Chef Ryan Gish takes catering up a notch
Planning any type of event can be stressful. Whether it’s a corporate function for 500 people or a private in-home dinner party for 12, the one aspect that causes the most worry is making sure the food is perfect. And it’s more than just ensuring the meal is served warm and on time. Providing a menu that’s unique, creative, and tastes exceptional is what will make your event stand out.
Local chef Ryan Gish has been creating dishes for more than 18 years at a variety of upscale restaurants throughout Omaha. Best known for his time as Executive Chef and Curator at Ryan’s Bistro in West Omaha, he developed a number of items that became instant favorites among fans. But the restaurant industry requires long hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, so Gish took a few years off to relax, regroup, and decide what he could venture into next.
Catering seemed like the perfect fit. “I was able to get back to my roots and what I love doing,” Gish said. “Cooking is where my heart lies, and I needed to take a break to make sure I didn’t lose that.” He recently launched RG Catering & Event Management, but he didn’t want to just turn out product or be the caterer someone calls two hours before you need a box lunch delivered. Gish said he wants to be more selective with the events he caters so that he can provide a fresher style.
“I want to incorporate innovative ideas that you won’t see other caterers doing in Omaha, but nothing too overwhelming or intimidating,” Gish said. One example is his purple mashed potatoes. “A lot of people don’t know that purple potatoes exist naturally,” he said. Other items include micro vegetables such as miniature carrots in different colors, and a grilled rack of lamb with a velvety pomegranate sauce with balsamic glaze. “Everything I create is not only appealing to your taste buds, but I’m also bringing color and texture to every item,” Gish explained.
Other signature dishes include caramelized jumbo sea scallops with amaretto sauce, smoked gouda macaroni and cheese with white truffle oil, and osso bucco over herbed polenta, which are lamb shanks that have been roasted all day and served over a creamy polenta with a demi-glace. Box lunches might include a salmon BLT, Cajun steak sandwich, or a mushroom Havarti burger.
In order to serve such original dishes, Gish scours local farmers’ markets and grocery stores such as Whole Foods in order to find the perfect ingredients. He prepares the food on site and brings portable burners and ovens. “I’m not intimidated to cook for 500 or event 1,000 people as long as I have space to do it,” he said. “I have literally worked out of a closet before.”
RG Catering & Event Management is a full service company with an event coordinator and the capability to provide not just food, but also assist with entertainment, bar and liquor service, and even lighting and décor. As the company grows, Gish said he’d like to add additional event coordinators. “We like to say that we take the stress off our guests,” he said. “What is the point of hiring a caterer if you’re going to worry about things and do half the work yourself? I want you to relax and to enjoy your event.”