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The Crew

Kristy VerSynder | Owner

Born and raised in majestic Leelanau County, Kristy VerSnyder is co-owner with Vince Tomczak, of Island Thyme Catering located at The Eagle’s Nest in Lake Leelanau. Kristy’s mother was a chef at The Bluebird Restaurant and her father was a commercial fisherman for Carlson’s Fish Market in Leland. Kristy was raised in a restaurant and dreamed of owning a business like Island Thyme, where clients will find an island “retreat” with no worries. Food was the center of their universe and as they say, the rest is history. Preparing the family dinner was truly a “family” event.

While earning her degree in Speech Communication, Kristy found friends who loved anything food. She has worked in all facets of food service – server, hostess, bartender, manager, prep cook, cook and pastry chef. Having worked in several area restaurants, including, The Bluebird Restaurant and Bar, North Country Bar and Grill, Café Manitou and 9 Bean Rows,

Kristy enjoys catering, creating personalized menus for her client’s special day, and event planning while using fresh produce grown locally in Leelanau County. When not making memories and an unforgettable experience at Island Thyme Catering, Kristy loves to work in the multiple gardens at Eagle’s Nest, spend time with family, hike with her two dogs, Rufus and Vida, and fish for perch. Her special passion is traveling which includes discovering and savoring the flavor of new cultures especially tropical islands with all their colors, floral, water and sounds that she has so elegantly re-created at Island Thyme Catering

Vince Tomczak | Owner

Vince Tomczak originally from Flint, Michigan learned his way around the kitchen by helping his Mom and in his early 20’s, he became a chef and worked at The Desert Restaurant in Flint, where he perfected his culinary skills. Vince is co-owner with his wife Kristy VerSnyder, of Island Thyme Catering that prides itself on savoring the flavor of locally grown produce, while creating signature dishes and customized menus with a farm-to-table attitude. In 2002, Vince moved to Leelanau County permanently and started his own business, Peninsula Excavating and Landscaping. Following his decade old dream for working and designing beautiful landscaped gardens, coupled with his artistic natural ability to design with stone including building retaining stone walls, The Eagle’s Nest, a “tropical paradise” retreat located in Leelanau County, was born. Complete with a fully equipped catering kitchen and entertainment space, small vacation rental cottage, built-in pool, and stone patio, The Eagle’s Nest creates memories of a lifetime!

While Vince enjoys being a co-owner of Island Thyme and property manager for The Eagle’s Nest, his passion is being owner of Peninsula Excavating and Landscaping that with more than 25 years of experience behind his team, features all facets of beauty for your property, including, designing and installing flagstone walkways, retaining walls, seating areas and ponds only limited by your imagination!

Alison Hoffman | Sous Chef

To say Alison Hoffman, sous chef, is creative, is an understatement. Alison and Kristy VerSnyder, co-owner of Island Thyme Catering, located at The Eagle’s Nest in Lake Leelanau, met in a coffee shop in 1999 where they both worked and one latte later, a lasting friendship was born. A true culinary artist, Alison, with her positive attitude and love of life, works her magic in the kitchen of Island Thyme Catering, while doing it all – cooking, baking, harvesting herbs from their home grown garden and particularly enjoying working with fresh local produce. She stays cool under pressure (pun intended), while keeping the crew smiling and her guests begging for seconds. Alison is a true friend to everyone which includes many siblings and nieces and nephews and her gorgeous canine, Rocco. She enjoys hiking, taking pics of nature and designing jewelry and clothing, which she has hopes of getting them into local stores and galleries. To share her love of everything beautiful and natural, in the off season, Alison teaches art at The Children’s House.

Kelly Walter | Server

kelly-walter-crew-picTo say that Kelly Walter is just a “server” at Island Thyme Catering is misleading. She is a loyal and dedicated member of the staff who helps with whatever she is called upon to do. From set-up to tear-down, and everything in between, Kelly is there to help make every event special for all guests.

Kelly loves working at Island Thyme. She enjoys interacting with the guests and especially loves hearing their comments about the beautiful appetizers, fabulous food and delicious desserts. Her optimistic and caring attitude assures that guests will feel welcome, comfortable and that they enjoy their special occasion. Kelly also loves being a part of Island Thyme Catering because it allows her the opportunity to work alongside her sister, Chef Kristy. Watching Kristy’s Leelanau catering business grow and hearing all of the positive comments about her cuisine makes Kelly very proud of her sister.

When Kelly is not helping out at Island Thyme, she is a full-time mom and Executive Assistant in Human Resources for Traverse City Area Public Schools.   Her personal passions are providing for her daughter Ella (who also shares Aunt Kristy’s love for cooking), her dog Cocoa and her faith.

Wendy VerSynder | Pastry Chef 

wendy-versnyderAt Island Thyme Catering, everything we make is made from scratch. From appetizers to main dishes; from breads to desserts, everything is custom made just for you. This allows us to have control over the ingredients we use to ensure the highest quality of foods for our clients.

When you arrive at your event, Wendy VerSnyder is the person to thank for that delightful aroma of homemade, freshly baked bread coming out of the kitchen. Her skills as a pastry chef are proven with the smell, flavor and texture of each golden slice. Butter has never spread more smoothly on any other bread. Her positive attitude and work ethic make her in integral part of the Island Thyme kitchen crew.

In her free time, Wendy enjoys spoiling her two granddaughters, boating on Lake Leelanau, morel mushroom hunting and, yes, baking.

 Shaunie Prince | Bartender

shaunie-prince-barShaunie Prince is the bartender and server you want at all of your events. She is an expert at mixing it up with both drinks and conversation. Her positive attitude and excellent work ethic make her a very valuable staff member at Island Thyme Catering. Our guests absolutely love her sunny disposition. With Shaunie, there is never a bad day.

Born and raised in Leelanau, Shaunie loves Northern Michigan. She considers it to be heaven on Earth and enjoys sharing her “Up North” experiences with new people. With 5 grown children, she has a lot of adventure stories to share.

When she is not helping out at Island Thyme Catering, Shaunie devotes her time to rescuing animals. Her fur babies are her passion. In-between serving up great cocktails and saving animals, you can find Shaunie kayaking, relaxing with a good book and traveling with the love of her life.