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Impact Stories Published June 7, 2023

‘Call Me Chef-ivist’ – A VIP Micro-Catering Client’s Story

Shayla Felton-Dorsey had a career in education before she took a leap of faith and started her own micro-catering business. She launched Shayla’s Savour in 2017 with a vision of merging her culinary talent with her background as an educator. Today, she’s still pursuing her dream, with the help of some VIP volunteer attorneys along the way.

At Shayla’s Savour, Shayla not only works as a private chef and caterer, but she also leads classes on community food education and food justice. Her topics range from connecting Caribbean and Southern culinary traditions via stories rooted in the African diaspora to working with the English-learning community by teaching an edible alphabet class. She is passionate about helping others, especially low-income BIPOC individuals, to feel empowered in the kitchen and in their communities. She’s not just an activist: “Call me a Chef-ivist,” Shayla said.

In 2020, Shayla felt it was time to form an LLC for her growing business. She had questions about where to begin and what risks she might incur, so she applied for an Ask an Attorney consultation with VIP. “They listened intently and gave me peace of mind about what I needed to do going forward,” Shayla said.

With her volunteer’s help, Shayla formed her LLC in 2020, and her business continued to grow. She applied for further assistance from VIP to create employment agreements, nondisclosure agreements, and other documents that would help her expand and pursue her mission. “Because of the help of my attorney, I had a presence of mind going forward with my various contracts and businesses,” Shayla said. “I am grateful that programs like VIP exist. I don’t have to do all the work myself to find the answers. I am able to use an organization like VIP to receive pro bono advice from expert lawyers.”