From intimate gatherings to grand celebrations, when it comes to event catering, Rae Gabler-Kirbos knows what’s up! Ever since she can remember, Gabler-Kirbos has cherished an innate love for baking and cooking. After attending college and feeling uninspired, Gabler-Kirbos’ husband, Stephen, motivated her to follow her passions and attend culinary school. Shortly afterward, the couple founded RGKkitchen, and the rest is history! What began as a start-up, quickly exploded into an event catering business for bachelorettes, weddings, showers and more! Below, Gabler-Kirbos explains the joys of working as a husband-and-wife team along with the struggles of starting a business in the midst of a pandemic.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“I always loved cooking in the kitchen with my parents as a little kid. When my mom passed and then my dad got sick, I helped him do the cooking. After he passed, I spent most of my cooking time with my Oma, who encouraged my love for cooking. When I went to college for communications, I realized I hated it. My roommate, Mary, and my fiancé (now husband), Stephen, encouraged me to go to culinary school. Stephen and I packed up and moved to Massachusetts. I graduated and worked in country clubs, stadiums, fine dining, catering, and dispensary kitchens. When the pandemic hit, with the support of my husband and my in-laws I started RGKkitchen. Within a few months our business exploded. Before I knew it, we flew passed 100 events and booking 8+ months in advance.”
What do you love about your business?
“I love getting to be creative! From the menus to the set up, I get to play with the details which is something I really enjoy. I also get to cook alongside my husband, Stephen. He’s extremely extroverted where I’m a little more shy. I can focus on cooking while he entertains. I love that we get to work as a team to give our client’s the best experience.”
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“We catered a dinner party for a sweet couple and their friends. There’s three of us working getting everything together for entrees in the kitchen when the husband popped in very quietly and startled us. We all had a good laugh and kept going. Throughout the night as he had more drinks he popped in through different doors in the house. The garage, the basement, the front door, up through the floor from the wine cellar, somehow from upstairs when we never saw him come in, etc. Absolutely odd but also one of the funniest things I’ve ever had happen. We never knew where he was going to pop up next. They had a great dinner and we left just cracking up that this was real life.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“Getting through the pandemic! We started in the midst of the pandemic trying to navigate state requirements, client preferences, and keeping ourselves safe. Looking back, we had no idea if we were going to make it through covid as a success. I’m really happy to be able to say that we did.”
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Categories: Cambro Featured Business of the Week