Max Catering Team
Mitchell Frieder – Owner
Mitchell Frieder has been in the restaurant business since 1973, working both front-of-house and back-of-house positions. Mitchell was a Dining Room Captain for both Leona Helmsley and Donald Trump at their first hotels. He trained in the kitchen under Ken Frank at La Toque, before moving to L’Orangerie, both top Los Angeles restaurants. He worked for a year on the sushi line at Ai, a South Pasadena, classical Japanese restaurant.
A move to San Francisco to work with the partners of Real Restaurants led to his becoming the Chef of Ryan’s, also in San Francisco, and then Sous Chef of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in their first American flagship operation, receiving glowing reviews in Gourmet Magazine and being judged 3rd Best in the San Francisco Bay area by San Francisco Focus.
In 1989 Mitchell opened his own bakery/restaurant, Cakes & Co. / Downtown Bistro in Lancaster, California, in operation for thirteen years, concurrent with owning Max Catering. Downtown Bistro was voted to be fifth out of the Top Twenty Restaurants in the Los Angeles Valley Region by the Los Angeles Times. Mitchell also presently owns and operates Mack’s BBQ, a mobile Santa Maria barbeque caterer serving all of Southern California. In 1995, he was Consultant/Executive Chef of Trilogy, a restaurant and nightclub in West Los Angeles which received acclaim in the Los Angeles media for its innovative international cuisine.
Mitchell has been a food columnist with Antelope Valley Magazine, had a radio cooking show for five years and a television cooking show for ten years on Adelphia Cable and Jones Intercable. He has taught at various Los Angeles cooking schools, including UCLA Extension, since 1985, and continues to teach at as a full-time Chef/Instructor at the International Culinary School in Santa Monica for more than eleven years.
Leo Fragoso – Chef
Leo Fragoso has been cooking professionally since 1978. Leo trained at his chef/father’s side in a local Los Angeles restaurant at age nine and received further culinary training at UCLA. He started cooking in the Santa Monica and Venice areas and then moved to the exclusive, private social club, the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica for sixteen years, the last five of those as their Executive Chef, serving prestigious club members, U.S. Presidents and numerous celebrities. Leo has been Chef of the Antelope Valley Country Club since 1994.
Sandy Ortiz – Catering Director
Raised on California’s Central Coast on a ranch in Santa Barbara, Sandy grew up in a rodeo family surrounded by horses and cattle. Her children continued that tradition and have passed it on to Sandy’s grandson who was on horseback by age two and roping by age four.
Sandy’s involvement with catering started with Dearmore BBQ Catering in Ventura where, for five years, she provided Santa Maria authentic cowboy-style barbecue across many of the Western states.
Sandy then moved to the pastry kitchen at The Greens in Valencia where Max Catering discovered her and asked her to join our kitchen staff in 1999. Sandy became our Catering Director in 2000.
Mitchell, Leo, and Sandy and our staff are pleased to serve your catered events and your family’s special occasions, and are here to make your experience with Max Catering a memorable one.