days, I learned the skills of bread making, pastries, and cake decorating.
In 2000 my father was diagnosed with cancer and so I moved back to Kokomo to help. The business grew and in 2005 I was blessed to have my sister Jennifer join me in the family business. Since then we have both been blessed and expanded our business to include the Continental Ballroom, our banquet facility.
I have had the opportunity to share my love of food with so many people. It is an honor to share in very personal life events of our guests -- from birthdays, holidays, weddings, fundraisers, corporate events and even funerals.
I love watching people eating new foods. Food brings people together and I get to be part of that everyday. At the age of eighteen I believe my gift from God was given to me that night at church with my dad -- the gift of cooking. Thank you for letting me share it with you.
Jennifer Rozzi - Event Director/Owner
Favorite part of my job: The variety of creative ideas you get to see and dream up. I love when a client's shoulders drop because their stress is relieved.
My Line Up in the Family: #2 of 7 (Boy, do I act like the oldest though!)
Favorite Patron Saint: St. Jose Maria Escriva; St. Jude and of course Mary. I have lots of others but I narrowed it down.
I love the joy and comfort people experience when they gather together around food. In some small way, I can serve God and his people by dishing up tasty food with attentive service thus allowing our guests to have wonderful, stress-free events.
Jo Ann and I have a great time with our clients. We love serving people which probably comes from our parents. We were brought up in the family business which started out as Rozzi's Market and evolved into Rozzi's Catering.
That desire to serve directed my career path. After attending Indiana State University and receiving a journalism degree, I moved to Phoenix for an adventure. The move was great and one of the best life experiences. While I was in Phoenix, I worked for the Arizona Science Center in events/public relations/marketing. After that I worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America in corporate sponsorship and major gift fund-raising. I loved the joy people experienced when they were part of making someone's dreams come true.
Now I do that every day and I love it. It is an honor to be part of a special celebration whether it is a wedding, baby shower, birthday party, corporate picnic, retirement parties or even, occasionally, helping a family mourn and celebrate a life. Thank you!