At the young age of eight, Bruce Brown was given the choice between two important aspects of the food business. “You are going to work…Would you like to help on the family’s farm or work in the ice cream store?” It did not take the chubby youngster long to answer that question! Before he was old enough to see over the counter, Bruce was serving ice cream to the loyal customers of Brown’s Kountry Kustard. It was at his first job that he learned the importance of offering a high quality product at a reasonable price. As life continued, so did Bruce’s culinary journey, by high school, he was managing Brown’s Kountry Kustard. While attending Temple University in Philadelphia, Bruce held management positions in a gourmet boxed lunch and a high volume concession business. Upon graduating with a dual degree of international business and finance, Bruce returned to Upstate New York to start a BBQ catering business, specializing in “Cornell Chicken”, pig roasts, ribs and other delicacies from the grill.
At the age of 27, the young man traveled west, moving to Phoenix in 1997. Almost immediately, Bruce bought a six foot wood fire grill and “Big Smoke BBQ” was born. Over the next fifteen years, the company has blossomed into Bruce Brown Catering, an organization which caters to thousands of people and employs over thirty people during the eventful season. From its humble beginnings of kid’s birthday parties, Bruce Brown Catering has matured to caring for such clients as Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project, Central Arizona Project, Waste Management, Young Presidents Organization, as well as three Arizona governors, to name a few.
“Shrimp and Champagne, Susan?”
Bruce and Susan had worked together in the catering company for over eighteen months. Finally one night, after catering a party together, Bruce garnered up enough courage to ask “Shrimp and Champagne, Susan?” To which she quickly replied, and I quote…“Oh my God, NO!”
Never one to give up easily, Bruce persistently edged on, again and again, “Shrimp and Champagne, Susan?” Always the same answer, although each time, the answer became a little softer. FINALLY, on December 31, after a long day of work, Bruce and Susan appropriately brought in the New Year with…Shrimp and Champagne.
From here, the courtship continued until June 6, 2013, when Bruce and Susan were married in a small family ceremony, on the beach in Antigua…with a wonderfully, catered dinner of course!
This marriage unites Susan and Bruce’s experience and passion for catering, coupled with their business acumen and Susan’s eye for detail.
Outside of work, Susan and Bruce enjoy time with Nicole and Colby, traveling to new places, hiking, gym time and of course…enjoying locally owned restaurants.