After attending the Culinary Institute of America and running a catering business in New York, local Mickala Dorman has returned to her roots — and brought her culinary talents and new business venture along with her.
Dorman, a Bellefonte Area High School and later Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology graduate, recently returned to the area to be close to family and take a position as a private chef at Penn State. As of this year, she’s decided to strike out on her own, with a brand-new catering business, Twisted Whisk Catering.
Open for business Oct. 1, Twisted Whisk Catering provides an array of food services for any kind of event in Centre County and the surrounding area.
As for her motive behind the brand, Dorman said it’s simple.
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“I was tired of (cooking) everyone else’s recipes and making everyone else money. I was doing all the grunt work. It was time for me to start (my own business.)“
Catering is Dorman’s passion.
“The restaurant life is not for me. I love catering because, firstly, the hours and, secondly, it’s always different,” she said. “You’re not doing the same food every single time. It allows a chef to grow a little bit more ... because you have a little bit more (room for) creativity and versatility in the food you’re preparing, depending on what your client wants.”
Dorman, who has an extensive background in international cuisine, provides her clients with both full-service catering designed for large social events, like weddings, as well as a DIY offering. This service is just one thing that sets Twisted Whisk Catering apart from other vendors in the area, she said.
“Instead of me going and being at the catering event the entire time, serving and setting up, a cheaper option we offer is DIY. I’ll make the food the client wants for their event and then they will come pick it up from me or I’ll drop it off at the event, but that would be the extent of it,” she said. “I wouldn’t set up the tables or anything like that. They’re in charge of keeping the food warm and serving it. It’s a little bit cheaper on their end...”
Additionally, Twisted Whisk Catering hosts private chef events in clients’ homes.
“If you’re having a party at your house and you want to be able to include your guests in your food, I would come to your house and cook everything in front of your guests and help entertain them, talk to them about food, pass the knowledge on to people in the area,” Dorman said.
Currently, Dorman manages the catering business part-time, while still working at Penn State, where she operates as a private chef under College Chefs, a company that places chefs in fraternity and sorority houses all over the country.
“They’re an awesome company to work for, but I think it’s time for me to spread my wings and learn how to fly, whether it works or not,” Dorman said.
It’s just Dorman manning the business at the moment, but, as she grows, she plans to bring on some of her culinary contacts to work with her on an as-needed basis. In the next year, she hopes to grow the business to the extent it can support her full time.
“I know I’m young, and this is my first time out on my own, but I do know what I’m doing. I did this for four years up in New York, so this is not my first rodeo. I’d like to be ... able to support myself on my own business, rather than leaning on someone else and fulfilling someone else’s dreams. I want to fulfill my own dreams.”
You can follow Twisted Whisk Catering on Facebook and Instagram at @TwistedWhiskCatering and inquire about services for your next event at www.twistedwhiskcatering.com.