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2015 BEST Catering Service: Park Avenue Catering

Author: John Abbott
May, 2015 Issue

“We’ll continue to develop new menus, presentations and techniques to remain current and continue to improve our clients' and their guests' experience.” —Bruce Riezenman

Park Avenue Catering has been on the top of our “BEST Of” poll five out of the past six years, during which it celebrated its 25th anniversary and enhanced its reputation as one of the most innovative food and event proprietors in the Bay Area. “It’s always an honor to win this award, as it comes from clients who are taking the time to vote for us,” says Bruce Riezenman, owner and executive chef. “This is a good measure of our performance in the previous year, and my team and I are thrilled to win this award again.”
Park Avenue was the first green-certified caterer in Napa and Sonoma counties, and it continues to set the benchmark for sustainable, eco-friendly business practices. For example, it composts all of its food waste, including meat and dairy; it uses all-natural meats and sustainable seafood as defined by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List; and it employs a double-carbon filtration system for its drinking water, which keeps more than 20,000 plastic bottles out of the waste stream annually.
The company also donates extensively to nonprofits and the community through direct donations, products and services. “We help nonprofits learn how to create successful fund-raising events so they learn how to help themselves,” says Riezenman, who moved to Sonoma County in 1986, opening Prospect Park Restaurant in Santa Rosa and later Buona Sera Ristorante in Petaluma. He’s also become an author, writing Pair It!, a food and wine pairing app for the smartphones.
In the coming year, Riezenman plans to continue developing his team of experienced professionals who have a strong affinity for both Park Avenue and its clients. “We have a great retention rate for our staff, both for our full-time and our seasonal workers who come year after year. We’ll continue to develop new menus, presentations and techniques to remain current and continue to improve our clients' and their guests' experience.”
The ability to maintain a strong team of loyal, local professionals is one of the things that differentiates Park Avenue from its competitors. “I believe our low employee turnover is an important key to our success,” Riezenman says. “We have the support of a strong and diverse team, yet we’ve allowed enough freedom for our sales team to operate almost as if it’s running its own small business. It gives us the attention to detail of a boutique operation with all the strengths that come with having the diversity of talent with experts in each part of the business.
“Years ago, I used to do everything myself,” he admits. “Now, I have a team of people who each do their jobs better than I.”
Riezenman’s passion for Wine Country living and cuisine continues to fuel his drive for success. “My promise is to continue to support our community with the good work we do both for and with them. This means constantly improving and innovating, buying seasonally and locally for food, equipment and other needs, and by supporting the wonderful organizations whose outreach to our community makes Sonoma County a place I’m proud to be part of.”



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