meet the family
Betty Zlatchin started catering out of her home kitchen in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, over forty years ago. Her legacy continues today with operations run by her son David and our incredible team, many of whom have been with us for over twenty years.
Our passion is creating unforgettable experiences through exceptional food – and none of that would be possible without our team of experts, who have become like family over the years.
Great food has always been a part of David’s life. A native of San Francisco, and Betty’s son, David worked throughout high school at Betty Zlatchin Catering, as well as other catering companies and restaurants. “Growing up, I was constantly helping my parents in the kitchen as the family ‘sous chef.’ About two-to-three times a week we’d check out the hot restaurants and ethnic dives to keep abreast of the restaurant scene. When I was six years old, I remember eating tripe at Alain Chapel’s three-star restaurant outside of Lyon, France, and playing with frogs in the pond.”
David received his Masters of Public Policy (MPP) from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Prior to graduate school, he worked for several years as Deputy Director of Communications for United States Senator Paul Wellstone. David attended Macalester College in Minnesota. “Along with my public policy interests, I have always loved cooking and putting on events. But it was only during graduate school, though, that I really considered the catering and events field. I realized that was where my heart was despite my policy training. I absolutely love being a part of such a dynamic team that turns out consistently high quality food and service. There is nothing better than to hear a guest or client say how much they enjoyed the party. That is the best feeling.”
David is also a Board Member of Food Runners, a nonprofit agency that redistributes excess food from hotels, restaurants and caterers to those in need.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Betty learned how to cook by helping her mother and grandmothers prepare classic Southern dishes. After college she went to work as a stewardess in first class for TWA. “Back then, stewardesses cooked all of the meals to order and it was very similar to catering,” says Betty. “Of course, a lot has changed since then.”
Betty began catering out of her home in the early 80’s. “In fact, catering just kind of fell in my lap. My husband and I loved giving parties at our home and a friend thought I might be interested in catering their corporate dinner party. I gave it a try, loved it, and was paid with a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.”
Of course, much has changed since the early days. Betty now owns a large, professional kitchen in San Francisco’s warehouse district. “I’ve catered parties of up to 2,500 people, and yet can still cater a party for two,” says Betty. She considers it an honor to be called on to be a partner in so many special moments in people’s lives.
While food is paramount to Betty’s success, she finds the design elements to be of equal importance. “I love transforming a room. I love to create an atmosphere,” she says. Betty finds inspiration in the diverse ethnic cuisine of San Francisco, as well as her travels to France and Italy. She speaks French and Spanish.
Tom’s first summer job was at his aunt and uncle’s café in Clinton, Oklahoma, where Tom was born and raised. But that’s not to say it was his first cooking job. Being the middle child in a brood of nine, Tom’s daily chore was feeding his younger siblings. What might have scared off weaker souls led to a lifetime vocation for Tom. After stints in the kitchens of the Ritz Carlton and Marshall Fields in Chicago, Tom moved to California to attend Cordon Rouge, a private culinary school in Marin County. There he learned the classic French techniques of the famed Cordon Bleu in Paris, France.
Before joining Betty as the executive chef in 1990, Tom was the pastry chef at Zuni Cafe (a Gourmet Magazine top 100), where he perfected his dessert repertoire that still dazzles today, and the executive chef at Alta Plaza, a fine-dining establishment on Fillmore Street. “After all these years of cooking, it comes down to a few basic techniques. Once you’ve mastered those, you can cook anything,” says Tom. And cook anything he does. From fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with nuoc nam sauce to Arborio rice croquettes with Italian salsa verde, Tom keeps the cuisine at BZC creative and up-to-date.
Tom brings a focus and concentration to his culinary realm that he gains in his avocation: meditation. For the last ten years Tom has been practicing daily meditation and has even become a meditation instructor. He also practices yoga. When not meditating or breaking new culinary ground, Tom donates his time and resources to such community organizations as Project Open Hand and Frameline.
ONSITE EXECUTIVE CHEF
CHEF DE CUISINE
GENERAL MANAGER OF SERVICE & DESIGN
SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
MARKETING & STAFFING MANAGER