Chris Disney, Director of Operations, began
his career with Picazzo’s just over 12 years
ago as a bartender in Scottsdale, AZ.
His amazing drive, intelligence, curiosity to learn
EVERYTHING about the restaurant industry and
his determination and will to succeed has made him…
a key component in the continued success of Picazzo’s restaurant. Chris has created many programs, numerous menu items including Picazzo’s proprietary gluten-free pizza dough and focaccia bread, Zo’s salad and our new GF Tiramisu. His creativity in the kitchen has even surprised him!! In addition to his cooking prowess, he always has numerous projects he is juggling to make Picazzo’s a better place for all to work, and for the end user, our guests and family.
One of Chris’ first impressions and memories of founder/owner Rick Freedman during his first visit to the Scottsdale location, was watching Rick put an undercooked skillet cookie in the oven that already had ice cream dipped on it to “see what it would do”. Chris realized the extent of the “willing to try new things” personality he was potentially working with. Just so we don’t keep you waiting on the edge of your seat to know what happened, 1) the ice cream melted all over the cookie in the skillet while in the pizza oven and 2) thankfully, Chris was hired.
There were no secret recipe discoveries with the cookie that significant day back in 2003, but Chris was absolutely discovered; a gem in the rough, and today an indispensable gem for Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen.
Prior to his current Director of Operations role, Chris was a busser, food-runner, cook, dishwasher, server, bartender, trainer, assistant manager, GM, and host. Prior to Picazzo’s and the restaurant experience he worked in construction, as a tattoo artist and sales.
His favorite part of his current position is the constant learning curve; visiting all five Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen locations on a regular schedule, and working with the Front of the House (FOH), General Manager, servers, bartender, Asst. Managers, host/ess, bussers, and Back of the House (BOH), Kitchen Manager, cooks, dishwashers.
Working for Picazzo’s has formed him into a more compassionate person by seeing the struggles of diners with dietary restrictions and allergies. He witnesses guests struggles not only for themselves but for their children’s diets that many of us take for granted. Some of these little ones have such a limited diet and health concerns such as diabetes, autism, celiac disease, dairy sensitivities, etc. He also has been able to learn how to be more understanding of people’s different personalities and how to understand them in different capacities, by working along side many different personalities trying to achieve the same goals.”
Chris is most proud of opening the Paradise Valley and the Tempe/Chandler restaurant locations. He also created Picazzo’s proprietary gluten-free flour blend which was quite an accomplishment considering the elevation and water compositions which differentiate from Sedona and Flagstaff to the 3 lower valley locations. He is also proud of his promotion to his current position of Dir. Of Operations while continuing his college education in the evening and becoming a father. Chris is also attending college in the evening with aspirations to learn more, accomplish the challenge to obtain a degree, and to be able to be a role model for his children.
The most challenging part of his work with the restaurants are keeping current with an evolving market in consumer demand and business changes (healthcare, FDA, Cyber Security, and IRS employee regulations.
Chris met his wife, Angela, as young employees of the Scottsdale location. Once they became a couple, his wife had to resign and they have since grown a beautiful family of two gorgeous boys. We call the offspring of employee’s that met while employed at Picazzo’s, who married and have children, to be Picazzo’s babies!
“I think that dealing with people in a leadership position has helped groom me for fatherhood. I have more patience and willingness to learn about another person’s struggle or achievement and give proper praise or advice based on their specific personality. Nothing is one-size-fits-all. It’s impossible to please everyone.”
Chris’ motto that he personally lives by is “Never take more than you give.”
Most people that know Chris don’t know that he was a tattoo artist for a short time. He said he is artistically inclined, but it is something that he needs to be developed. If you haven’t drawn anything in a while, you can regress in your vision and capabilities to be creative. Knowing Chris personally, I reminded him of all of his artistic abilities. Most people think art creativity is defined through traditional avenues like drawing, painting and sculpture. Chris also won the gold medal in the Grand Canyon State Games for wrestling when he was a teenager.
Chris finds “me” time usually after his kids are in bed around 8pm- 10pm. He utilizes this time to spend quality time with his wife, read, study, do homework or do little building projects around his home.
Chris’ one wish for the world would be for people to be more accepting of others. Most issues in the world today come from opposing points of view. Most people don’t allow for people to have another religion, belief, parenting style. As long as people aren’t getting hurt, other’s should be more accepting of others’ lifestyles.
Chris and Angela’s key values that they want to instill in their children are simply “to allow them to grow into their own unique gifts”.
Angela is founder and creator of curlyqcounter, a darling and unique assortment of clothing for young children and can be purchased through Etsy.com. They are a very creative couple!! And their children are really cute models!
You will spot Chris at any of the 5 location of Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchens in Arizona: Scottsdale Promenade, Paradise Valley/Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff and Tempe/Chandler throughout the month.
Feel free to congratulate Chris when you see him, on the great work he does for Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchens every day!!