CKC's team is more than 150 people strong and includes skilled chefs, prep staff and servers to make your event a success. Led by Chef Naj, CKC's event catering is versatile, accommodating and professional. Complete the form below to have us cater your next event.
A Minneapolis native, Chef Najil Bagdadi has more than 20 years’ experience cooking diverse cultural and high-end cuisines. He has led CKC event catering since 2018, after 15 years in restaurants including Masa, D’Amico Kitchen, Victory 44 and IE, as well as 2 years with 3 Sons Signature Cuisine Catering. While at 3 Sons, he cooked for events that drew up to 1,000 people.
Chef Naj began his culinary career at age 19 at the acclaimed Minneapolis seafood restaurant Oceanaire. While there, he regularly cooked for celebrities and pro athletes, including the likes of actor Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible), comedian Dave Chappell, comedian-turned-politician Al Franken and NBA player and coach Sam Cassel. Rhames said the sea bass Chef Naj prepared was "excellent.”
The broad array of menus Chef Naj has created for CKC reflect both his professional experience as well as his North African/Middle Eastern roots, his wife’s Mexican heritage and his extensive world travel.
While he’s been cooking a lot of barbecue the past two years, his favorite cuisine to cook and eat is seafood. He says, “I've always been partial to seafood. It's such a vast and diverse category, the healthiest of all the proteins and requires a delicate touch. It’s usually the last protein chefs master in their careers. I was fortunate enough to learn seafood first, starting where I did (Oceanaire).”
Nancy Close’s heart and soul are in the food world, with roots that run deep. Her parents started and ran the popular Highland Park restaurant Caravan Serai, one of the first Afghan restaurants in the U.S. Nancy saw from an early age how the warmth and graciousness of the Afghan culture, combined with delicious food, created a powerful experience for customers. After working in the corporate food world, she took the reins of Caravan Serai from her parents and went on to win numerous awards for her food and service.
In 1990, she started catering meals for her brother's daycare business from the restaurant. Other schools soon expressed interest in her food, leading to the formation of CKC Good Food®. It grew quickly based on Nancy's passion for creating food that was both delicious and nutritious. CKC is now one of the leading school caterers in the nation, providing food to more than 200 sites daily and in excess of 36,000 meals a day.
Through the years, CKC has continued to cater special events for schools, nonprofits and corporate clients. After moving into a larger facility in 2021, the company has the space and staff to ramp up its event catering business.