• Leslee Miller – Sommelier

    Leslee Miller is a dually certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild and the Court of Master Sommeliers.

    She is the sole owner of wine consulting firm, Amusée, founded in 2005, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Read Leslee's Full Bio

    Leslee Miller is a dually certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild and the Court of Master Sommeliers.

    She is the sole owner of wine consulting firm, Amusée, founded in 2005, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    After having spent time in the Pacific Northwest, working as director to Archery Summit Winery in Oregon and Board of Directors Member for sister winery, Pine Ridge of Napa, Leslee returned to her Midwestern roots to start her company Amusée, yet continues to work across the globe.

    Amusée provides everything wine!

    With a background in hospitality, Amusée's services include: consulting & staff training for restaurants and retail, international winery consulting, personal wine buying, commercial & residential cellar management, wine writing and spokesperson/media work, corporate & private event planning, wine/cooking education classes, and catered/pairing events for all levels of wine enthusiasts.

    Her energizing personality and great passion for wine and food make the world of food and wine a fun place to imbibe!

  • Philip Dorwart – Owner/ Executive Chef

    Philip attended the Culinary Institute of America. During and after his schooling he worked in New York City at Zoë. In New York he took in as much of the culture as he could and also did stages in many kitchens such as American Place, Aquavit, Daniel and Gotham. He began to develop his own style and philosophy of food and cooking. His Contemporary American Cuisine uses only the best available produce, meat and fish and prepares them with care in a way that focuses on the ingredients.

    Read Philip's Full Bio

    Philip attended the Culinary Institute of America. During and after his schooling he worked in New York City at Zoë. In New York he took in as much of the culture as he could and also did stages in many kitchens such as American Place, Aquavit, Daniel and Gotham. He began to develop his own style and philosophy of food and cooking. His Contemporary American Cuisine uses only the best available produce, meat and fish and prepares them with care in a way that focuses on the ingredients.

    Philip also worked in Boston at Another Season, which is now gone but was a wonderful restaurant focusing on seasonal and indigenous foods of New England.

    Chef Dorwart left New York with an offer from his former employer, Table of Contents in St. Paul. They needed him to help open their new restaurant in Minneapolis, he jumped at the chance to help design a menu and kitchen. As Executive Sous Chef he planned menus and hired cooks and worked on his individual style of cuisine. Eventually the opportunity presented itself to take over the ranges at Table of Contents-Mpls. He did so in 1996 and soon was winning local awards such as “Best Restaurant” and “Best Chef” as well as “Restaurateur of the Year in 2002”. Philip became a partner in Table of Contents and the group went on to open Red Fish Blue in St. Paul.

    In December of 2003 Chef Dorwart took over the kitchen at Tejas Restaurant in Edina, MN. With his love for Southwestern and Latin ingredients this was a natural fit.

    In 2004 opportunity came calling and Philip jumped at the opportunity to open a great new restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis called Tryg’s. Philip had total creative control. As soon as it opened it received raves from critics throughout the area. After 18 months Philip decided it was time to work for himself again and started CREATE. Intimate events and restaurant consulting are the focus of his company—life is good. Business is great and now Philip has opened The Dining Studio a private dining center in Northeast Minneapolis. This is a new idea in cooking and dining, he thinks of it as a private restaurant where his clients help design each step of their experience. The Dining Studio has an open kitchen with seating around the ranges and a totally unique décor featuring local artists and a giant communal table made from wood from the Dorwart’s farm.

    Philip likes to bring exotic ingredients into his cooking and present them in a way that won’t intimidate his customers. Incorporating delicacies such as truffles and foie gras into everyday dishes.

    To keep their food evolving, Philip and his wife, Desiree, who is also a chef, travel, eat out and read every food publication they can get their hands on.

    In 2004 the Dorwarts bought a 35 acre farm in Wadena, MN. They farm organic vegetables in the summer months which they sell to their many friends in independent restaurants throughout the Twin Cities. They also use their vegetables in their own events to offer a truly unique experience. Philip and Desiree have a true commitment to organics, local artisans and sustainable practices in all their endeavors.

  • Desiree Dorwart – Owner/ VP of Operations

    Desiree grew up in the restaurant business. Her parents owned the Norseman Restaurant in Hawley, MN. So, at a very young age Desiree was always in the kitchen helping out the chef at the restaurant. When she graduated from college with her degree in psychology she decided she wanted more. She was working at a restaurant in Fargo when the chef suggested she go to culinary school. She opted to go to New England Culinary Institute in Vermont for her education in the culinary arts.

    Read Desiree's Full Bio

    Desiree grew up in the restaurant business. Her parents owned the Norseman Restaurant in Hawley, MN. So, at a very young age, Desiree was always in the kitchen helping out the chef at the restaurant. When she graduated from college with her degree in psychology she decided she wanted more. She was working at a restaurant in Fargo when the chef suggested she go to culinary school. She opted to go to New England Culinary Institute in Vermont for her education in the culinary arts.

    Desiree landed an internship with Philip Dorwart at Table of Contents Restaurant in Minneapolis and she never looked back. After finishing her internship with Philip, she moved to the renowned Lucia’s Restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis. She manned the ranges at Lucia’s for four years, taking in all of the knowledge and experience she could from the staff and Lucia. In 2001 Desiree decided it was time for a change of pace and accepted a teaching position at The Art Institutes of Minneapolis. At A.I. she found herself challenged daily in helping to mold the next generation of chefs and managers. She ended her tenure at A.I. in 2014 to focus solely on Create Catering & The Dining Studio.  In 2007 Desiree filmed and finished a DVD series titled “Cooking for Kids” which is being sold on amazon.com.

  • Corey Meier – Chef de Cuisine

    Corey is a graduate from the Arts Institute International in Minneapolis. His focus is day to day operations of all things food for Create. His inspired cooking continually wows our clients. He has been Chef de Cuisine for us for since early in 2012.

    Read Corey's Full Bio

    Corey is a graduate of the Arts Institute Minneapolis (A.I).  Through his college tenure, Meier worked under Chef Rick Kimmes at the Oceanaire Seafood Room in Minneapolis, where he mastered the grill and sauté stations on the line.  After graduation, Meier moved on to manage The Legends Club kitchen at Target ® Field.  After his second season closed with the Twins, Meier, too eager to wait out the off-season lull, pursued new exposure to the culinary world.

    Meier met with Philip Dorwart, of Create Catering and Dining Studio seeking options.  Meier was aware of Dorwart’s history as the former chef/owner of Table of Contents, reviewed as ahead of his time with award-winning dishes.

    While at Create, Meier has flexed his creative talents with recipes under Philip’s leadership and tasting in an autonomist style.  Corey soon began managing off-site fine dining events.  Within a year of hire, in 2011, he was promoted to his current position as Chef de Cuisine.

    Meier’s inspirations with cooking are based on classic techniques while incorporating Create’s mission towards local and sustainable sourcing.  In growing season, his menu variations are focused around utilizing produce from the Dorwart’s 40-acre organic farm for added closeness to his cuisine.

    Two lengthy solo backpacking tours through Europe allowed for Meier to gain a philosophy he applies to the challenges of catering.  He speaks of going with gut feelings, making decisions, and being creative to solve variables he encounters with the best means possible to execute a goal.  “Sometimes [off-site] I invent a technique that I wouldn’t have traditionally used,” said Meier.  Possibly, he could be referring to the time he hauled half a ton of product to a house to cater, but forgot a whisk for the béarnaise sauce.  “You’ve just got to punt at that point,” he said.

    Today, Meier can be found doing chef demonstrations at Create’s open-kitchen The Dining Studio, curing prosciutto and fresh pastas for upwards of 100 guests at a time.  Under Dorwart’s steady guidance, Meier heads off-site banquets from 12 to 350 people managing a staff of nearly 30 workers.

    “People become chefs for that instant gratification of seeing people enjoy something that they made with their own hand,” said Meier. “I am face to face with the people I cook for, and I love seeing that [moment].”

  • Nicky Metchnek – Event Sales Director

    Nicky is Create’s Event Sales Director and has been with the company since 2007 when the Dining Studio opened. Nicky grew up in Minneapolis, jumped across the border to Wisconsin to attend UW Madison for her undergraduate degree, and finished her formal educational endeavors at Loyola University in Chicago where she received her Masters degree in Social Work. She moved back to Minneapolis after graduate school to practice school social work and to marry the love of her life, Gary.

    Read Nicky's Full Bio

    Nicky is Create’s Event Sales Director and has been with the company since 2007 when the Dining Studio opened.  Nicky grew up in Minneapolis, jumped across the border to Wisconsin to attend UW Madison for her undergraduate degree, and finished her formal educational endeavors at Loyola University in Chicago where she received her Masters degree in Social Work. She moved back to Minneapolis after graduate school to practice school social work and to marry the love of her life, Gary. She took a break from paid employment to stay home with her boys, Alex and Adam, for seven years at which point, the stars were all in alignment and she found an exciting new career opportunity with Create. She loves working with her clients to help create truly memorable events. From the first phone call, to her post-event check-in, Nicky engages with clients to insure that every detail is tended to and that their vision is brought to life with her help.

  • Julie Myers – Office Manager

    A true jack-of-all-trades, Julie comes to Create with 35 plus years of experience in the hospitality world.

    Read Julie's Full Bio

    A true jack-of-all-trades, Julie comes to Create with 35 plus years of experience in the hospitality world. She was born and raised in Minneapolis, flew the coop right after high school where she received most of her F&B experience in Dallas, Texas. Though she attempted almost every position with the hospitality industry, recognized early on that her talents were best used in front of the house operations, especially focusing in financial and administrative operations. Julie brings a unique and refreshing perspective to our Create team with her ability to understand the sense of urgency and organization for both clients and staff involved to execute the perfect event.

  • Sarah Lindgren – Service Manager

    Sarah was born and raised in Minneapolis and has been managing front of the house for catering companies and hotels around the Twin Cities for 20 years.

    Sarah started as a catering server with D’amico Catering in 1996 and quickly moved into a supervisor role and then Banquet Manager for three of their locations: The Metropolitan Ballroom, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Padelford River Boats. After 10 years with D’amico, Sarah moved on and spent the next 10 years in hotels where she managed events and became a Catering Sales Manager.

    Read Sarah's Full Bio

    Sarah was born and raised in Minneapolis and has been managing front of the house for catering companies and hotels around the Twin Cities for 20 years.

    Sarah started as a catering server with D’amico Catering in 1996 and quickly moved into a supervisor role and then Banquet Manager for three of their locations: The Metropolitan Ballroom, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Padelford River Boats. After 10 years with D’amico, Sarah moved on and spent the next 10 years in hotels where she managed events and became a Catering Sales Manager. After only a year in sales she quickly realized her passion was in the front of the house providing the best service to her clients.

    She came across an opening at Create and jumped on the opportunity to be back on the front lines. Sarah has extensive knowledge in front of the house service at catered events. She has managed events from 10 to 5,000 guests. Her calm and upbeat demeanor makes for a pleasant environment for everyone involved.

    When Sarah’s not "WOWing" our guests at Create's Catered events, she’s busy with two of her three children, Grace and Ayden, attending sporting events. Her third, Dylan, is grown up and on his own. She’s engaged to the love of her life, Adam and together they enjoy all the fun things in life.

    Sarah’s excitement to learn and evolve makes her a perfect fit for Create.