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2014 BEST Catering Company: Ray's Catering & Marin-Sonoma Picnic

Author: Alexandra Russell
May, 2014 Issue

“It’s a long history of family and hard work.” —Dan Offenbach

Rodger and Sidra Offenbach founded Novato-based Ray’s Catering in 1975; their sons, Dan and Luke, now run the business. But the family’s tradition in the food industry dates back to 1909, when Rodger’s grandfather, Isadore, a butcher, migrated to the United States.
“It’s a long history of family and hard work,” says Dan, manager and event coordinator (Luke is executive chef). “When our parents started this business, they approached it as a long-term venture. They were pioneers in the 1980s of turning this into a viable business. Today, we’re well-established because of the word-of-mouth we’ve earned over the years.”
One of its specialties is weddings, booking more than 30 per year. “Ray’s Catering is more than food and bar catering,” says Dan. “We’re party planners and event coordinators. We have the experience and know how to run your event smoothly while you enjoy your event, guests, and make lifetime memories.”
In addition to nuptials and other private events, Ray’s has a steady list of local businesses and organizations throughout Marin and Sonoma counties, Wine Country and San Francisco that rely on their services as well, including BioMarin, Ghilotti Construction, 2K Games, LucasArts and Sonoma County Trailblazers (a private equestrian group that retains Ray’s for multiday retreats, base camp and chuckwagon-style). Clearly, Ray’s is able to handle the most rustic (picnics, barbecues and birthday parties) to the most formal (corporate events, elegant sit-down dinners, fund-raisers, cocktail parties and banquets) of requests. It’s also capable of staging multiple events in a single day.
“We specialize in really large groups,” says Dan, “meaning up to thousands of guests. We have all the necessary equipment, including refrigerated trucks, portable barbecues and ovens, plus the manpower to set up, provide stellar service and clean up. There’s a core group that works for us daily plus a solid roster of part-timers we can call on.
“Since we do cater for large groups, we often make familiar dishes that have been honed into a Ray’s Catering recipe of success. But Luke is a very innovative chef and loves to make up new menus all the time.” Some dishes are time-tested favorites, passed down from the first generation of Ray’s and still popular. Others reflect Luke’s passion for cooking and creative vision. Not only is the food delicious, adds Dan, but Ray’s staff also focuses on presentation, ensuring a treat for the eyes as well as the palate. Menus can be created around most themes (Oktoberfest or luau, for example) or meals (corporate brunch or picnic, or an elegant formal dinner), and Luke prefers to source his ingredients locally, if possible.
“After serving Marin and Sonoma for so many years, it’s really nice to be recognized by the people we serve,” says Dan. “It’s an honor. Thank you. Without your support, it wouldn’t be possible for us to keep going.”



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