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We love to boast about our team, especially the wonderful people who create the custom meals that make your event so memorable. Next up: Our Executive Chef, Mike Greene.

Before we dig into his Q&A, we’d like to take a moment to thank Mike for his service to our country. Mike served in the Navy for 12 years as a fire controlman. While waiting to go to tech school, he worked as a deck seaman aboard the John C. Stennis CVN-74 out of San Diego. After completing his schooling, he worked on the close-in weapon system (CIWS) aboard the USS Supply AOE-6 out of Earle, N.J. Then, back to school he went for Aegis computer technician (ACNT), cooperative engagement capability (ACNT) and battle force tactical trainer (BFTT) stationed aboard the USS Preble DDG-88 out of San Diego. 

Naturally, his next stop was the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, N.J.!

Tell us a bit about your culinary journey.

I honed my culinary skills at Avalon Yacht Club in Avalon, N.J., under my mentor, Executive Chef Peter Mark. I also did stints at The Revel in Atlantic City as cook, Sea Oaks Country Club in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., as sous chef, Conshohocken Café in Conshohocken, Pa., as head chef, and the Copperfield Inn in Royersford, Pa., as sous chef.

What were your key takeaways from those experiences?

I’ve always loved to cook, but I wanted to better understand the why and how different things react to time and temperature; so I put myself through school. Then I just got sucked into the world of cooking and the kitchen lifestyle. The people you meet and the crazy personalities you experience you’ll find nowhere else. The cooking profession, in my opinion, is one of the last professions where you can forge your own career path and be as successful as you want with hard work and dedication.

What’s your guiding philosophy as a chef?

My philosophy is to never stop trying to learn. A great chef should always be ready to teach his crew, but also be willing to learn from his crew.

What’s your plan/direction for Robert Ryan Catering & Design’s offerings to clients? 

I want to always raise the high bar that we have here. That means unparalleled food quality, presentation and showmanship.

How is Robert Ryan’s menu different, perhaps more approachable, and why is that important to your clients?

What sets our menu apart from any other catering companies is our willingness to customize current menus, or invent new menus to suit the client’s needs and wants. I look forward to, and thoroughly enjoy, the challenge.

What is a must-have in your kitchen?

A team mentality: Kitchen crews spend a lot of time together. They become family and, like any family, there is always a certain level of dysfunction. With a strong team mentality, dedication and respect for one another, a kitchen crew can be unstoppable. The rest of the world could learn a thing or two from the dynamics of the kitchen microcosm.

What’s your favorite food to cook at home?

I love to try to recreate the flavors of Southern California Mexican food: tacos de lengua (beef tongue), cabeza (meat, usually beef, roasted from the head — no waste!), carne asada (grilled and sliced beef), carnitas (pork, usually slow-cooked), al pastor (spit-roasted pork), camaron (shrimp) and pescado (fish).

Photo by Beth Lane Photography

Tell us a bit about your family.

I am married to the most amazing woman ever, Kristen Greene. She is completely supportive of me and the career I have chosen. I know the hours aren’t always supportive for a healthy home life, but she holds down the fort, and I couldn’t do without her.

What do you like to do in your precious spare time? 

I love to fish and go hiking with my wife. 

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Ready to learn more about our menus and events? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.Nina Malone

All photos courtesy of Robert Ryan Catering & Design