About the Elan Catering and Services

ari starkman


Ari brings his fresh and creative catering and restaurant experience to The Elan. He began his career in the food and events industry while attending the Berklee School of Music and later he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, the country’s top culinary school. Since graduating, he has developed his culinary skills while working under some of today’s most renowned chefs, including Steven Starr (Buddakhan) and Rocco D’Spirito (Union Pacific).

Most recently, Ari was the General Manager at Sterling Affair, a high-end New York City off-premise catering company which boasts such clients as the Rockefeller family and Columbia and Fordham Universities. There he further developed his management and event planning skills, bringing his distinctive style and stellar service to each and every event he planned and managed. 

He provided clients with his superior attention to detail and dedicated personal service from event conception to completion, ensuring each and every detail from cuisine to décor and staffing was perfected. Under Ari’s ownership and management, The Elan is poised to serve and satisfy its clientele.

christopher waters

executive chef

Chris arrives at The Elan with a variety of culinary experience and a passion for food. Raised in Long Island Chris quickly discovered his appetite to pursue the culinary arts. After years of baking fresh New York bagels, he perfected his talent at TooJay Gourmet Deli in Tampa, FL for over 3 years. To broaden his knowledge, he moved on to become Sous Chef at the Cobb Cinebistro. 

This unique and luxury in-theatre dining experience is where he honed his timing and presentation skills. There, he led his team to two consecutive wins in the Taste of South Tampa competition. Amidst his career, Chris obtained a degree in culinary management from the Art Institute of Tampa, and landed the Banquet Chef position at Doubletree by Hilton. He was the Interim Executive Chef at this 550 Room, downtown Tampa hotel when it housed two states delegates for the Republican National Convention. 

During his tenure at the Doubletree, Chris refined his abilities in quality control and communication. His innate leadership ability, work ethic and undeniable affection for food prove to be a winning combination.

david pachanian

Chief Operational Manager of Peter the Great in partnership with the elan catering & events

David brings his exquisite Russian & Eastern European restaurant and catering experience now to The Elan. He was formerly the owner and operator of “Peter The Great Restaurant Manor” in Nutley, New Jersey. David began his career in the food and event industry in the late 1990’s, after many years of running his own entertainment and party planning company, servicing the East Coast and Canada. 

He provides clients with superior attention to detail from the conception to the completion of each event. David always creates a comfortable and cozy ambiance for his customers for every occasion. Whether it’s a small group gathering to enjoy his delectable cuisine and in house entertainment, or a large event gathering for the most memorable occasion, David’s food and service is sure to please.

Erika Nina

Event Management

Erika has been in event management for over 5 years and thoroughly enjoys the event planning industry. She graduated from NJCU with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Erika always had a knack for event planning and quickly knew it was the field she would thrive in. Starting out at the Palisadium USA in Fort Lee, NJ Erika quickly rose from Office Manager to Head of Catering Sales. From there she joined the team at Pines Manor to excel in her career.

From weddings, social, cooperate and expo events Erika goes above and beyond for her clients and always delivers nothing but the best from beginning to end.