Durham, N.C. — Chances are pretty good that you’ve already tasted — or at least heard of — the delicious biscuits and doughnuts at Tom Ferguson’s Rise. And chances are you’ve already heard that (thank our lucky stars!) Tom is franchising and bringing new Rise shops to more cities. They’re now serving customers in Morrisville, Cameron Village and North Raleigh, and will soon open locations in downtown Durham and Carrboro. And, come this summer, Rise will even have a location in Texas!
Tom has most definitely kept busy running both the Rise franchise and Durham Catering Co. for the past few years, and has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the latter. But that’s all about to change.
Sarah Parker is the new owner of Durham Catering Co.
As of Jan. 1, Durham Catering Co. has a new captain at the helm. Tom sold the catering company to longtime friend and employee Sarah Parker. “I’ve always wanted to open my own shop,” Sarah says, “so this is a great fit for me. It’s already an established business with people I love.”
Since Sarah has been acting as president of the company for quite some time, the transition was fairly seamless. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Sarah says. “One reason that Tom felt comfortable selling to me is that we’re both on the same page. He has such a personal connection with me and the business. He’s built such a relationship with all the people here.”
“I feel Durham Catering Company is in good hands for the future,” Tom said in a recent Facebook post. “It’s been a great 15-year run for me, and there are so many people to thank.”
And although he’s turning over the business to Sarah, Tom will still be involved in helping her make a smooth transition. Both he and Sarah live by the same motto: The food comes first.
And that motto has taken them far. The company has enjoyed a lot of success lately, since they’re always ahead of the curve when it comes to what’s hot in the catering biz. From Spanish tapas to dim sum, they know the flavors that are trending — mostly because they’re one of the trailblazers of the Durham culinary scene.
It can be a little overwhelming to constantly demand culinary perfection — especially on the hectic days when her collards are running late and her sous chef calls in sick — but despite all the chaos, it’s a job she adores. “I love the industry and the people,” she says. “And it’s such a strong community, especially in this area. There are lots of big personalities, and it’s always lots of fun. It’s what got me into this business and it’s what’s kept me here.”
Editor’s Note: Durham Catering Company is participating in TASTE the Event on April 21, at the Durham Armory. Spend the evening with hundreds of guests savoring dishes created by 30 of the best chefs in North Carolina. Tickets are $95 and on sale now at tastetheevent.com.