Entrepreneurial roots run deep within event planner Michelle Durpetti. The daughter of Tony and Marion Durpetti, owners of Chicago’s legendary Gene & Georgetti restaurant, and granddaughter of the restaurant’s late cofounder Gene Michelotti, she boasts an impressive hospitality industry pedigree.
Never one to rest on her family’s laurels, she co-founded McGowan Durpetti & Associates, later flying solo with Michelle Durpetti Events, a full-service wedding and event production company.
Since the inception of Michelle Durpetti Events in 2008, she has planned and produced over 300 weddings and special events, including such celebrity-studded festivities as Chicago Gateway Green’s annual Green Tie Ball; the Fiera Italiana, in conjunction with the annual Columbus Day Parade, for the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans; and the Chicago Hunter Derby, where she was the recipient of the Marion Maybank Volunteer Award in 2014 in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Chicago Hunter Derby and the Chicago Equestrians for a Cause.
Durpetti has also been responsible for producing events for her family’s business for many years. Other clients include the Tennis Opportunity Program, Chicago Opera Theater, the Tripp Healy Foundation. She has helped her non-profit clients raise $350,000 in donations in 2014 alone.
Durpetti was selected as a “Bride’s Choice” winner on Wedding Wire in 2013, and “Best of” wedding planner by The Knot in 2014, and she was a nominee for Social Event Planner of the Year for the BizBash Readers’ Choice Awards. She has been a member of Style Me Pretty’s “Little Black Book” and a Grace Ormonde Platinum Wedding vendor.
She has been featured locally in Chicago Social Brides, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Today’s Chicago Woman, Your Trendy Magazine and Chicago Style Weddings, and nationally on Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde, MOD weddings, Wedding Chicks, and Style Unveiled. WGN TV, Fox 32, WCIU, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, CS Magazine, and Illinois Meetings & Events among others have turned to Durpetti as an industry expert.
Before striking out on her own, she worked for the downtown public relations firms Jasculca Terman, and then Edelman. “My time at Jasculca Terman was like earning a master’s degree in event production,” Durpetti recalls.
Among the many highlights of her career to date, Durpetti was one of the 60-plus members on the team that produced the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening and dedication ceremony. “I am eternally grateful to have been part of the team,” she states.
Durpetti grew up in River Forest and graduated from Trinity High School and Dominican University. Fluent in Italian, she carries her roots with her wherever she goes. She credits her high school Italian teacher, Alida Cappizzano, with fostering that passion. “Mrs. Cappizzano planted the seed that grew into my love for the language,” she declares.
Durpetti spent almost three years studying Italian in Florence, and even worked for a time with the Italian Trade Commission in Chicago. Her passion for all things Italian has come to the fore in the many traditional Italian-American weddings that she has planned.
But Durpetti’s pride and joy has always been the family business, and last year she came full circle, teaming up with her cousin Richard Ciota to serve as co-managing partners in the soon-to-be-opened Gene & Georgetti’s in Rosemont.
The restaurant in Rosemont will maintain the same high level of integrity and quality that the flagship restaurant in Chicago is famous for, Durpetti promises. “It was time to elevate and grow the brand,” Durpetti notes, adding that “it’s a place where I can bring to bear the knowledge, skills and passion I’ve developed during my 12 years in the events industry.”
Weddings and special events in Rosemont will be handled by The Estate by Gene & Georgetti. Durpetti couldn’t be happier with the choice of locations. “The village of Rosemont is absolutely booming, and they have been very welcoming to us,” she enthuses.
Durpetti spends her scant leisure time with her horses: Reese, Porkchop, Frisco and Serafina. She is an avid equestrian, competing locally, regionally and nationally. This past winter, she traveled back and forth to Florida for a competition that lasted more than 10 weeks.
“My horses have taught me patience and humility and to never get too egocentric,” Durpetti shares. Her horses are stabled at Canterbury Farm in Hampshire, Ill., where their trainers care for them, work them out, and help Durpetti set and attain her goals.
An indomitable work ethic inherited from her grandfather and father has led her to where she is now. She lives, breathes and sleeps her business. “I do not allow myself sick days or excuses,” Durpetti passionately states. “I love people; I love listening to their stories and connecting with people. I love what I do.”
There has been a lot of buzz and excitement leading up to the Rosemont restaurant’s grand opening on July 22. Durpetti’s busy schedule continues to rev up with a series of private openings for media, friends and family before the next chapter of Gene & Georgetti officially opens. “If anyone asks how I do it, I tell them, ‘Lots of epresso!” Durpetti reveals with a laugh.
Gene & Georgetti’s is located at 500 N. Franklin St. in Chicago and 9241 W. Higgins Road in Rosemont. For details, call 312-527-3718 or visit www.durpettievents.com http://geneandgeorgetti.com, or www.theestatechicago.com.