Our Team

Our all-encompassing catering services span the entire spectrum of special occasions from weddings, galas, fundraisers, corporate meetings and charity golf outings. Our team shares a passion for culinary mastery with thoughtful execution.

Without our many dedicated staff we would not be able to put on such unforgettable events. As a family owned and operated business, Merri-Makers prides itself on its hardworking employees and considers each one to be a member of the family.

Rick & Cynthia Bott


Our story begins in 1978 with Rick Bott, a lifetime resident of Monmouth County and recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, at the inception of his career at his small storefront in Red Bank, NJ. At that little shop on Monmouth Street, Rick meets Cindy, his partner in business and in life. Over the past 40 years, Rick and Cindy have had the privilege of catering over 6,000 unique and custom weddings, nurtured four children (and one grandchild!), and have led Merri-Makers to become one of the distinguished caterers in the country.

Together they run the organization, but Rick learned a long time ago that while he may be the owner of the company, Cindy is the boss.

“Our wish for you is that as you start down the road of life, you grow closer together in friendship and in partnership. We would be honored to work with you to help write part of your love story.” – Rick and Cindy Bott

Jack McCann III

President and Executive Chef

International Caterer’s Association Chef of the Year, Jack is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University. Jack began his career with Merri-Makers in 1991 and has earned the title of President and Executive Chef. His impressive culinary experiences, paired with his commitment to exceeding client expectations, are what contribute to the success of all catered events. Jack marries his vision of cutting edge culinary trends with our client’s expectations to make each and every event a memorable one. His love of food is expressed through everything created in our kitchen.

Laura McCann

VP of Sales and Coordinator at The Ashford Estate

Moving from Maryland to New Jersey in 1996, Laura started with Merri Makers and has grown with the company ever since. Laura always keeps in mind that every event is unique and the details are critical. “I love the excitement and romance of weddings and am excited to start working with you to create one of the most important days of your life.” Laura’s events have been featured in Style Me Pretty, The Knot, NJ Weddings and Cater Source.

Chris Marciniak

Chef and Procurement

Chris has been with Merri-Makers since 2011 and has worked hard to achieve his current position. He sources local seafood and produce from a variety of different vendors to best suite current menus. Chris’s attention to detail and his ability to be creative on his feet make him a valuable addition to The Ashford Estate and off premise events.

Mary Rasmussen

Event Coordinator at Bonnet Island Estate

Mary’s background in sales and service made her a natural fit with Merri-Makers when she began her career here in 2009. She loves having the pleasure of being a part of the beautiful union of two people planning to spend the rest of their lives together. “I am happy to be working with the Merri-Makers Team, who really cares in creating an everlasting event from the start of the wedding planning to the moments that will begin their first day together as husband and wife.”

Andrea Muniak

Event Coordinator at Bonnet Island Estate

Andrea has worked in the hospitality industry since 1999 and knew immediately it was the field she was meant to be in. Andrea joined the Merri Makers team as an Event Consultant at Bonnet Island Estate in 2013 and has loved her journey every step of the way. She is constantly learning new things and staying up on the most recent Wedding Trends. Getting to know her clients on a personal level and helping to create the day of their dreams is an experience she enjoys beyond words. “Working alongside our dedicated kitchen and service staff makes my job fun and exciting. At Merri Makers we are family, and when you hold an event with us, you become family too.”

Gianna Verdoni

Event Coordinator at Mallard Island Yacht Club

Gianna has worked in the hospitality industry since 2005 and has always been passionate about, and committed to helping people. Her tenure with Merri-Makers started in 2008 and has afforded her experience in creating weddings, corporate, and social events. This experience and enthusiasm for the industry are a formidable combination for successful events. Gianna’s work is highly influenced by the belief that meticulous planning leads to flawless execution, accomplished goals, and happy clients. She loves getting to know her clients and catering to each of them to ensure delivering the event of their dreams. Seeing the joy and lasting memories created from this is the reason why she loves working for Merri-Makers.

Patty Kliegerman

Event Coordinator at the Taylor Pavilion

Patty has worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. She joined the Merri Makers team in the Spring of 2018. She has fit right in with her wealth of knowledge and experience. She continues to learn new things and expand on that knowledge, keeping up with new trends and fresh ideas for the benefit of her clients. She loves working with her clients from first meeting, through the entire planning process of their event or celebration; giving each the same dedication, time and attention to detail, and to be there on that day to see their dream and vision come to life. “I am extremely excited to have joined the Merri Makers team; to work alongside a very knowledgeable, professional and caring team; all working towards the same goal of our client’s satisfaction above and beyond their expectations.”

Ellie Trakosis

Maître D’ at Bonnet Island Estate

Ellie has been in the hospitality industry for 24 years. For the past 11 years, she has been the Maitre D’ at the beautiful Bonnet Island Estate creating lasting memories for many brides and grooms. Ellie follows through to make certain every personal touch wanted by the bride is included in her wedding day.

Debbie Holmes

Office Administrator at the Ashford Estate

Debbie has been with Merri-Makers since 2003 and has played many key roles within the company. Debbie assists Laura McCann at The Ashford Estate and works directly with the Bride & Groom to help orchestrate their special day. Debbie lends her welcoming demeanor, kindness, and organizational expertise to each and every event.

“Being a part of the wedding experience with each of our couples is truly rewarding!”

Taylor Bott


Taylor has been involved with the family business since she was 13 years old where she worked in the cafe at Water’s Edge Beach Club. After graduating from Catholic University in 2016, Taylor returned to her Merri-Makers family and works in the payroll and bookkeeping department. As well as working in the office, on weekends you can find Taylor as a bridal attendant at the beautiful Ashford Estate. Any request the bride and groom have, big or small, she is there to assist and make the day as perfect as the couple envisioned.

Justin Jensen

Operations Manager

Justin Jensen has been dedicated to the Merri Makers team for over ten years. He brings a wealth of diversified experience that allows him to excel in directing staff operations, event logistics, and coordination. Justin is uniquely perceptive in identifying and solving problems; a formidable combination that results in successful events. He prides himself on ensuring that every detail is executed as promised to not only fulfill but exceed clients’ expectations.

JC Sweigart

Maître D’ at Bonnet Island Estate

JC began working for Merri-Makers in 2008 as a waiter. Today he oversees the staff at The Bonnet Island Estate as a Maitre d’. His personal goal is to make the bride and grooms dream a reality. Bonnet Island is a 5 star property and JC delivers 5 star service.

Our Gorgeous Venues

The Taylor Pavilion

Discover your dream beach wedding in NJ.

Learn More

Ashford Estate

Surrounded by hundreds of acres of preserved farmland.

Learn More

Mallard Island Yacht Club

Waterfront views in every direction, attention to detail at every turn.

Learn More

Bonnet Island Estate

Let quaint coastal charm make your big day magical.

Learn More