Gala Catering became an official professional catering company for the entertainment industry by working on its first project in the 80’s. I came to personally experience their expertise while working on TV shows and films being produced out here in Pittsburgh.
Their etiquette, cuisine, and crew became more glamorous than the stars on set they prepare meals for! And here is why…
How did you get to cater for ABC’s Downward Dog?
Short answer: Hard work, plus the relationships we have built over a 30-year time frame, enable Gala to be hired by ABC on Downward Dog, as well as other successful projects throughout the country on a consistent basis. Word of mouth has traveled far throughout the years and continues today.
Do you pick the food menu or does the production?
We do the menu 99% of the time. Often times at the wrap meal, production will throw in to accommodate lobster tails, seafood bar, etc. to show the crew their appreciation for all the hard work (on what’s usually amounts to a few months.
How did your company get started?
Fed Gabrielli started the company in Houston in 1983. He was a chef in a popular restaurant back then. One day, a client asked if he would like to cook for a television commercial.
He took the opportunity and never looked back. He started with one trailer, now, each crew has three large trucks (a kitchen truck, a dry storage unit, and a refrigeration truck). All in all, Fred owns nearly 30 pieces of equipment today enabling Gala Catering to working on up to ten projects at a time.
What is your favorite part about catering in Pittsburgh?
It is absolutely beautiful here, hence why so many films decide to shoot here. Take “The Outsiders” for example (another show we cater for), they chose to film here bc its amazing scenery fits their location requirement of a virtually untouched terrain.
The locations are stunning, historic and often luscious green.
The sports here are incredible. We have never seen anything like it. The local hospitality is tremendous. It is always a pleasure for the crew to work in the Steel City.
As an international catering business, where is the one place you like to cater?
Every project we work on has its own specific interests. A production and locations crew would not choose to shoot somewhere boring, so essentially we enjoy them all.
Places, where the elements are somewhat normal, are always the best. Constant sandstorms in New Mexico make it difficult for us and the food. Snow storms in Boston and at the NY Super Bowl a few years ago never help.
One of our crews is enjoying a lovely Hawaii location on “project next” right now. Puerto Rico on Happy Madison’s/Netflix’ was very nice as well.
If you want to get a glimpse of the locations around the country we are filming at right now, please follow us on social media @GalaCrew.
What was your favorite production to cater?
We have a lot of great friends in production throughout the country and much further…a very difficult question.
Happy Madison Production and Gala Catering has been a team since Wedding Singer. Their relationship to us is very unique in this line of business. When you go on a Happy Madison set, it feels like family, and that is very tough to do especially nowadays in this industry.
What do you do with the leftover food?
It varies depending on state laws, but we always try to get it to a deserving place that can lend a hand to those in need. Often, an organization will come by and pick up the food to take to the those less fortunate.
Has any of your employees been asked to be apart of a TV Show/Movie because an extra didn’t show up?
Not because an extra didn’t show up, but more so because of relationships. A couple crew members have been thrown into the films for no particular reason. Who knows what is going through those creative minds, especially after a great Gala Dish!
JFK and Grandma’s Boy come to mind most for Gala Crew members having a literal “flash” on screen.
Will you be hosting any contests?
We actually have been planning on a couple the past few weeks but have not completed.
We are going to do one or two social media events in the very near future.
One will be for all of our fans, where you are challenged to photograph our trucks and tag us wherever you see us, and possibly adding extra points for specific photos- the winner will be awarded some Gala Swag and items such as shirts, hats and even our used cutting boards that have been worked with on set by our chefs.
Our more in-depth contest will contest of us putting 2 or 3 classic Gala Catering dishes on social media that you at home are encouraged to recreate to a tee and share with us and your friends. It is called #IAmAGalaCaterer.
We will take the top 5 winners and have them compete for prizes and possibly a chance to cook with Gala for the day and visit set.
Look for both of these coming very soon.
What makes you stand out from other catering businesses?
Gala Catering has been in the industry for 35 years working long hours (16-18 hrs a day) in often difficult elements (rain, sleet or snow the show, and the food, must go on), and continues to serve quality food to its clients on a daily basis.
Doing this consistently in the time frame we have, with now 10 catering crew available to work at one time, spreads word of mouth, and the brand of Gala Catering now speaks for itself. The connections we have made are strong and firm throughout those years.
Simply providing outrageously delicious food, with marginally below average critiques, and above expectation grids of excellence, is just a taste of what makes us stand out from the rest.
Gala Catering also caters for the Democratic National Convention & in the past 7 Super Bowl Halftime Shows and NFL Kickoff parties. The Breakthrough Awards and much more. They just don’t cater for films, but very large, and very unique special events as well.
Answers provided by Ross Gabrielli (Manager of Gala Catering Social Media Channels).