About Emerald Coast Catering, Inc., Specializing in beach weddings and catered events Seaside Florid

Emerald Coast Catering
Full Service Event Design
Why just entertain, when you can dazzle?!!
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  Friday February 24. 2017   Chef Serafin & Staff

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Chef Gary Serafin 

Chef Gary Serafin, plating up

Northwest Florida diners have benefited many years from Chef Serafin's talent & efforts in bringing fine cuisine & ambiance to the area.  Jamie's French Restaurant was the first in the region to receive awards from Wine Spectator & Florida Trend Magazine.  Over the seventeen years Chef Serafin ran Jamie's, he stayed at the forefront of gourmet dining trends not only in cuisine, but his wine list as well, creating a unique cellar.  Gary's extensive wine knowledge proved to be the perfect complement to his passion for all types of food, offering paired wine dinners to his loyal clientèle.  Eventually he transformed the quiet European-style atmosphere into a bistro environment offering a variety of cuisines, fusion food & unique wines.

After selling Jamie's, Gary opened a gourmet-to-go market & next sold fine wine for a boutique wholesaler.  These experiences invigorated Chef Serafin.  He has been offering restaurant quality meals to diners for the past six years as... Emerald Coast Catering!

November of 2009 "The Knot" informed us that Emerald Coast Catering was voted by brides to win the "Best of Caterers in North Florida 2010"!!!  We are very proud that all of our efforts with respect to attention to detail, customer service and providing all of our clients with a worry-free event have paid off.  Thank you all!  

Some of Chef Serafin's "official" credentials include:

Certified Professional Food Manager
Experior CFSP #6203032801

National Restaurant Association
ServSafe Certification
ANSI, CFP #6649262

Above, Chef Serafin "plates up" at the Pasta Station.  As you can see, there is signage for each dish served.  Guests love this feature.  The small house did not seem small with the utilization of the action stations.  The Pasta Station was set up in the kitchen and the Grill Station was set up at the front of the house.  The dance floor was at the rear of the house overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. 


Chef Gary on vacation in Belize

Chef Gary on vacation in Belize.  Believe it or not, he insist on cooking almost every night while on holiday!  Travel, perusing the local markets and learning about the area spices and regional dishes is the way he & his wife, Jan, spend their vacations.

At home they love to entertain friends and play with their "duppies", Norman (a Briard), Chloe (a Soft-coated Wheaten Terriorist) & Jacques (a Standard Poodle).  The photo below is Gary with the duppies in February 2009; and no it is not snow it's the beautiful sugar white sands of the Emerald Coast.   

Belize palms





  Chef Gene Arnold

Chef Gene Arnold is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, graduating in 1988.  His interest in becoming a chef is rooted in jobs held during high school and college while working in the hospitality industry. 


Chef Gene moved to Santa Rosa Beach from Pittsburgh in 1993.  It was winter in Pennsylvania when he received a phone call from a chef he had worked with previously.  They told him there was a resort chef position available at Sandestin.  Unfamiliar with Destin, he eagerly accepted the opportunity to fly down and interview; his thinking...worst case it was warm in Florida and perhaps there was a game of golf involved.  He has been here ever since; almost a native of the area after eighteen years!

He has worked as Executive Chef or Sous Chef at several well-renowned local restaurants to include:  Bud & Alley's, Gratzi, Seagars, The Lake Place and Café Spiazzia.  So, many of you have already enjoyed his food at one of these fine restaurants.


When not in the "cheffng" mode, Gene enjoys rock 'n roll music, travel and golf.  Perhaps the Senior PGA for a "retirement career" in the distant future?  Keep practicing those chip shots Chef!  (Have you ever heard of Aqua Golf?)

Chef Gene has a lovely daughter, Miranda, who has already displayed interest in the kitchen helping him cook dinner and acting as food critic!  She is in second grade, a cheerleader and was born in China.  Miranda is the apple of her Daddy's eye!




Susie Bridges
Our resident Pack-out & Install Queen!  A true "design diva", Susie makes certain everything is on board for the event.  You may see her "fluffing" the linens and making certain each design aspect is beautiful. 

When not working at Emerald Coast Catering, she is playing with her two dogs, husband Ron, and granddaughter Bella!  She is so fastidious she actually writes her 91 year old mother in Scotland every week.  She is a gem.


Jimmy Paris
Our Event Coordinator, the best "front of the house" man we know.  His affable humor calms even the most frazzled client!  When not working an event, he is in charge of installation.  This combination is a winner in that he knows the details of each event and makes certain things happen according to schedule during the affair.

His hobbies are hunting, fishing, dining with his lovely wife Pam or playing with his two grandchildren...in that order! 






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Chef Gary Serafin owned Jamie's Wine Bar & Restaurant for seventeen years, serving fine-dining menus with a stellar wine list.  The Pensacola, Florida restaurant was one of the first in the Florida Panhandle to receive the prestigious Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" & one of the first to be listed "Top 100 Restaurants" by Florida Trend Magazine with recipes published in numerous journals and cookbooks.  Thirty years of creating fine-dining menus coupled with the last eleven in catering ensure the quality of food, presentation, & high level of service you will receive from Emerald Coast Catering!  Custom menu requests are welcome.

We are proud that "The Knot" has presented us with their Best Caterer of North Florida award so many times we have been inducted into The Knot Hall of Fame! We have also received Wedding Wire's coveted Brides Choice Award. Thank you to all of our brides for voting on these awards!

Chef Serafin has now opened 30-A Gourmet, delivering restaurant quality meals to your door! 
Heat, plate & enjoy!  To see 30-A Gourmet menus and to order please visit the website,

Copyright (c) 2004-2013, Emerald Coast Catering, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Dept of Bus & Prof Reg, Div of Hotels & Restaurants, Lic. # CAT7601843

Emerald Coast Catering, Inc.
3906 Hwy 98 W, Ste 40, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Destination Wedding Specialists