By Kevin Collison
Mia Morrow of Cheffed Up grew up in the world of food with a strong entrepreneurial bent.
So when Afterword Tavern & Shelves put out the word last year it was seeking an entrepreneurial chef to team with, she was ready and excited to respond.
“We really gelled,” Morrow said. “It’s been incredible.
“I identify with changing my seasonal menu with their cocktail menu. It’s interactive and creative bouncing off ideas with the bartenders and staff.”
Before becoming the chef at the cozy tavern and book store at 19th and Grand, Morrow had plenty of culinary experience growing up in Overland Park with her family that has its roots to Guatemala.
“My mom owned a catering company when I was 10 and I worked with her,” she said. “While working in the restaurant business in Kansas City I did everything from chef apprentice to dishwasher.”
Morrow eventually attended the Johnson County Culinary Institute and got her degree in food beverage and management. While working as a corporate chef, she got a taste for striking out on her own.
“It inspired me to open a business,” she said. “Once the pandemic hit, I felt it was the right time. It was definitely different, but a leap of faith prompted me.”
With the help of her wife, Brittany Smith, Morrow developed the idea and designed a logo for her new business Cheffed Up.
She began working out of a commissary kitchen at the Ennovation Center in Independence in August 2021. Besides catering, she prepared chef dinners in peoples’ homes.
Her inspiration came from the traditional American dishes she helped prepare growing up, but taking an extra step to elevate them. Along her culinary journey, she’s also introduced some Thai dishes and is beginning to explore her Guatemalan roots.
Cheffed Up began growing through word-of-mouth and social media, and some of her real estate agent friends gave her company business as gifts at house closings.
Then she saw the posting about Afterword looking for a chef.
The five-year-old business in the Crossroads had a prep kitchen space in its cellar and wanted to add another layer of hospitality to go along with its drinks and books.
After a successful pop-up last September, Cheffed Up set up culinary shop full time in November.
The menu is relatively small, Morrow remains a one-person operation, but it changes with the seasons and drinks.
Openers include a charcuterie board and beer cheese dip, and more substantial fare includes a roasted chicken salad sandwich and Mia’s Mac, pasta topped with a five-cheese sauce. The current dessert is lemon berry tart.
Food service hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. There’s a limited menu Saturday from 1- to 5 p.m., and the full menu from 5- to 10 p.m.
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