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Meet the Team

Catering team

Catering Leadership

  • Daniel Morales

    Daniel Morales

    Director of Catering & Auxiliary Services

    Daniel oversees all aspects of Catering and its auxilary services, including menu development, food production, service, event coordination and sales.

    Daniel Morales is a highly experienced food and beverage professional with 35 years of experience under his belt. He began his career as a cook and worked his way up the ranks to become a chef, production manager, and general manager. Daniel started his career at the University of California, San Diego, in the HDH department in 2001, where he worked in dining halls and helped open restaurants across campus. His exceptional culinary skills and leadership abilities quickly led to promotions, and he eventually became the Director of Catering and Auxiliary Services. 

    • Enjoys spending quality time with his children and grandchildren.
    • Takes a great interest in golf and is an avid player.
    • Enjoys simple food prepared well and enjoys eating at different restaurants around San Diego with his wife.
  • Kim McErlain

    Kim McErlain

    General Manager

    Kim oversees the operations of UC San Diego Catering, which includes services and food production for all catered events on campus.

    Kim joins the Catering team with over 30 years in the hospitality industry, including experience in Conference Services and managing teams at Café Ventanas, Sixty-Four North, and Canyon Vista Marketplace.

    Prior to UC San Diego, Kim was a flight attendant, opened a handful of fine dining restaurants, and has worked at several private country clubs throughout Orange County, San Francisco, and Boston. Her undeniable ability to connect with those around her, coupled with her expertise in facilitating events, will assist in her goal of elevating the customer service experience for guests and campus partners.

    In her spare time, Kim enjoys the finer things in life including food, wine, and music. Her favorite quote is “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel” by Maya Angelou.

  • Jason Alessio

    Jason Alessio

    Event and Guest Experience Manager

    Jason oversees all event coordination and sales for Catering and our auxilary brands.  He is responible for our business approach, development and elevating client relations.

    Jason attributes living and learning in some of the greatest cities in the world to shaping his global perspective and positive outlook on life. He believes in being socially and environmentally responsible in everything we do, from the food we eat to the lessons we teach our children. Before UC San Diego, Jason spent a decade working in Italian restaurants and luxury hotels. Jason graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

    • Has lived in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Milan, Italy.
    • Speaks fluent Italian.
    • Loves chocolate in almost any form and a nice glass of wine or scotch.

Event Coordination

  • Elizabeth Elwell

    Elizabeth Elwell

    Event Coordinator

    Specialization: Located at the Faculty Club. Lizzy functions as a true event coordinator; booking the event space, providing the layout, working on all logistics as well as the culinary experience.

    Lizzy joined UC San Diego in 2018 and is currently an Event Coordinator at the Ida & Cecil Green Faculty Club. Previously she held roles as a Venue Coordinator at a Temecula Wine Country wedding venue and as a Sales and Catering Assistant at a popular San Marcos resort. She earned a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona.

    She is enthusiastic about event planning as she enjoys contributing to life’s memorable moments. With her experience and detail-oriented nature, she will execute your vision.

    Her favorite place to be is at home - reading a book, doing a puzzle, or watching an episode of Gilmore Girls.

  • Stefan Lammert

    Stefan Lammert

    Event Coordinator

    Specialization: Stefan is the most experienced catering coordinator with a vast knowledge of all the venues on campus. He focuses on events at the Price Center, Jacobs and Atkinson Hall, Rady School of Business, and MET. He also has the most experience with large student events with carnival foods and entertainment.

    Stefan believes that the best customer service comes from the heart. He began his professional career with an apprenticeship in the hotel business in Berlin, Germany, and became a San Diego “native” in 1998. Prior to joining the campus, Stefan held various roles with Hilton, Kimpton, Hyatt and Marriott. He brings more than 25 years of hospitality experience. He likes cooking, baking, good beer, and a delicious piece of quality cake with a cup of smooth coffee on a Sunday afternoon.

  • Francis Laureano

    Francis Laureano

    Event Coordinator

    Specialization: Francis is responsible for coordinating catering at some of our new campus venue spaces like the Design and Innovation Building, Epstein Family Amphitheater, Franklin Antonio Hall, Park and Market, the Chancellor’s Complex and events at Liontree Arena. Francis, a culinarian, takes on a lot of higher end events that are food forward which require custom and creative culinary experiences.

    Francis Laureano began his hospitality career after graduating The Art Institute of Orange County with a degree in Restaurant Business Management with a concentration in Pastry Arts.

    He brings over 10 years of experience in food and beverage to the Catering Event team, including valuable training in menu development, event planning, catering, and customer service in restaurants and resorts throughout Los Angeles and San Diego.

    Francis continues his passion for the Pastry Arts by visiting local and well renowned bakeries to admire the craft and to acknowledge trends.

    He enjoys weekend getaways to Palm Springs and San Francisco to sightsee and dine at different restaurants.

    Career Highlights:

    • Culinary Competitor and 1st Place Winner of The Next Golden Chef Award in 2013 and awarded $25,000 scholarship
    • Has been highlighted in several publications such as The San Diego Tribune, Modern Luxury, and Eater as an Executive Pastry Chef
  • Sharon Nelson

    Sharon Nelson

    Event Coordinator

    Specialization: Sharon’s focus is events located at SIO, Birch Aquarium, as well as all our HDH Hospitality venue spaces. She also works on large scale events that require a lot of logistical moving parts.

    Sharon believes that an event with excellent service and delicious cuisine sets the stage for making lifelong memories. She enjoys providing the behind-the-scenes coordination that realizes those great memories!

    Sharon’s career in hospitality includes several prominent San Diego hotels and restaurants. She graduated with a Marketing Communications degree from San Diego State University.

    She loves to go on cruises with her high school sweetheart husband and can’t wait for their next cruise. In the kitchen she enjoys baking and has a sweet tooth.

    If you can’t find her, she is probably at the softball fields as she is currently the volunteer board president of her daughters’ softball league.

    If you want to strike up a conversation, ask her about how she taught a blind person to sail. True story!

Service and Culinary Professionals

  • Derrick Caruthers

    Derrick Caruthers

    Assistant General Manager

    Oversees the daily operations of our Catering Department.

    A hospitality veteran who holds more than two decades of experience in food service, fine dining, country clubs and fast-paced high functioning restaurants. He is a U.S. Army veteran and has lived in more than eight different states before landing in San Diego. Derrick joined UCSD Catering in March 2022.

    Fun Fact: Derrick is a passionate Mixologist and enjoys creating and sharing his craft cocktails.

  • Josephine Lagrimas

    Josephine Lagrimas

    Certified Chef de Cuisine

    Growing up in the Filipino culture, Chef Josie witnessed the joy that food brings to people’s lives. Inspired by this, she pursued culinary training in the San Francisco Bay Area and gained a wide array of experience working in various restaurants, catering companies, country clubs, and corporate dining facilities, including Google Headquarters and Culinart at Intuit.

    Wanting to be closer to her family, she made her way back to her hometown of San Diego. She is now a Certified Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation, displaying her talents as our lead Chef at UC San Diego Catering. She loves working with her team to create flavorful dishes, treating ingredients with respect and always cooking with love. Chef Josie strives to bring the community together and provide excellent customer service.

    • Certified Chef de Cuisine and skilled in Vegan, Vegetarian Cuisine and Pastry.
    • She has traveled all over the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and for her next adventure, looks forward to traveling to Europe and the Mediterranean.
    • Favorite food are noodles… Beef noodle soup, pasta, pancit, pad thai. Any which way, noodles every day!
  • Héctor Giancarlo Pérez-Scolari

    Héctor Giancarlo Pérez-Scolari

    Chef de Cuisine

    Born and raised in the San Diego / Tijuana region, Chef Hector has the ultimate respect for local and sustainable ingredients, new and old traditions, and people that are passionate about food.

    Chef Hector brings over 12 years of culinary experience to UC San Diego Catering. He focuses on French techniques, using his creativity and experience to bring diverse and flavorful dishes to our clients. His career includes being Sous Chef at Bleu Boheme in San Diego, Executive Chef for Daou Vineyards in Paso Robles, and cooking his favorite cuisine, Baja Med, with his family.

    • Attended law school before realizing being a Chef was his true passion.
    • Has been fortunate to have lived in San Luis Obispo; San Francisco; Florence, Italy; Monterrey, Mexico; San Diego and Tijuana.
    • Took a 2 ½ month honeymoon/sabbatical traveling throughout Southeast Asia.