About Us

Signature Caterers was established in 2000 by Larry Dekelbaum and Shaukat Karimi. In 2017, the executive team welcomed Chef Erez Mergi, who came to us from the Angelica Restaurant in Jerusalem.

We’re proud to say we work tirelessly to please you. We’ve prepared just about every dish you can imagine. You’ll love the quality of our food.

You’ll also love our service. In addition to making your guests happy, we also make sure you’re happy. Before every event, we ask our clients what their favorite drink and menu items are, so that we can bring them to you while you enjoy the event.

There is an art and a science to what we do. Quality is just part of the recipe. There’s also time, care, and attention to detail.

With Signature, you have a single point of contact from day one until your event is over. We believe that there can never be too many meetings or phone calls to create your perfect event, so always get in touch with questions, concerns, details, and changes of plan. We don’t cut corners.

We’ve held events at the Library of Congress, the Israeli Embassy, the Willard, the Four Seasons, and the Ritz Carlton, local synagogues, and many other venues across Maryland, Virginia, and the District, as well as in homes and backyards just like yours.

We’re involved with our community and help local organizations with discounted events.

In 2019, we introduce a brand-new 15,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Rockville, Maryland. We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our service to you.

Our Staff

Debra Abramowitz, Director of Sales

  1. Favorite part of any event? The moment when a couple is officially announced into their wedding reception and seeing the joy on their faces as I open the door for them!
  2. Favorite food? Erez’s tuna tartar. A perfectly grilled medium-rare steak with chimichurri. A nice cheese display to include ashed chevre with a bottle of dry white wine.
  3. Dream event location? Anywhere my favorite people are with me!
  4. Earliest memory related to food? Sitting on the counter in my grandmother’s apartment and cooking dinner with her every visit.
  5. What would we find in your refrigerator right now? 4 different kinds of mustards, various homemade dressings and marinades, dry white wine, almond milk, Greek yogurt, Max’s chipotle sauce, eggs, butter, Temptee cream cheese, fresh herbs (mostly dill and cilantro), assorted cheeses, and most of the Asian sauce aisle from H-Mart.
  6. Hometown? Monroe, NY — home of Velveeta!
  7. Useless talent? As an avid collector of vintage kitchen wares, I am able to spot Pyrex in antique markets within minutes. I also know every word to the 10-minute version of Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and the musicals “Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent,” and “Les Miserables.”
  8. Most exotic food ever eaten or cooked? Kangaroo and alligator — both cooked and eaten.

Erez Mergi, Executive Chef

  1. Favorite part of any event? When everything is set, right before the event begins.
  2. Favorite food? My mother’s braised fish that she would serve every Shabbat.
  3. Dream event location? On a beach or mountain top – doesn’t matter, just needs a great view!
  4. Earliest memory related to food? Helping my mom bake special molded cookies.
  5. What would we find in your refrigerator right now? Eggs, vegetables, cheeses, Coca Cola, pickles, condiments, things to make sandwiches with.
  6. Hometown? Jerusalem, Israel.
  7. Useless talent? (no answer – he just giggled)
  8. Most exotic food ever eaten or cooked?  Eaten — fried grasshopper and scallions on a stick in Thailand. Cooked — langoustine, wild quail.

Justin Dekelbaum, Director of Catering 

  1. Favorite part of any event? I’m biased. I love weddings. The pure joy of the bride and groom carry over to all the guests, and to the caterer. When the groom is danced over to his bride with all his friends singing and dancing, that moment can’t be beat. Sometimes our staff get in on the action too. It is addictive.
  2. Favorite food? An aged thick fillet steak, seasoned with salt, pepper, and some chili flakes. For the sides, I will take homemade fries and roasted cauliflower. I also need a cold beer or a glass of wine. 
  3. Dream event location? On the beach on an island with clear ocean water. The island must have good fishing.
  4. Earliest memory related to food? Every Thanksgiving I would go to my grandmother Anita’s house and make pumpkin bread. She had the best recipe. The bowl was licked clean every time.
  5. What would we find in your refrigerator right now? Beer, wine, eggs, cheese (4 kinds), fresh parsley, lemon, hummus, and harissa.
  6. Hometown? Potomac, Maryland.
  7. Useless talent? Still working on it…
  8. Most exotic food ever eaten or cooked? Sweetbreads.

Larry Dekelbaum, Founder & President

  1. Favorite part of any event? When the band starts playing “Shipping up To Boston” and the guests line up to welcome the newly married couple.
  2. Favorite food? Prime rib with Debra’s marinade … To Die For.
  3. Dream event location? Mountain top with a view of the ocean.
  4. Earliest memory related to food? Growing up, around Passover, my father made me peel horseradish and then smell it. I had to stop doing it because I was crying so much.
  5. What would we find in your refrigerator right now? My wife keeps a fully stocked fridge and freezer. The mainstays in the fridge are Shabbos leftovers (I eat them, she doesn’t), a lot of fruits and vegetables, cheese, chicken, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, eggs, Max’s Caesar dressing, and coffee creamer.
  6. Hometown? Silver Spring, Maryland.
  7. Useless talent? Knowing UPC code of grocery items by heart. 
  8. Most exotic food ever eaten or cooked? Does an undercooked, rancid, salty Chinese dish count?

Make your next event a Signature event

Call us today to start planning your next event.

(240) 290-0032catering@theshalomgroup.com

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Our Happy Customers

“I started to write that we were blown away by the amazing food last night, but it was so much more than just the incredible food that made last night special. It looked beautiful, tasted like almost nothing any of us get to eat around here (or maybe anywhere!), was served with professionalism, warmth and drama-free, and was just an all around well-thought out, top flight event. You all really outdid yourselves and all our guests are saying that this was the best Patrons ever. As always, it was a pleasure to work with you and we appreciate all the hours and hours of time you put in to make it perfect on the night of the dinner, so thank you. We so much appreciate our partnership with you and look forward to celebrating many more years of Berman success with you.”

- Berman Hebrew Academy

“First, the food got raves this year. People always say the food is good, but the guests and the hosts went back for multiple servings this year. Thank you so much for helping us make excellent choices. We had a ton of super food.”

- New Year’s Celebration

“I really cannot say enough nice things about our experience with Signature! First, thank you for your professionalism and menschiness! You were incredibly helpful and gracious throughout the whole process with me and my husband as we planned our eldest daughter's bat mitzvah celebration — and had a lot of questions along the way. Thank you for sharing your expertise and insights with us to ensure we had the best possible experience. Thank you as well for your flexibility so that we could have the kind of event we wanted. Everything looked lovely, the food stations were well maintained, the staff was helpful, gracious and kept the event going smoothly. Kudos to the entire Signature team, and many thanks from the whole family!”

- Bat Mitzvah Celebration

Read More Testimonials

Contact Us

We look forward to speaking with you.

(240) 290-0032

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