Sedona, AZ is one of those magical places on this earth that offers so many individual experiences and adventures. No wonder Rick Freedman and Doug Stanton decided to open a restaurant in 2002 in this beautiful paradise! Picazzo’s has attracted so many wonderful team members and guests over their many years of operation on west 89A. Two very special long time management team members are Jordan Kendzlic, General Manager and Gabriel Manuel Madrid, Kitchen Manager. As a matter of fact, Rick gave Gabriel his nickname, Manny, in 2002 and he has been call that ever since.
Jordan started his career with Picazzo’s back in 2004 when he was initially hired as a server for one of the Phoenix locations. Six months later, he helped open the Tempe location and was hired as the assistant manager. He really grew to love the restaurant business and working for the founder, Rick Freedman. He treated all staff with respect, allowed him to help create menus and really made him feel that Picazzo’s was his restaurant to manage. He really enjoyed the way the Picazzo’s organization was run. Rick saw the determination in Jordan as a very young gentleman and knew he wanted to turn this “job” into a career, so he offered him the general manager position in Sedona. Jordan hopped on this opportunity immediately, knowing Sedona was the original location and after all, how could he pass on living in such a beautiful town.
PHOTO of JORDAN and his family (below)
Managing the Sedona location has really helped him grow not only in restaurant knowledge but also in his personal life. It has taught him to have patience and empathy. “Patience is very important in life whether your managing 50 employees or having patience with your children at home. Empathy has also come to play an important role for me in my life. Managers in our organization handle many different situations such as allergies, dietary restrictions and employees needing time off due to family needs. At our Sedona location I can truly say Picazzo’s is part of my family!”
A funny memory of Jordan’s was a day early in the restaurant career of Rick Freedman’s in Sedona, when Rick tried to jump in and help in the kitchen during a busy spring break rush. He just got in everybody’s way to the point where he made the ticket times so much longer that a table complained. Jordan sent him out to the table to explain why. For some reason, Jordan still loves to remind Rick of this.
Gabriel Madrid was part of the electrician crew that did the electric wiring for Sedona Picazzo’s build out when it was under construction in 2002. Gabriel met Rick on the construction site and inquired whether a kitchen position would be available. Prior to opening, Gabriel received a call from Rick and they offered him a job as a line cook. He also received the nickname “Manny” from Rick and it stuck! In 2003 he became the kitchen supervisor and then because of his attention to detail, and desire to grow and learn the business. He was offered the Kitchen Manager position in early 2004. He is the longest employed team member in the company and has helped train and open other Picazzo’s restaurants, but still remains the kitchen manager of Sedona to this day. He is well respected for his innovative ideas and his fairness to all.
One of our favorite stories about his accomplishments is when Sedona requested the need for a new cooler to store the growing number of ingredients to store with the expanding menu. Coolers can cost up to $15,000 and other equipment and walls would potentially have to be moved to house the equipment. Manny went in early before his shift and completely reorganized both the freezer, cooler and dry goods and made room for everything. It was stored more efficiently and his great work saved the company a tremendous amount of money and disruption to the kitchen environment. He wasn’t asked to do this; he just took the initiative and went on to work without any need for recognition. (We noticed!)
L to R: Rick Freedman, Founder; Manny; Chris Disney, Director of Operations
Picazzo’s is an extension of Manny’s family in many ways and Manny is truly a dear family member of Picazzo’s family.
We love all of you! Thank you for your work and dedication!
Our family at Sedona, Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen!