Chef Jack Fisher stands with one of his company’s most
popular dinner entrees, Chicken Welllington.
Chef Jack Fisher opened his catering business on South
Street 25 years ago because rent was cheap and he was tired
of working from his basement. Now, in the midst of putting
on 170 weddings per year at the Rotunda and 35 other
locations across southeastern Wisconsin, Fisher is barely in
the office at all.
“I never thought
Waukesha would turn into what it has,” Fisher said. “Look at Waukesha
through the eyes of a wedding party - brides walking on cobblestone, the
Riverwalk on a summer day - we’ve got a gold mine here.”
What’s more, Fisher
said, with each wedding at the Rotunda bringing 8,000 people to the city
for an entire weekend, he hopes his business is stimulating the entire
“The wedding party
will take over this little town, eating a fish fry at Dady-Oh’s parking
100 cars in the ramp,” Fisher said. “They say ‘we came to Waukesha and
we feel like really special people because it’s not too big and it’s not
Although he’s worked
in the catering business for decades, putting on events like a state
dinner for former President Bill Clinton and multiple 10,000-person
QuadGraphics holiday parties, being a full-service wedding spot is now
Fisher’s bread and butter. In addition to catering, he and his 60
employees offer planning services, rentals and more.
Chef Jack Fisher stands in the
tasting room of Chef Jack’s Catering on Wednesday.
years ago when Fisher was the head chef at Merrill
Hill’s Country Club, he created the meal for Lisa and
Todd Buchholtz’s wedding. This past summer, Chef Jack’s
catering handled wedding festivities for the couple’s
“Our daughter fell in
love with downtown Waukesha and the (Rotunda), because it was so
different from what everyone else does,” Lisa Buchholtz said. “He went
above and beyond our expectations and we were so happy.”
In the past two years,
Fisher’s business has picked up awards from Wedding Wire, the Knot,
WISN’s A-List and more.
“Things are really
popping in the wedding world for us,” Fisher said. “In the old days,
people found out about these things by word of mouth, but now (using the
Internet and social media), brides are talking to each other, and
Waukesha has become a wedding destination.”
Fisher said he enjoys
a wonderful partnership with Berg Management and the Rotunda, as well as
The Clarke Hotel which recently had foreclosure action filed against it.
Souvenirs of Chef Jack’s
catering, a 1996 state dinner with then-President
Bill Clinton and then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
in Milwaukee are seen Wednesday at Chef Jack’s
with politicians pointing fingers and trying to place
blame regarding the city’s $1.5-million investment in
the former flophouse-turned-hotel, Fisher said it’s done
wonders for his business and downtown as a whole. He
also thinks it can and should be saved.
“When a recipe is
half-right, you don’t throw the whole pot out,” Fisher said. “The right
part of the recipe was the hotel. We would fill every room. The downtown
needs a hotel.”
This time of year,
Fisher and his team are buckling down to help the newly engaged
Christmas and New Year’s brides-to-be plan their special day, and he
couldn’t be happier.
“It’s the one day of
your life,” Fisher said. “You’re going to do it right.”