Mitchie's Munchies Owner and Executive Chef Michelle Curran
Las Vegas has a daunting list of world class pastry and chocolate talent, but almost as impressive are the number of homegrown talents like Sweet House Las Vegas' Nilda Arias, Popcorn Girl's Laurie Sobol and perhaps most of all, Michelle Curran, who turned her childhood dream into impressive reality with Mitchie's Munchies. The home-based business has brought Curran national recognition, including an appearance on Food Network's Sugar Dome, and even topped stiff competition in the Best Desserts category of the Review-Journal's Best of Las Vegas in 2013.
There are two sides to Curran's business: one, elaborate decorative cakes, the more creative the better and two, Mitchies's "schnaks" and "pinschmeez" (The lingo dates back to Michelle's childhood, her family calls it "Mitchanese.") like "schmoreos" and "schmapples." Yeah, she says these names with a straight face...sort of.
"The Schmoreo is the snack that started it all," Mitchie tells us. "It's a creme filled sandwich cookie, dipped in my hand-made caramel , premium imported milk chocolate, and then I take a chocolate wafer candy, crack that on top and drizzle some white chocolate. My favorite schnak is the Schnibble, a peanut butter sandwich cookie dipped in dark chocolate topped with a peanut butter patty. And my newest creation is a buttercream bar, a graham cracker with a thin coating of ganache, butter cream and then dipped in dark chocolate. " Obviously that last one still needs a good schname.
As for cakes, Curran emphasizes that she won't accept more than 5 orders a week, "So I'm able to focus on my clients." Creativity is definitely important to her as a cake artist. "Every single cake I make becomes my favorite until I make the next one. Anything eclectic or obscure I love, especially when a client says 'Here's my budget, you have artistic freedom.'" Click on the special Gore N More link on mitchiesmunchies.com to see her not-so-secret passion in full bloom.
One might think "anything goes" in Michelle's kitchen, but in fact, she does have rules--and standards. "I don't sell anything I won't eat," Curran tells us. "I have a strong thing against coconut and nuts, I think they take away from other flavors and they're too much work to eat." However, she's just as passionate about using quality chocolate, and making anything from scratch that she can.
Clearly Curran appreciates a good challenge. Recalling her experience on Food Network's Sugar Dome, she says: "When that clock starts, it doesn't stop. There's no 'take two,' and the last 26 minutes of the competition, I could literally see my heart beating. It was overwhelming and exhausting! But I'd do it again."
Words: E.C. Gladstone Photos: Courtesy Mitchie's Munchies
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