The Children's Institute Blog

Nate Ragston: King of the Desserts

Posted: Oct 03, 2017 by The Children's Institute

We have two words for anybody who wonders why the desserts in the dining room fly out the door so fast: Nate. Ragston.

Nate, who we’re profiling today as part of Healthcare Food Service Workers Week, has been here just one year but, in that time, the Texas native has made his presence known.

“Most the stuff you see out there, the desserts? They’re made from scratch,” Nate said proudly. “I make my own pie crusts, pie fillings, all from scratch. I make my own cake glazes and icings.”

“Nate is very proud of what he does here – and he should be,” said Johanna “Jody” Michalik, director of food and nutrition services.

Nate moved from Houston to Pittsburgh about three years ago and this is his first job in food services and catering. But he seems to have a knack for it.

“I’m always cooking – I come from six boys and no girls. You need to learn how to cook,” he laughed.

Does he have a favorite dish or dessert?

“Whatever I make, I’m into it fully,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what I make, I just enjoy cooking. And I just enjoy seeing people enjoy the food.”

While Nate hasn’t traded in his southern roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers – in addition to a deep passion for the New Orleans Saints, Nate introduced New Orleans-style beignets to The Children’s Institute – he does admit there’s one thing about Southwestern Pennsylvania he could take or leave.

“You can keep the snow – in Texas, we don’t see that much of it,” Nate laughed. “I’m alright ‘til winter rolls around.”

One thing does keep him smiling during the second half of the calendar year, though.

“On Sundays, I’m glued to football, switching on TV between that and ESPN,” he laughed, before adding, “And maybe a little from the cooking channels, to spruce it up.”

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