I was raised in and around NYC in a home where food was very important. My Austrian mom was a corporate meeting planner for a Fortune 500 company. Her long career was spent planning for large meetings all over the world. I recall listening to her fascinated as she returned from an exhausting trip. These stories of all the hard work and dedication involved in the Hospitality industry are where I got my inspiration.
I enrolled sight unseen to the University of Denver and received a BSBA in business, with a major in Hotel/Restaurant management.
From there I was fortunate to work at some truly excellent Hotels and Resorts alongside some remarkable professionals. This 20+ year career took me from Silverado Resort in Napa to the Fairmont in Dallas, with many other stops in between. I am grateful for the experience I gained at these properties by running top-notch catering, banquet and restaurant departments.
The opportunity to be involved in Gil's as a Caterer in Dallas arose in 1999 and the rest is history. What excites me to this day is the satisfaction of pleasing a customer. When working with this excellent team at Gil's, all our planning and hard work is rewarded when we hear glowing reviews from our clients. I am passionate about putting together the best Team available, and then leading them so they may all succeed.
I live in Dallas and when I’m not working, I spend much of my time with my large and busy family. My children are very active with sports and school. They brighten every day and keep my sense of humor well-toned. My pastimes include cooking, landscaping, all forms of exercise. the Martial Arts, reading, and chess.
Chef Sparks has worked at DFW Lakes Hilton Conference Center, Marriot Hotels and Sodexo Corporate Food Division as well as many of DFW's high profile culinary events. In 2001 James was recruited by Gils Elegant Catering. He has worked as General Manager and Executive Chef on many prestigious events such as Dallas Cattle Baron's Ball, five consecutive Frontiers of Flight Gala's and 3 Consecutive Kenneth Copeland Ministry Conferences as well as 1000's of weddings, corporate fund raisers and social events over the past 15 years.
Dir. of Catering
Growing up where the kitchen table was truly the center of our home, a love for food and strong sense of family just came natural. The dishes were never really dry and put away before the planning of the next meal or party was already in the works. Everyone was involved and it seemed to be the one place where even four generations could all find a common interest.
Being from a very diverse neighborhood in New England, I was exposed to many different cultures and fortunate to experience many unique customs and traditions.
My simple love for food and a natural ease of entertaining, started as a home based catering hobby and then quickly lead to a successful full service catering restaurant venture in North Texas. The simple business motto caught on quickly â€śWhy shouldnâ€™t Every Day be Gourmet?â€ť
Now as the Director of Catering, my life long passion for food and the love of entertaining allows me to help people every day, host their memorable events. When each and every detail has been perfectly attended to, it is simply what I callâ€¦â€ťEntertaining with Easeâ€ť and â€śElegance for Every Occasion.â€ť
It is exciting for me to work with an executive chef and a culinary team who are so committed to keeping up with the newest trends in our industry. â€śFood is like Fashionâ€ť so we continue to keep our menus current. We strive to ensure that even the most discriminating connoisseur is always impressed by our fabulous flavors and spectacular presentations!
From a small intimate gathering in your home to an elaborate social or corporate event, it is truly a pleasure to have a strong sense of security knowing that both the service and culinary teams will deliver everything I promise. The standard of excellence of Gilâ€™s Elegant Catering is truly what has been, and continues to make us a premier catering company in the Metroplex of which I am thrilled to a part of!
Dir. of Sales and Marketing
I was born into a family that loved to cook and entertain. My mother's food was delicious and each night we had dinner together as a family. But these were not your typical dinners; These were three course gourmet dinners. Word spread that my mother was a great cook and she began catering from home which she coined "catering for college". Through the years, that grew into a full restaurant and catering company called "Cock of the Walk." After I graduated with my BS in Marketing & Sales from the University of Texas as Arlington, I immediately began to work in her restaurant full time. Eventually we sold the restaurant and I continued down the path in the event planning world.
The City Club of Fort Worth hired me as their Wedding Coordinator and I could not have been more blessed. I was part of their remarkable team for 2 Â˝ years and acted like a sponge, absorbing and learning everything I could about the wedding & catering industry.
With my newfound confidence, my next move was to the Warwick Melrose Hotel, Dallas where I was hired as the Social Catering Manager and eventually promoted to the Director of Social Catering. I remember when I first moved to Sherman, Texas when I was 13 years old and my mother and I used to take Mother Daughter dates to Dallas. On one such occasion we had brunch at the Melrose and I remember saying to her "I wish I could to work here some day". Twelve years later there I was sitting in my office fulfilling my dream!
And that is exactly what I am still doing! It is a privilege to be part of Gil's Elegant Catering where I am continuing to employ my talents in Catering & Sales. Many times the food is the Heart & Soul of an event and I am proud that Gil's Elegant Catering can bring that to the table!