The Soiree team includes the most dedicated and talented group of experts in the field of catering and events, from dishwashers to chefs to the executive director, everyone has a love for food and the art of entertaining.
Rich Liblang joined Soiree in early 2009 and has an extensive 20 year background in food service management and event planning. With a degree in hospitality administration, Rich started his career in Atlanta in the event industry planning corporate functions, followed by 10 years as a restaurant operator of a café in Decatur before returning to the excitement of the industry. Having planned intimate dinners for President Carter to orchestrating 500 plus guest receptions in the middle of a National Golf Tournament, Rich has the ability to reassure that every event will be perfect.
In his free time, Rich loves to travel to new cities exploring architecture and trying unique foods.
Marketing Director & Event Sales
Mike Gerry joined Soiree as an Event Manager in the summer of 2014 while between companies in the software industry. While his background, including an MIS Business Degree from Auburn University, is in sales in the tech world, Mike’s previous bartending experience and customer service shined through as a valuable team member. The plan may have been to return to the tech world, but instead Mike really enjoyed the “every day is a new day” of the event industry and saw an opportunity to make an impact for Soiree by taking over marketing. Now Mike has also brought his Raving Fans mentality that was embedded into him at his first software job, to Soiree’s sales and event planning where he has executed events of all kinds and sizes.
When Mike isn’t at an event, you can probably find Mike at a show enjoying his true passion where he moonlights as a live music photographer in his spare time.
Mary Hataway Owner/Chef
Prior to starting Soiree Catering and Events in the spring of 2004, Chef Mary Hataway owned Atlanta restaurant The Patio By The River (now Canoe) for twenty years. Mary has been honored by many top tier publications including Vogue, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Wine Spectator as one of America’s top female chefs; and she has had numerous appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America. Mary has catered events for luminaries such as Julia Child, the Emperor of Japan – Akihito, Bo Derek, Whitney Houston, Andrew Young, and so many more. Mary was recently named the 2019 recipient of the esteemed Industry Icon Award by Modern Luxury Weddings.
Director of Sales
Larry Couzens has been with Soiree since the spring of 2005 and was Soiree’s first full time event manager. With over 30 years of experience in the restaurant and hotel management industry, Larry was quickly promoted to Director of Sales in 2009.
Kelly Lassiter joined the Soiree team in the fall of 2009 as an intern and a graduate of The Florida State University. Originally moving to Atlanta to focus on a career as a wedding planner, Kelly quickly discovered that so many events are centered around food! Having worked in restaurants throughout college, and marrying a chef, catering seemed to be her calling. Kelly’s attention to detail and customer service led to a full-time position as a member of the Sales Team. When she is not at Soiree or at one of her many events around the city- she enjoys discovering new spots for “food research”, antiquing, and spending time with her husband and daughter at home.
Edwin Orihuela is Soiree’s Executive Head Chef. Edwin comes from a long background of Chefs in Peru and started cooking himself at a very young age. While Edwin grew up in the kitchen, he graduated from Universidad Nacianal Centro Del Peru in 2003, majoring in Physics and Mathematics. Edwin traveled to the USA in 2004 and started working at Anthony’s Fine Dining. The same year, he also started working with Soiree Catering and Events in the kitchen doing an assortment of jobs. Now he is the honored Head Chef at Soiree with a passion for spreading his art through food and making sure every guest leaves remembering their dining experience.