From Trade West newspaper Dec. 23, 2009. Written by Jane Ryan
For Chef Megan Yutesler of Meg’s Catering, cooking is a prayerful act.
Megan Yutesler of St. Paul immediately declared herself a cook, not a chef. Considering the high level of her offerings through Meg’s Catering, including gourmet multi-course meals served at the Miletta Vista Winery and privately, I naturally think chef. I’ll admit it, I’m from that old school that declares if you look like a duck, waddle like a duck and quack like a duck, you’re probably a duck. But it doesn’t really matter what Megan is called as long as she keeps cooking. Yutesler started cooking at 10 an din spite of many missteps in the kitchen Megan still claims, “I’ve always loved cooking.” That love has sustained her through demanding training at the Culinary Institute of America, the other CIA, and with other culinary experts. Megan has a great story and here are a few highlights: Daughter of Emil and Kathy Ripp of Cairo, she graduated from Centura High in 1995. Megan attended university in Omaha but eventually quit trying to fight her way past obstacles presented in a male dominated field. Instead, she waited tables and was so successful that she became the restaurant’s co-manager at just 21. Within months business at the previously underutilized Omaha eating establishment doubled under her energetic care. About that time she met and hired Donnie Yutesler, a displaced fisherman, “because he was really cute.” They worked together long enough to zing each other’s heart strings and before Donnie returned to the sea to resume his fishing career. Their separation was enough to make Megan realize how much she missed him so she decided to follow her heart to North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Donnie. You can guess what happened next. You’re right. After she and Donnie married, Megan worked a few jobs long enough to decided what to do professionally. Eventually she told her boss she loved food, wanted to be a chef and agreed to do whatever necessary to make that happen. That proclamation led Yutesler to study and apprentice under seven CIA chefs “where I got to work in all phases of cooking,” a rare experience for anyone. Luckily for the Yuteslers, she also worked with fish and fishermen and Donnie brought fresh fish home for Megan’s nighttime practice sessions (which she appreciated very much). After six years in North Carolina, the couple moved back to Nebraska in 2005 while awaiting the birth of their first child, Jackson. Initially they lived with Megan’s parents but moved to St. Paul when they bought a home and started Meg’s Catering in 2006 when Jackson was just two months old. Yutesler is accomplished in the science of foods yet continues to experiment with new food combinations and to personalize recipes. In addition to catering for private affairs, Megan is also the chef/cook at St. Paul’s Miletta Vista Winery where meals fit for royalty are served several nights each week. For the upcoming menus, schedules and to make reservations check out Miletta’s website: www.milettavistawinery.com. When asked what she likes most about catering, she said, “The creative aspect of cooking. I’ve always been artistic and love pleasing people” with food which keeps Megan grounded. She unabashedly shared that cooking is a spiritual act and her cooking efforts combined with her prayers makes finished products magic. Determined to be with their baby full time, Meg’s Catering has been the answer to this busy mother’s dreams. Because of the rhythm of catering, Megan takes Jackson (sometimes with a helper) along to prepare and deliver delicious meals without missing a moment of their son’s life. Her goals for the next five years includes maintaining the best of both worlds - time to mother her child mixed with time to create dishes she loves sharing. Megan shared, “I’m so blessed. I get to stay home with my son and do what I love, too.” You know I recommend foods that taste delicious to me, right? Well, Megan gave me a piece of pumpkin cheesecake that was to die for and now I won’t make it through the holidays without getting some to share with my family. For a mouthwatering meal or for something sweet contact Megan in St. Paul at 308-390-3888 and please tell her I sent you. And no surprise here, one of her favorite movies is “Julie and Julia.”
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.