A Thesaurus and a Bottle of Red Wine

Lisbet in 1996

When I was twenty-four, I sat on the floor of my Eastlake studio apartment, cracked open my finest bottle of Gato Negro and opened my thesaurus. I needed a name for my catering company quickly because I had just booked my first party. 

I was both thrilled and terrified. And it was all because of a single cheesecake. I don’t even particularly like cheesecake, but a good friend of mine in college gave me a recipe that was always a hit and was almost entirely “Lisbet-proof” (i.e. a very forgiving recipe for someone who isn’t great at following directions).

I had recently baked one for a company party (where I had worked as a very unsuccessful member of their accounting team). My boss, Jann, loved that cheesecake so much that she asked if she could buy one for a dinner party she was throwing. I have absolutely no memory of what I charged her for it, but I do distinctly remember it was the first time it ever dawned on me that I could whip up something to eat and people would actually pay me for it. 

Lisbet & Vickie 1999
Lisbet & Vickie in 1999 – one of my dearest friends & right hand for over 25 years. 

After a couple of hours thumbing through my thesaurus and playing with words, I had a winner: “Ravishing Radish Catering”. It was 1993 and that’s how we got things done in the olden days.

The name felt like a good fit. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and it perfectly captured my love for beautiful food, fabulous parties and pretty things. I also figured I could change it later to something more relevant and “business-y” and when the Radish and I grew up. But for the time being, “Ravishing Radish Catering” would work just fine.

I also quickly noticed that when I drove the Radish’s 1990 Dodge Caravan through downtown Seattle on deliveries, people on the street would see the name and logo and I’d see them read it loud to themselves and smile. I’ve always loved how Ravishing Radish feels like a party in and of itself.

Fast forward 30 years…I never did come up with a better name. Or grow up.

We’ve since doubled-down on the name and have a team of about 75+ wonderful people who think being called a “real Radish” is the highest of praise.

Fast-forward to 2023 – Lisbet & Vickie 

But some things do evolve. Instead of sitting on the floor of my apartment with a glass of wine and my thesaurus, I now sit in a proper chair working on my laptop at our Capitol Hill offices, kitchen and micro-venue. And even though I’ve held on to that thesaurus my Mom bought me when I went off to college, I now turn to our leadership team when I need a creative nudge or help with a challenge.

As you can probably tell, my love and excitement for the Radish has only gotten stronger. I had no idea back then that I would get to walk through the door of the Radish to see all these talented and dedicated people who glance up from their pastry-making or silverware-polishing or party planning projects to welcome me with a smile. I also had no clue how many laughs (and tears!) I would share with all these amazing people. 

So that’s how Ravishing Radish Catering got her name and how she came to be so many years ago. And now as I look back at the beautiful parties, lessons learned and the hilarious hijinks, maybe the Radish and I have grown up after all.

I hope you’ll stay tuned for more tales of the early days and where the Radish is heading! 

Cheers~ Lisbet

I have loved to eat and cook since I was able to reach the counters.

-Lisbet, 2 years old


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