Football, Family, and Food: The Story of Gala Catering

Thursday, July 02, 2020 1:35 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

Article By: Amelia Addor
PAFIA Writer

Ross Gabrielli, VP of Sales and Marketing of Gala Catering who had worked in the food industry ever since he could remember when his father, Fred Gabrielli, started the business back in the 1980s. Gala Catering started as a family company that went from serving meals from a single trailer in Houston, Texas. That slowly but surely grew from Fred’s and his crew’s dedication and hard work.

A prominent and valued PAFIA supporter, Gabrielli’s family business can be traced back to his father and mother starting small and working their way into prominence. Now, Gala Catering works on up to ten projects at a time utilizing a kitchen truck, a refrigeration truck, and a dry storage truck.

Some highlights of Ross’ career so far include being a private chef for Adam Sandler, serving nearly 2,000 people at once at the Los Angeles Forum, and being a fantastic father to his 6-year-old son, Renner. Check out Gala Catering @galacrew and @galacatering on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and IMDb. 

What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
Building and maintaining relationships is key in this industry. That alone will help get more work in the future. Keeping the entire crew happy and full is one to the best ways for us to get next gig. People take recognition of good food, and if they admire your professional performance/work ethic enough, you will most likely get another job with the clientele on an upcoming project.

Also, take a look through your local production report: this is a good resource for finding listed email addresses to the production offices. Contact them and let them know you are available, attach a link of your resume, and see what happens. 

Who have you met while working that has influenced you the most?
My father, Fred Gabrielli, has influenced me most with his hard work, dedication, and passion to starting a small business and turning it into what it has become today. My mother as well. She was one of the strongest influences in my life and an amazing woman. 

What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest work moment?
When I was 5 years old, on Pee Wee’s Big Top. I loved Pee Wee as a kid, so my dad let me carry his food tray to him in his trailer. Well, I was so anxious to see the character I watched on TV every day that I spilt his food all over his shirt when I was trying to serve him!

Where do you see your company going in the next five years?
There are a few things behind the scenes, and in the works, that will propel Gala Catering to another level as time goes on. For now, I will say we’re steadily improving at every phase of the daily catering grind as the company has been doing for the last 35 years. The history just shows hard work and dedication pays off. Our team will make sure that persists into the future. 

What is Gala Catering’s connection to Pennsylvania?
Gala Catering has several connections to Pennsylvania. We have done many projects in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas (including Denzel Washington’s “Fences” Tom Hank’s “Mr. Rodgers”, “Manhunt, “Desperate Measures” and more.)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were working on an untitled HBO project in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is an important part to the film industry and Gala Catering is proud to be a part of that. We look forward to growing with the Pennsylvania projects. It’s a beautiful place with great incentives. Who wouldn’t want to work there? 

Do you have any valuable lessons that you learned about your business’s industry?
There are too many to list, but I will mention that one of our most valuable assets to Gala Catering is Chef Donna Cushing. She has instilled many valuable lessons on me. She continues to do so today to all our employees and crew members. She is a key component that keeps our business’s wheels turning and the entire system constantly improving and moving forward. 

What is your favorite project that your business worked on?
The Longest Yard and Grandma’s Boy: Really, any Happy Madison film. Happy Madison is like family to Gala Catering.

What is it like to serve food at the Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show?
Working the Super Bowl is extremely unique for several reasons. It’s amazing to watch the “party” grow day by day. Since we arrive almost 2 weeks before the Super Bowl commences, we get to see the big game (and all the craziness that surrounds it) begin from infancy and slowly transform into the largest show in the country. It’s very different from film! Each person working the halftime show must execute their role with no flaws while only having one (proverbial) “take” to entertain the entire nation.

Why do you consider your most recent success an accomplishment milestone? 
We have been serving TD ENT (the company who develops and displays the Halftime show) for 10 years now. They are the people behind the scenes that work diligently to make the magic of the halftime happen every year. Also, getting to see the rehearsal show before the rest of the country, standing on the field is one of the most electrifying feelings in the world. We are truly blessed to get to experience that again and again. We will be in Miami for the next Super Bowl!

If you could improve the food service industry in one way, what would it be and why would you change it?
I would incorporate more nutritional awareness and help people become more self-knowledgeable about what they put in their bodies. I am a big advocate for making healthy eating decisions even when other more tempting options are available.

Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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