Unique Catering Design

Author name: Giovanni

Chef Shawn Henry

We love to talk about ourselves!  And by us, I mean Unique Catering Design.  There are so many wonderful and interesting parts to our company and we look forward in the UCD blog to sharing these with you.  As well as the interesting moments and lessons we learn along the way.  We find us interesting and entertaining and hope that you will be as well!  

The members of the Unique Catering Design team quickly become family.  It is amazing to share our dream and our passion with such like-minded people and we are so genuinely privileged to have each team member that creates and collaborates and works so hard to bring the visions from our clients to become a reality.


Shawn Henry has been with us as Executive Sous Chef for the last year and was a rock throughout the recent changes to the business and continued to run the kitchen and the team alongside Giovanni without waver.  Chef Shawn’s professionalism is one of his many attributes that we appreciate – and now to tell you a little bit more about this former Olympian turned chef!

I know, you want to know about the Olympics….but there are also celebrities too….let’s start from the beginning though.

We asked Shawn what he would like to share about himself and this quote had to be included up front.  ‘I finally feel like I am getting somewhere.  I can be myself and get to be creative.  That I will be able to leave my mark on Miami.’ – Shawn Henry

Born and raised in the US Virgin Islands he started out as a dishwasher.  He then worked at a breakfast diner, which was a big influence on Shawn.  At the age of 18 he ran  his first restaurant Dashi Sushi, in St Croix.

After Dashi Shawn moved to Austria, Innisbruck for 2 summers and 2 winters.  This is where he fell in LOVE with food.  ‘Food is developed differently in different countries and I learned so much from this experience.’  Shawn began his training for the Olympics on the Skeleton in Austria.  He made the trials for the Salt Lake City 2012 Olympics and left with his coach, who also competed in the 2012 games.  When asked ‘Why the skeleton?’ he responded, ‘Loved the rush!’.  ‘Nuf said!

His love of the ocean, boating and the desire to succeed in the culinary arts brought him to Miami.  Shawn opened Meat Market with Sean Brasel and then went on to work at Kitchen 305 at the Newport Beachside Resort, opened Wynwood Kitchen and Bar and then Red Rooster with Marcus Samuelsson for 3 years before making the move into offsite catering with Constellation for 8 years.  He has also had the privilege to be a personal chef and personally provide catering to a number of celebrities including, the Marley family (side gossip – he lived with them in the guest house for a while, yup that happened), Rick Ross, Bobby Smerder and Hassan Whiteside.  And just last week for Swae Lee son’s first birthday, for whom Shawn has become the go to chef for the rapper.

Shawn says, ‘Catering is the best industry to be in as it is ever changing and it’s a challenge and I love a challenge.’  We are so happy Shawn has found a space to spread his wings even further with Unique Catering Design.  Chef Giovanni and Chef Shawn are spending their time between events in the newly opened Test Kitchen that we opened just a few doors down from our commercial kitchen and the collaboration for new dishes and ways of service has been fun to watch!  

A small island native, to skeleton training in Austria, an Olympic hopeful, a Chef with celebrity chefs and celebrities alike has made Shawn dynamic, focused and talented – watch this space there is so much more to Shawn!  One of the Unique Catering Design family!

Wait!  We forgot to mention he is handsome too ladies!

Stevi & Giovanni

We are writing this blog together, in the collaborative spirit we enter into everything together – life, family and our business. Here is hoping our first attempt at writing is a success! *In full honesty we did have an editor for our English…Italian and Greek being our first language it made for some interesting reading before we posted!

We wanted to share our story and our journey in finding our place in Miami and starting Unique Catering Design! It has been amazing and we have learned along the way and we have been able to share in it and been able to creative together so it has been a special road!

We came to South Florida in 2010 and in both our family traditions founded Unique Catering Design, a catering and events company in Miami fully opening in 2016. We wanted to bring sophistication and detail into the catering sphere of Miami. We saw a space for us to bring the best of ingredients and products and provide a dining service within catering with elaborate plating or simple style, basically great food no matter the spirit of the client’s event. Now a decade later we have moved from a boutique company offering bespoke catering to a full service team that still offers that tailored service working with our clients to provide and create details that make the catering of events, so incredibly memorable.

This summer, we traveled with our two children to our homes to visit family and get inspiration organically from our surroundings in Italy and Greece. Giovanni’s parents’ house is located in the countryside close to Milan. We spent some quality time with family and friends. And we sat to eat at trattorias and Michelin starred restaurants alike to remember traditions and experience the techniques of those who have mastered their culinary craft.

Italy is so special in many aspects not only for the rich history, but also for the strong food culture. Growing up there was one of the reasons to become a Chef. Traveling to Italy and to Europe always makes me build a deeper connection to my culture which I love spreading to others. Wandering around food markets, trying different restaurants and attending family gathering is an endless flavor inspiration that gives me the motivation of always creating new recipes and menus.

We then traveled to Stevi’s home in Athens and a few days later to the island of Sifnos on the Aegean Sea of Greece. The calming vibes atmosphere of the island life has provided inspiration to Stevi as the Creative Director of Unique Catering Design. Stevi’s mom and dad cooked for us and the family all dined together at their restaurant with home-made Greek cuisine with emphasis on local seafood. The family opened Tsapi’s Restaurant in 1967 and this is where Stevi spent her childhood during the summer. The simplicity of the gastronomic experience each day spoke to each of us and reaffirmed our belief that the best ingredients showcase themselves in every dish.



Traveling back to Greece for me is vital. Every time I go back to my country I learn more things about my background and this helps me to always be connected to my roots, keeping me grounded while living in Miami. Every trip to Greece is a never ending flavor tasting experience at my family’s restaurant that always leads to culinary and design innovations for us.

Going home, bringing grandchildren to grandparents and remembering the inspiration of our homes that brought us to opening a creative culinary outlet in South Florinda is so important to us. Fresh perspectives and new ideas come with each trip home and we are both looking forward to the season ahead with the same energy, passion and purpose that makes running our company our second greatest joy in life (family first)!


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