Jim Horan
C.E.O. | Blue Plate Catering

Born and raised in the near northwest suburbs of Chicago, Horan attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He earned a master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Illinois. Horan believes that the training he received during that time continues to be valuable in his work today.


In 1983, Horan founded Blue Plate, and over the next three decades worked to build the company into one of the most well-respected, independent catering companies in Chicago and nationwide. Blue Plate has one of the most extensive venue listings within the Chicago area and employs more than 150 full-time employees and some 600 part-time team members. He recently led Blue Plate in building its new home and headquarters, Larkin Hall, an 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Chicago’s West Loop.


In 1995, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was looking for a partner to develop a multi-faceted food service program in its new building, the Symphony Center. Horan worked with the CSO Association to develop hospitality services for patrons of the center, which included not only concessions and catering services, but also a private dining club and Tesori Trattoria & Bar, an Italian-inspired restaurant. In 2003, Horan further developed his leadership and business expertise as one of the founding partners of Park Grill Food Services, located in Millennium Park. He remains actively involved in each of these business ventures as a managing partner.    


Horan is active with a number of charities in Chicago and is a member of the Catholic Charities Board of Advisors, the National Restaurant Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association, West Loop Gate Association, the Grant Park Conservancy, and the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.