The People Who Make Us Extraordinary
From your first phone call, Park Avenue Catering is at your service. The depth of experience of the Park Avenue staff is beyond measure. Every member of our team brings their passion for service and years of experience to the table each and every event they produce.
Service is one of the most important factors in creating a memorable occasion. It inspires and nurtures your guests, and creates a day you won’t soon forget. It is this high level of personal service that distinguishes Park Avenue Catering from the rest.
All of our in-house trained personnel provide a gracious experience full of warmth and hospitality for you and your guests. We have standards that cannot be met by outside staffing agencies, so we don’t use them.
Every Park Avenue Catering employee expresses a personal investment in themselves, our company, and you.
This is our definition of service.
Chef Bruce Riezenman
Co-Owner of Park Avenue Catering
Bruce Riezenman is one of the California Wine Country’s most sought-after chefs, and a foremost speaker on the subject of Food & Wine Pairing. Inspired by the natural luxury of wine country living, his distinctive style centers around creating a complete experience, whether at a private event with service from his Park Avenue Catering Co. or engaging guests with a teaching presentation.
Riezenman has taught, cooked, consulted and hosted in Italy, Hong Kong, Thailand, throughout Canada and the US for organizations that include Certified Angus, Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Darden’s Restaurant Group, Starbucks and others. Chef Riezenman has presented at the Boston Wine Expo and has been a guest chef three times at the prestigious James Beard House in NYC.
Bruce’s career began at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he graduated in 1979 with high honors, after previously majoring in Chemistry. Originally from New York City, Bruce was Chef/Owner of the New Deal Restaurant (Manhattan). After moving to California, he opened Prospect Park Restaurant (Santa Rosa) and Buona Sera Ristorante (Petaluma). Bruce is currently the owner & Executive Chef of Park Avenue Catering, the most highly regarded catering company in the North Bay area, serving sophisticated Sonoma cuisine, sourced from local, family farms.
Riezenman is also the author of PairIt!, the highly acclaimed Food & Wine Pairing app for the iPhone and Android, with over 1,000 dishes and 20,000 pairings based on varietals and regions. Bruce’s experience in entrepreneurship and as a chef are marked by his passions for sustainability, culinary arts, quality craftsmanship and technology, topics he continues to explore in both his food and speaking engagements, always applying his innovative California fingerprint on classic international concepts and menus. His approach is really about savoring–savoring the flavor of wine and food and the way they taste together, but also savoring the moment, the place, and the people we share them with. He shares his vision of food and wine as opportunities to enjoy the things in life that truly matter: health, happiness, family and friends. That’s what wine country living is really all about.
Chef Ari Weiswasser
Co-Owner of Park Avenue Catering
Ari Weiswasser, a Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef 2015, spent his formative culinary years in numerous fine-dining establishments in New York City and Philadelphia, mastering the fundamentals of elevated cuisine and service before moving to California and deciding to do things differently.
Glen Ellen Star—which he operates with his wife, Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser, in the Wine Country town of Glen Ellen, CA— opened in May 2012 and utilizes his acutely honed culinary expertise in an inviting, rustic farmhouse-style environment.
Weiswasser spent two years at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville before opening Glen Ellen Star down the street from his wife’s family’s biodynamic property, planting gardens that provide much of the kitchen’s produce.
Park Avenue Catering Staff
Business Development & Corporate Accounts
Dianne grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and started her career in the hotel industry planning corporate & social events. She found the perfect home for combining her passion for food, wine and event planning with Park Avenue Catering. Dianne currently manages corporate accounts, winery events, business development and leads an outstanding team of event specialists.
Corporate Accounts & Kosher Expert
Fran and Bruce met in 1986 when Fran owned and operated Piotrkowski Smoked Poultry. According to Bruce, it was the best smoked duck and chicken on the market! Fran has an affinity for gardening, which ties in beautifully with her ability to create amazing farm-to-table menus.
Sharon Misaka-Van Giesen
Wedding Designer & Fundraiser Expert
Sharon launched her event-planning career in 1995 at Current Affairs in Hawaii as the Special Events Coordinator for an event of 10,000 (featured in Special Events Magazine). Her other experiences, including retail, hotel and restaurant management enable Sharon to offer her wealth of knowledge for clients and colleagues alike.
Wedding Designer & Corporate Accounts
Janine was a catering manager in her native South Africa. After making the move stateside, Janine joined Park Avenue Catering, bringing with her a fantastic combination of commitment, charisma and comprehensive attention to detail.
Justine De Alba
Justine was born and raised in San Francisco where she spent more than 20 years in the restaurant industry- largely focused on special events and management. In 2008, she and her family made the move to the wine country where she became a part of the Park Avenue team. Justine dedicates herself to providing her clients with positivity and professionalism.
Anthony brings more than 20 years of experience in special events. A founding member of the Napa-Sonoma Int’l. Special Events Society and currently serves on the board of directors. Born and raised in England, Anthony has never taken for granted the bounty of fresh, local ingredients we are so lucky to enjoy in Sonoma County and relishes sharing this influence with his clients.
Corporate Accounts & Marketing
Sheila grew up in Napa and began working in the wine country event industry in 2002. This gave her exactly the right experience to take on the task of planning social and corporate events for Park Avenue Catering. Being one of the millennials on our sales team she also has the task of running our social media accounts and keeping this wonderful website up to date and running smoothly.
Lead Event Captain & Corporate Accounts
JD began his catering career at a very young age. Upon his graduation from the University of Oregon, he joined the Park Avenue team. In addition to working with our corporate and winery clients, JD also specializes in executing Park Avenue’s big events!
Caitlin, a Sonoma County native, is the newest member of our incredible wedding team! After graduating from Sonoma State University in 2015, she joined the Park Avenue team and quickly moved up the ranks. She has worked as an event captain for 3+ years and has gained an extensive knowledge of our company. Caitlin is eager to share her expertise on a variety of venues, her meticulous attention to detail and her overall fun personality with wedding clients.
Kelly Jo Sanchez
Kelly Jo joined the Park Avenue Catering team in 2013 and quickly became one of our most valued on-site captains. Managing weddings, social and corporate events on site gave her insight & experience to take on the huge task of coordinating our team’s rental needs. She is the master of logistics in and out of the office.
Lauren started working with Park Avenue Catering as a server in 2016. Her knowledge and expertise was quickly discovered by captains and she was offered a position in our staffing department in 2017. Lauren comes with much experience in dining management. She was the Assistant Manager of the Azusa Pacific University Dining Hall from 2012-2016, where she graduated with her Bachelors in Psychology. Her empathy, kindness, and overall love for people makes her the perfect person to take on the task of managing and training our staff onsite.
Victor is another member of our team who learned the catering business from ground level. He has been groomed by Bruce to set the example in our kitchen and balances the job of keeping the many menu details organized with keeping our kitchen staff focused on producing flawless events.
Operations Manager & Lead Event Chef for Large Events
Josue was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. Josue learned the catering business from the ground up, beginning his career with us as a dishwasher and working through several positions before taking the helm as our Operations Manager. As a result, Josue is a most valuable resource when orchestrating the many moving parts of each event and brings a calm focus as lead chef for our largest events.
Steven has been cooking ever since his pastry apprenticeship in 1967. Steven has cooked at the James Beard House four times and has been featured for his cuisine in many publications. He was the chef and owner of several restaurants in New England.
Phil is a Sonoma County native who started his food education at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Napa. He has known and worked with Bruce since the early 90’s, but joined the Park Avenue team in 2013 where he quickly became one of our top on-site chefs. In addition to being a lead chef on site, he is also our head Pastry Chef, creating all the incredible sweet treats we love so much.
The newest member of our chef team graduated from the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in 2014. Originally from Cincinnati Ohio, she was drawn to California by her love of great food and our fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. She loves to give traditional comfort food an infusion of style to create upscale approachable menu items.