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Dierk's Parkside Cafe

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Santa Rosa, CA

Food & Hospitality

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Work Culture at Dierk's Parkside Cafe

Our Story

It all really started in 2006 when Mark and Karen opened Dierk’s Parkside Café.Aside from Mark’s vision and talent (and having a house librarian) the two agree that what makes Parkside the amazing place it is are the people who work there, and the people who eat there.It has been Mark and Karen’s goal since day one to provide tasty, delicious food in an atmosphere that is fun, where people can talk about food, family, and baseball. From small farmers to local cheese makers, small batch beers to undiscovered wines, national award winners to up-and-comers, Dierk’s Parkside has always been all about taste.Mark and Karen are excited to have just opened in 2013 Dierk’s Midtown Café. Same fabulous food, same fabulous atmosphere, and same fabulous Mark. Yummmm!

Here is a very short story of Mark

Mark’s cooking is inspired by the great culinary traditions of Southern Europe, the no-nonsense approach to making the nutritious food he learned as a kid from his German grandmother, and by the magnificent food available in Northern California where he has been a chef since the 1970s. While he is a graduate of the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, his true mentor is the incomparable Madeline Kammann with whom Mark has studied and maintains an important relationship.

Mark began his restaurant career as a child working in his parents’ restaurants in St. Joe, Minnesota.He was one of eight kids. While his jobs changed over time, starting as bottle washer working his way up to cook (ask him to tell you some stories from those days) it was in these family restaraurants that Mark developed his true passion for being around food.

In 1976, along with his brothers Alex and Drake, Mark opened the Silverado Restaurant and Tavern in the Napa Valley. Mark became one of a cutting-edge group of chefs offering high quality, locally grown food that later became known as California Cuisine.Remember, this was the 1970s when it was unheard of for a chef to walk two blocks to a farm to pick lettuce for that night’s menu.Mark and Alex became so renowned for their knowledge and selection of wine that they received the Wine Spectator’s highest restaurant award 13 years running.In 1983, the pair opened the All Season’s Café for which Mark, as the Executive Chef, received numerous accolades including repeated high praise from Gourmet and Bon Appetite magazines.While in the Napa Valley Mark had the opportunity to work with such renowned chefs as James Beard, Julia Child, Ken Hom, Gary Danko, Jeremiah Tower, Mark Franz and numerous others.

Deciding it was better to be brothers than business partners, Mark and Alex stopped working together in the late 1990s. Mark began consulting for hotel chains and international restaurant partnerships, working as far away as Japan. Before opening Dierk’s Parkside Café in 2006, Mark was the Executive Chef for Sonoma State University and the Green Music Center.

Here is a very short story of Karen

Also from the Midwest, Karen grew up in a family that revolved around food.Making plans for dinner while eating breakfast was common in her family. It’s an easy jump from such an environment to working in the food business.From restaurants to snack bars, catering to assembly line processing, from dishwashing to hosting, cashiering, catering, waitressing and bartending, Karen did it all – except cook – in fact, she never cooks. Ever. In 1997 she became a librarian thinking she might never work in the restaurant business again – that is until she and Mark opened Dierk’s Parkside Café. And, of course, every restaurant needs an ace librarian.

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