This holiday season is in full swing, with the office parties and family dinners to spare, and Blue Heron Catering has a hand in making many of those parties a success. One of the go-to catering companies in the Bay Area, Oakland-based and long-time owners Deborah Pfisterer and Elizabeth Fazzio are ready for the holiday rush.

The two women were first drawn to catering by their mutual love of food and entertaining. Now, Blue Heron is celebrating 25 years as a women-owned small business, both a certified green company and heavily involved in the community, with supporting public school fundraisers and sourcing ingredients from local farmers being just two of their efforts.

Now, Pfisterer and her partner stay out of the kitchen, making sure to provide a competitive wages and benefits to local chefs while the two women run the business. But times weren’t always so abundant.

During the economic slump that began in 2008, Blue Heron Catering “was right back to ground zero,” says Pfisterer. The women had to lay off employees and get creative to keep their doors open and their bills paid on time.

“We got together with other local caterers to make sure that we all made it. We huddled together and said ‘we’ve got to get through this,'” Pfisterer said, explaining that companies collaborated together on events and supported each other during the hard economic time time.

That sort of creativity, along with other local business programs like Created in Oakland, have served Blue Heron well. They’ve adapted to both changing economic times and changing culinary tastes and preferences.

“Working over 20 years in food, you see a lot of trends. Every time a food trend changes, you are looking for new recipes which pose new challenges,” Pfisterer said.

Blue Heron Catering has been offering the popular options of vegan and gluten-free dishes for the past several years and has noted the rising trend in comfort food “at it’s finest,” says Pfisterer.

This holiday season, the company ramps up for both their 25th anniversary festivities, and the holiday parties packing Pfisterer’s schedule. They will cater on average four events each weekend, with more events during the week, through the end of the year, serving up popular comfort dishes like macaroni and cheese, potpies, hearty winter soups, Brussels sprouts, and “bacon in everything,” says Pfisterer. Drinks get creative as well, straying from the standard egg nog and hot toddy, to include cranberry martinis and traditional cocktails, like Manhattans.

And at the Pfisterer Family holiday table? The spread is as diverse as a catered event.

“My family? Well, funny you should ask,” says Pfisterer. “My husband is Irish and German – all meat and potatoes. My oldest daughter is vegetarian and her fiancé is vegan. I’m pescatarian (I eat fish but no meat or poultry) and my other daughter is a comfort food junkie — she loves the old family recipes of green bean casserole made with canned fried onions and cream of mushroom soup, pumpkin pie and egg nog. My niece is gluten-free and the other 20 or so family members will eat what’s put in front of them. So, we’ll be serving up prime rib from a farm in Shasta County, au jus, horseradish from a local shop in San Francisco, mashed potatoes, vegan gravy, balsamic glazed salmon, unturkey (made from seitan) and various gluten-free snacks and desserts. Wine from Amador County (our favorite) and most likely a signature drink, which I’ll leave up to the clan to figure out.”

For more info on Blue Heron Catering:

PHONE: (510) 533 – 0781

EMAIL: info@blueheroncatering.com

MORE INFO: blueheroncatering.com

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