We had the good fortune of connecting with Kara Mickelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kara, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
It’s’ not just one decision that leads to “success”. Sometimes it’s about who can stay in the game the longest. And, then your version of success keeps evolving as you grow. I am extremely persistent. That’s my superpower. Also, I had the benefit of a lot of crossover skills right out of culinary school. Before I pulled the trigger and traded in my fancy suites for checked pants and a chef hat, I was a professional event and incentive planner for over ten years. Planning large-scale international events and high-level incentives require a wide range of skills. I chose an out-of-the-box culinary career path, leveraged my professional background, and just kept looking forward even when it seemed challenging.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m an artist at heart. I’m happiest when I am creating whether it’s developing recipes, writing, painting, taking photos or simply looking at things in a different way. That’s what art and being creative is to me: another way to see the world and to always be intellectually curious.

My recent branded cookbook with Insight Editions, based on the Central Perk Cafe in the Friends series was a significant accomplishment. It was a way to use my skills as a writer, creator, chef/recipe developer in support of a popular brand. It also led to another job helping a chef develop their own cookbook and creating recipes for a client’s cookie brand. I really love my clients who value my creativity.

In addition, I am extremely proud of my editorial contributions. I have produced and published recipes, travel, and lifestyle content. Magazine work is not at the high end of the pay scale, however, it’s very satisfying to see my work in print and collaborate with other creative people.

Sometimes it feels like I am going a million different directions, but it keeps everything interesting. Chaos is never boring. The creative path is not easy. There are many highs and lows. This idea that you can just dive in, and it all works out is not realistic. It takes a certain amount of grit to stay the course and there is always that nagging anxiety about resources, hence the term starving artist. There will always be challenges. When you overcome one set of challenges, inevitably more challenges magically show up. With more freedom comes more problems that you must solve. Accept that the “path less traveled” is filled with lessons.

I want the world to know that I am always evolving, that I love collaborating with other people and helping others succeed. As a multi passionate creative type, I don’t fit neatly into a box, but truthfully the real magic happens outside the lines.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I live in the South Bay, so I would introduce them to one or more of the fun beach cities and our stunning coastline: Palos Verdes Peninsula and Redondo, Hermosa, or Manhattan Beach.

Maybe plan a picnic lunch somewhere on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Possibly Lanada Bay, Terranea, or Point Vincente and include a short cliffside walk to take in the magnificent view. Pick up picnic supplies, cheese, charcuterie, and wine at Barsha Wine & Spirits in Hermosa Beach and /or traditional French sandwiches and pastries from Sweet Wheat in Redondo Beach. And, then off to dinner at Arthur J’s, or Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach.

For Day trips: Tour the Getty Center in Los Angeles or Malibu or take the Catalina Express to Catalina Island for a day trip or weekend getaway. We also have some local great attractions to choose from depending on your guests’ interests. Consider touring the Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art, The Natural History Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, or Universal Studios. There really is something for everyone.

Unique experiences: Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, Hollywood Bowl, Disney Concert Hall, Eataly, or Grand Central Market.

For a weekend adventure, I recommend Mammoth Mountain, Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Palm Springs, and Joshua Tree.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mom who passed away in 2020. She was fearful when I left my secure corporate job to pursue culinary school yet encouraged me to continue my creative pursuits when I was wavering. She also helped me find my first job as a personal chef through one of her friends. I would also say that a few culinary instructors provided a lackluster view of a culinary future and unfortunately tried to temper my ambitions to train at the French Laundry. I’m glad I ignored them and pursued my own goals! Sometimes it’s the naysayers that provide fuel to push us forward! What’s that saying, “build a nice house from the bricks that people throw at you”.

Website: www.styleddelicious.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/styleddelicious/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kara-mickelson-0146461a/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/styleddelicious

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kara.mickelson

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4NpXQiWQN7EA9TfphLCqVQ

Image Credits
Shane O’Donnell Kara Mickelson Southbay Magazine MoonTide Media

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.