Knockout Catering Co.

The Knockout Catering Co. is a social enterprise of Opportunity Knocks. We offer the finest and freshest dining experience featuring locally-sourced, scratch made menus that are prepared and served with love by the OK Warriors.

View MenuBook Now

Our Story

Our Culinary Quest

The Knockout Catering Co. offers a variety of high-quality, hand-crafted culinary delights for small to medium-sized events. The KCC  is the second installment in the social enterprise programming at Opportunity Knocks, aiming to create and support meaningful vocational opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Under the direction of OK’s Head Chef, Joe Hart, we created a menu, carved out a commercial production space and developed a safe and supported work environment that allows our Warrior employees to team up with our culinary team to work on all aspects of the operation, from menu planning, food prep, setup, food service, and breakdown. 

Like most things at OK, each of our businesses developed organically out of our Warrior-focused program efforts in the culinary arts. The more work the Knockout Catering crew gets, the more paid Warrior positions we can support. 

Since launching in 2016, Knockout Catering has seen significant growth, year after year. That growth has led to great experiences, awesome community connections and most importantly a visible platform to showcase the abilities of the Warriors that work within the ranks of the Catering Crew.

Our Story

our culinary quest

The Knockout Catering Co. offers a variety of high-quality, hand-crafted culinary delights for small to medium-sized events. The KCC  is the second installment in the social enterprise programming at Opportunity Knocks, aiming to create and support meaningful vocational opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Under the direction of OK’s Head Chef, Joe Hart, we created a menu, carved out a commercial production space and developed a safe and supported work environment that allows our Warrior employees to team up with our culinary team to work on all aspects of the operation, from menu planning, food prep, setup, food service, and breakdown.

Like most things at OK, each of our businesses developed organically out of our Warrior-focused program efforts in the culinary arts. The more work the Knockout Catering crew gets, the more paid Warrior positions we can support.

Since launching in 2016, Knockout Catering has seen significant growth, year after year. That growth has led to great experiences, awesome community connections and most importantly a visible platform to showcase the abilities of the Warriors that work within the ranks of the Catering Crew.

 

Full Service

A Fresh Approach to Catering

The team at Knockout Catering Company will make your next event one to remember with delicious cuisine and memorable service.  We believe in scratch made cooking from locally sourced ingredients and it shows in the flavor of our cuisine. 

From large groups to small affairs, from rustic comfort food to elegant dinner parties, Knockout Catering is sure to make you and your guests have an event to remember.

Full Service

A Fresh Approach to Catering

The team at Knockout Catering Company will make your next event one to remember with delicious cuisine and memorable service.  We believe in scratch made cooking from locally sourced ingredients and it shows in the flavor of our cuisine. 

From large groups to small affairs, from rustic comfort food to elegant dinner parties, Knockout Catering is sure to make you and your guests have an event to remember.

Smoked Goodness

We smoke our own meats. We take great pride in that fact. We can put our brisket out for you as is or we can fashion it in a variety of ways on a sandwich, in a taco or in any way you might like to see the brisket served to you.

Amazing Apps

We offer a full array of options in the sides and apps section of the menu. From things wrapped in bacon to skewers, sliders and potatoes made a variety of ways. We aim to please and can entertain requests.

Taco Bar

We love tacos. We know you do too. We offer tacos in all sorts of ways. All of those ways are delicious. This is one of our flagship offerings and we continue to improve on the offering and the fixings.

Fresh Harvest

We grow our own produce for 5 out of 12 monts of the year. When we are pulling food from the farm, it goes straight to your plate. Salads, sides, apps and vegetarian-based menus come from seed to harvest.

Delicious Desserts

Some of our desserts are wrapped in bacon. Some of them are just regular, non-bacon-wrapped delicious. Our sweet treats are a growing menu, but we have to offer tried, tested and true. Bacon and brownes!

Knockout Pickles

Sandwiches of all kinds. Burgers. Pulled meats. Etc. Meats that are delicious on their own, but made even better by the addition of the line of Knockout Pickles. Dill-icious pickles and delicious meats.

Brisket

We smoke our own meats. We take great pride in that fact. We can put our brisket out for you as is or we can fashion it in a variety of ways on a sandwich, in a taco or in any way you might like to see the brisket served to you.

Amazing Apps

We offer a full array of options in the sides and apps section of the menu. From things wrapped in bacon to skewers, sliders and potatoes made a variety of ways. We aim to please and can entertain requests.

Taco Bar

We love tacos. We know you do too. We offer tacos in all sorts of ways. All of those ways are delicious. This is one of our flagship offerings and we continue to improve on the offering and the fixings.

Fresh Harvest

We grow our own produce for 5 out of 12 monts of the year. When we are pulling food from the farm, it goes straight to your plate. Salads, sides, apps and vegetarian-based menus come from seed to harvest.

Delicious Desserts

Some of our desserts are wrapped in bacon. Some of them are just regular, non-bacon-wrapped delicious. Our sweet treats are a growing menu, but we have to offer tried, tested and true. Bacon and brownes!

Knockout Pickles

Sandwiches of all kinds. Burgers. Pulled meats. Etc. Meats that are delicious on their own, but made even better by the addition of the line of Knockout Pickles. Dill-icious pickles and delicious meats.

Very Locally Sourced

From Our Farm to Your Table

When we say a portion of our ingredients are locally sourced, we mean it! The Knockout Farm is a fully functional urban farm entrenched in our enterprise efforts, producing fresh, organic, Warrior-grown crops that make their way through our catering kitchen and onto your plate. The farm also serves as a key learning space in our programs and a primary source for the key ingredients in our Knockout Pickles.

Very Locally Sourced

from our farm to your table

When we say a portion of our ingredients are locally sourced, we mean it! The Knockout Farm is a fully functional urban farm entrenched in our enterprise efforts, producing fresh, organic, Warrior-grown crops that make their way through our catering kitchen and onto your plate. The farm also serves as a key learning space in our programs and a primary source for the key ingredients in our Knockout Pickles.

Testimonials

What People are Saying

“It’s Right there in the Name!”

It’s right in the name; Knockout Catering provides knockout service! Not only do they have an expansive menu, all the food is locally sourced.  Working with Joe and the Warriors is a great experience; top notch food and service, plus a program that makes an incredible impact on our community.

Michele Zurakowski, Exec. Director of Beyond Hunger, formerly OPRF Food Pantry

“Satisfy the stomach, satisfy the soul”

If there was ever a culinary outfit that rightly deserved the moniker ‘Knockout,’ this is it! Delivering quality that not only satisfies your stomach but also your soul, by empowering young adults who are hardworking, enthusaisic and more dedicated than I could ever be!

Elliott Bambrough, co-host of WGN’s Chicago’s Best

“Top Quality”

We’re big fans of Opportunity Knocks. The combination of a mission we support, great people and top-quality products makes its very easy for us to work with them.

Keith Huizinga, co-Owner of Kinslahger Brewing Co.

“Timely, Professional, Delicious!”

WSSRA has had the pleasure of using Knockout Catering for two events in the last year and their staff were very professional,  the food was delicious, timely and the OK servers are the best!  I would highly recommend you consider using them for your next event!

Marianne Birko, Executive Director of WSSRA (West Suburban Special Recreation Association)

Knockout Impact

Catering with Purpose

We aim to produce high quality food. We also aim to produce a high quality experience. We also aim to build a stage that creates an opportunity for Warriors to perform, create and connect in a meaningful way

Warrior Chefs

People Served

Farm-based Menus

Knockout Impact

Catering with Purpose

We aim to produce high quality food. We also aim to produce a high quality experience. We also aim to build a stage that creates an opportunity for Warriors to perform, create and connect in a meaningful way

Warrior Chefs

People Served

Farm-based Menus

Innovation

Warriors at Work

Our approach to the catering experience features high quality, fresh ingredients and a scratch made menu. In addition to that committment to great food, is a committment to creating quality experiences for Warriors to do quality work.

Innovation

Warriors at Work

Our approach to the catering experience features high quality, fresh ingredients and a scratch made menu. In addition to that committment to great food, is a committment to creating quality experiences for Warriors to do quality work.

Top Skills

Meet the Warrior Culinary Team

Our aim is to sustain meaningful and gainful vocational skill-building opportunities, while also producing a revenue stream to support OK operations. Our Knockout purpose is to support an environment where Warriors can showcase and grow their abilities, while working in a collaborative team setting to make and serve high-quality food.

Joe Hart

Head Chef

Knockout Catering Coordinator

Joe has been the lead culinarian at OK for more than a few years now. With his culinary degree in hand, he has brought a passion for cooking into all aspects of OK programming. He  has also been a force in developing the social enterprises. He sees food and service not only as a way for our Warriors to gain employment but to also carry what they learn into their home environment.

THOMAS ZAINO 

Sous Chef

KNOCKOUT PICKLES COORDINATOR

Thomas role at Opportunity Knocks has grown from the roots. He started out as a part time staff in our programs and his responsibilities has grown ever since. He not only makes pickles for Knockout Pickles but he is also a member of the Knockout Catering team. He brings experience in the kitchen as well as an open mind to learn new skills and help develop opportunities for Warriors. 

MADELEINE GANCER

Warrior Chef 

Madeleine lives in Oak Park and loves being at Opportunity Knocks. In addition to Warrior Catering Company Madeleine works at Scratch restaurant in Oak Park as a hostess and front of house employee. Her favorite parts about WCC is serving the food and taking people’s orders. Madeleine feels that her knife safety skills have improved. She enjoys interacting with customers.

Erik Cox

Warrior Chef (right)

Erik is from Elmwood Park and graduated from the OPRF CITE program in 2015. He works at Buona Beef Catering as well as Warrior Catering Company. His favorite part about Warrior Catering Company is hanging out with his boss, Joe Hart, and interacting with customers. Erik says that Warrior Catering has helped him learn how to be polite, dress professionally, and clean up after himself. Erik has also learned how to use a knife safely and feels that he can focus better since working for Warrior Catering Company.

Matt Cox

Warrior Chef (left)

Recently moved to a new bachelor pad in Elmwood Park where he lives with his twin brother Erik. He recently graduated from the CITE program. Besides catering, he also works for the cleaning crew at In and Out Fitness. He lives life to have fun. His favorite part of being on the catering crew is giving out the food to people and seeing how much they like it. He also like serving and communicating to the back of the house on how things are going.

JACKIE FINN

Warrior Chef 

Jackie is from River Forest and takes pride in being a hard worker. Jackie has a second job at the Brookfield Zoo. Her favorite part about Warrior Catering Company is serving the food. Jackie loves her boss, Joe Hart. Her favorite recipes are the potato salad, pulled pork sandwiches, and grilled cheese. Jackie enjoys working with her friends and is happy to have a job where she can earn some money! One of Jackie’s other favorite hobbies is eating, so it makes sense that she is a Warrior Caterer!

 

GEORGIA HUNTER

Warrior Chef

Georgia lives in Oak Park. She has Down’s Syndrome and is a junior in college at Triton and studying Culinary Arts. Besides WCC, Georgia also works for Empowering Gardens and is a cashier at Trader Joe’s. Her favorite part of WCC is being able to help develop new recipes.

KATRINA JEFFRIES

Warrior Chef

Katrina is a student at the OPRF CITE program and has been a Warrior at Opportunity Knocks for three years. She currently works in the Rush Hospital kitchen in addition to Warrior Catering Company. Katrina’s favorite part about Warrior Catering is cooking and introducing herself to new people. Since Katrina has been an employee at Warrior Catering Company she has improved her knife skills and kitchen safety.

 

Rebecca McIntyre

Warrior Chef

Rebecca has longed worked in food service from her roles at the Happy Apple Pie Co. and Trader Joe’s. She was really excited that Joe Hart saw enough of her talent in programs to want to add her to the team. Rebecca loves learning to make vegetarian recipes and gluten free alternatives and is excited to share her knowledge in menu planning. Her favorite part of catering is getting to work with such a fun team.

CHARLIE O’CONNOR

Warrior Chef

Charlie loves to cook and has learned a lot from his mom, whom he thinks is the best cook ever. He has enjoyed participating in After Opps and Life Shop cooking classes led by Joe Hart and was very excited to be offered a job with Knockout Catering crew. His favorite things to cook are burgers and chicken wings.

 

Zoe Phillpotts

Warrior Chef

Zoe is very excited to be a member of Knockout Catering. She hopes to bring an “international flair” to the menu. She describes her cooking as being very much influenced by Korean and Japanese cuisines. Her favorite part of catering is getting the chance to meet so many new people

 

Top Skills

Meet the Team

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

Joe Hart

Head Chef

Knockout Catering Coordinator

Joe has been the lead culinarian at OK for more than a few years now. With his culinary degree in hand, he has brought a passion for cooking into all aspects of OK programming. He  has also been a force in developing the social enterprises. He sees food and service not only as a way for our Warriors to gain employment but to also carry what they learn into their home environment.

THOMAS ZAINO 

Sous Chef

KNOCKOUT PICKLES COORDINATOR

Thomas role at Opportunity Knocks has grown from the roots. He started out as a part time staff in our programs and his responsibilities has grown ever since. He not only makes pickles for Knockout Pickles but he is also a member of the Knockout Catering team. He brings experience in the kitchen as well as an open mind to learn new skills and help develop opportunities for Warriors. 

MADELEINE GANCER

Warrior Chef 

Madeleine lives in Oak Park and loves being at Opportunity Knocks. In addition to Warrior Catering Company Madeleine works at Scratch restaurant in Oak Park as a hostess and front of house employee. Her favorite parts about WCC is serving the food and taking people’s orders. Madeleine feels that her knife safety skills have improved. She enjoys interacting with customers.

Erik Cox

Warrior Chef (right)

Erik is from Elmwood Park and graduated from the OPRF CITE program in 2015. He works at Buona Beef Catering as well as Warrior Catering Company. His favorite part about Warrior Catering Company is hanging out with his boss, Joe Hart, and interacting with customers. Erik says that Warrior Catering has helped him learn how to be polite, dress professionally, and clean up after himself. Erik has also learned how to use a knife safely and feels that he can focus better since working for Warrior Catering Company.

Matt Cox

Warrior Chef (left)

Recently moved to a new bachelor pad in Elmwood Park where he lives with his twin brother Erik. He recently graduated from the CITE program. Besides catering, he also works for the cleaning crew at In and Out Fitness. He lives life to have fun. His favorite part of being on the catering crew is giving out the food to people and seeing how much they like it. He also like serving and communicating to the back of the house on how things are going.

JACKIE FINN

Warrior Chef 

Jackie is from River Forest and takes pride in being a hard worker. Jackie has a second job at the Brookfield Zoo. Her favorite part about Warrior Catering Company is serving the food. Jackie loves her boss, Joe Hart. Her favorite recipes are the potato salad, pulled pork sandwiches, and grilled cheese. Jackie enjoys working with her friends and is happy to have a job where she can earn some money! One of Jackie’s other favorite hobbies is eating, so it makes sense that she is a Warrior Caterer!

 

GEORGIA HUNTER

Warrior Chef

Georgia lives in Oak Park. She has Down’s Syndrome and is a junior in college at Triton and studying Culinary Arts. Besides WCC, Georgia also works for Empowering Gardens and is a cashier at Trader Joe’s. Her favorite part of WCC is being able to help develop new recipes.

KATRINA JEFFRIES

Warrior Chef

Katrina is a student at the OPRF CITE program and has been a Warrior at Opportunity Knocks for three years. She currently works in the Rush Hospital kitchen in addition to Warrior Catering Company. Katrina’s favorite part about Warrior Catering is cooking and introducing herself to new people. Since Katrina has been an employee at Warrior Catering Company she has improved her knife skills and kitchen safety.

 

Rebecca McIntyre

Warrior Chef

Rebecca has longed worked in food service from her roles at the Happy Apple Pie Co. and Trader Joe’s. She was really excited that Joe Hart saw enough of her talent in programs to want to add her to the team. Rebecca loves learning to make vegetarian recipes and gluten free alternatives and is excited to share her knowledge in menu planning. Her favorite part of catering is getting to work with such a fun team.

CHARLIE O’CONNOR

Warrior Chef

Charlie loves to cook and has learned a lot from his mom, whom he thinks is the best cook ever. He has enjoyed participating in After Opps and Life Shop cooking classes led by Joe Hart and was very excited to be offered a job with Knockout Catering crew. His favorite things to cook are burgers and chicken wings.

 

Zoe Phillpotts

Warrior Chef

Zoe is very excited to be a member of Knockout Catering. She hopes to bring an “international flair” to the menu. She describes her cooking as being very much influenced by Korean and Japanese cuisines. Her favorite part of catering is getting the chance to meet so many new people

 

css.php