Here are the amazing folks that make the magic happen in (and outside of) The Real Good Life Kitchen!
Maggie – Owner and Day Dreamer
After several years of figuring out what she wanted to be when she grows up, Maggie realized she kept circling around one topic – food. Maggie went to college at the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!) to get a hospitality management degree to open a restaurant. Turns out the hours stink. She spent many years in the association world planning events for the benefit of daydreaming over luxurious dinner menus she didn’t have to pay for and a frequent flyer account few twenty-somethings can claim. Unfortunately, these job perks are no fun once a family waits at home. After a few years testing the waters as an entrepreneur in other industries, Maggie thinks she’s finally found her home. Her favorite dinner would be a homemade pepperoni pizza made in a cast-iron skillet, fresh bread with roasted garlic to spread, and a French silk pie. Yes, the whole pie. 😉
To Maggie, the real good life is ugly and beautiful, hard and perfect. It’s stressful and it’s amazing. It’s not all great. It’s not all bad. It’s good. It’s real. It’s real good.
FUN FACT: Maggie moved into the house she lives in because it came with a backyard full of fruit trees. That never happens in the middle of the city!
Brooke – Kitchen Manager
Brooke’s passion for food preparation began while working at a resort in northern Wisconsin during her college years. She started working as a waitress and eventually spent more and more time behind the scenes learning how the food was prepared. Her favorite part of working in the restaurant kitchen was expediting during meal service or, making sure the ordered food is made correctly and presented beautifully and timely to the customer. She is curious by nature and there is always something to be learned in a kitchen. That is part of what she loves so much about cooking, baking, tasting and working with a group of people with all kinds of experience. Every day she learns something new.
Brooke’s dream meal this year will probably consist of lots of small bites or tapas. Ideally, an homage to many birthdays ago when she lived in Spain for a semester. Small cups of red wine or sangria and plates of olives, toast with different savory toppings, altramuces (salted lupins seeds), tortilla espanola, albondigas (meatballs) and finish with some dark chocolates.
Brooke comes from a large family. She has 6 sisters and 3 brothers and is the 5th child of the bunch. Being around kids and babies is second nature to her which is probably why she loves them so much.
Ryan – Operations manager
Ryan was raised in a household that encouraged an open table and a wide-open front door. The early days dinners consisted of a lot of cream of mushroom casseroles, but also for food that was best when shared with others. After hopping around local institutions like Heinemann’s and Mo’s Irish Pub, Ryan ended up earning a degree in Community Health Education and Nutrition. He is the proud father of a 3 and 1.5 year old. It is commonplace to find the Sous Chef (3-year-old) and Ryan preparing dinner each night. If they aren’t cooking upstairs, they’re likely prepping his crocheted (Thanks grandma!) fruits and veggies downstairs.
Ryan’s dream meal would take a tour around Milwaukee with Points East buffalo wings with blue cheese for starters, followed by a stop to the Glorioso’s deli counter for an Italian beef with ALL the hot giardiniera, and of course, dessert would be Rice Krispie Treat custard at Oscars.
To Ryan, the real good life is a great cup of coffee and a biscotti. Family bike rides to the park. A crossword puzzle. A freshly mowed lawn. A chance to sit down with family and close friends over a thoughtful, nourishing meal. Ryan has been given so much from the people of this city and he, in turn, would like to assist others in finding their real good life.
Fun Fact: Ryan once participated in a 14-hour GoRuck Challenge with a 40lb rucksack where his team traversed 22 miles.
Sarah – Baking Babe and Kitchen Master
After working at a local cafe in high school and helping her mother with her catering business, Sarah attended Johnson and Wales University and received a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. That brought her to Small Town, Iowa where she baked for a local restaurant for a few years before getting married and having three children. She’s been a stay at home mom for 11 years and finding a job that fits in with that lifestyle was a challenge until she came across The Real Good Life where she cooks for families just like her own.
Sarah tells us that honestly, she would consider anything she doesn’t have to cook (or clean up) herself as the most perfect meal. Though she does prefer making her own birthday dessert because homemade dessert is just better.
Sarah’s definition of “the real good life” is doing what she loves without making compromises that she regrets. She loves being home raising her children, and she loves the flexibility she has to work here. It makes her feel good to know that others can focus on their family and not need to immediately feel the pressure to make a great meal when they get home.
FUN FACT: Sarah loved Clifford books so much as a kid; just the idea of having a dog the size of her house sounded pretty amazing. That translated into having a Great Dane as a pet. She got her first Great Dane in June of 2017 and she doesn’t think she’ll ever own any other breed of dog.
Cathy – Cooking Queen
An artist at heart, Cathy is also highly competent and creative in the kitchen. She learned her love for cooking from her mother, who also is an excellent cook. Cathy understands ingredients and has a special appreciation of good quality, fresh spices. She makes authentic food and doesn’t tolerate shortcuts or fake ingredients. Due to her own diet restrictions, Cathy has also become well versed in gluten-free cooking.
Katrin – another amazing team player
One of Katrin’s favorite things is long meals with good friends. Eating out or staying in — For Katrin, the real good life is quality time spent with people she loves, a good glass of red wine, and Wisconsin summers.
Fun Fact: Katrin recently tried to open a bottle of champagne with a saber. It almost worked. Doesn’t matter! When she’s not chopping veggies at The Real Good Life she’s cooking with her husband, snuggling her pup, or running her wedding and event floral business Cora Flora Studio.
Kim – Online Operative
Kim’s foodie passion began when she moved back to Chicago to finish college at Columbia College. Living in Chicago, Kim was astounded with the options for brunch, lunch and dinner. After moving to Milwaukee to pursue a future in marketing, Kim only expanded on her foodie life with all the farm-to-table restaurants Milwaukee has to offer. Kim has dabbled in cooking through meal delivery services and attempting to remake her mother’s and grandmother’s recipes (though they never really are as good). Her list of bookmarked restaurants to try is ever growing, and her palette always expanding.
When not daydreaming about food or exploring the city with her beau, Kim can be found at her day job (and our after-hours job) working her social media magic for associations and businesses alike.
Kim’s ideal meal would be a decadent scallop pasta with truffle sauce, a side of garlic bread, and for dessert, chocolate layer cake with cookie-dough ice cream and all the hot fudge!
FUN FACT: Kim loves animals, especially koalas, otters, and penguins. When her fiancé proposed, he asked her to be his penguin!
ERic – driver dude
A lot of Eric’s favorite memories involve either family or food, and quite often both. Whether it’s simple like an ice cream run on summer nights or a thoughtful menu plan for a birthday or big sporting event, food has always been part of the celebration of things both big and small for him. There are numerous things he finds enjoyable (all kinds of sports, movies, television, etc.), but he believes that his favorite things, and anything in general, can always be enjoyed even more with an awesome meal.
Eric’s dream meal is chicken parm in any form, though he’s also a sucker for a good biscuits and gravy dish or Chinese food. He thinks it’s unfair that he has to pick a favorite between these. The Real Good Life to him is heading home with a surprise box of doughnuts to share or recommending a great restaurant to someone new.
Fun fact: Eric was a journalist/blogger covering the Milwaukee Bucks for the past 5 years. He was also an intern for the team a few years back. He doesn’t know Giannis personally, but he’s happy to talk about the team! Eric also is a massive fan of golf and has written about it as well.