Many students dream of moving away to the big city lights of some far off metropolis, leaving behind the cozy, little town of Mount Pleasant upon graduation.
For Central Michigan University alum Kati Mora, life is what you make of it — no matter where you are — as she has shown how successful a college graduate can be while choosing to raise a family in Mount Pleasant.
Mora, who earned her bachelor’s degree in dietetics in 2006 and her master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics in 2011, has been the owner and operator of a cookware shop in downtown Mount Pleasant since its opening almost a year ago.
The Plate Boutique, located at 120 E.Broadway St. across from Max & Emily’s, has a welcoming layout with shelves full of cookware and dinnerware ranging from the traditional to the somewhat unusual and fun.
“The shop is a nutrition-inspired kitchenware shop that focuses on helping people build a better plate,” Mora said. “We want people to eat healthier and enjoy it. A lot of people have the stigma that healthy food is terrible or hard to put together on a budget. The shop tries to change that perception.”
After starting out her college career as an elementary education major, Mora felt uninspired. With the advice of her then-boyfriend and now-husband, Aaron Mora, she found the dietetics program in the CMU bulletin and decided that was what she wanted to do.
She started a nutrition blog called aroundtheplate.org, now a nationally-recognized nutrition website. It features nutrition facts, healthy eating habits and recipes, among other things. She is also a weekly columnist for the Morning Sun.
Her reputation and hard work in the nutrition and dietetics community throughout the country has opened up a plethora of opportunities for her, including the opportunity to have dinner with Food Network star Alton Brown, the host of “Cutthroat Kitchen,” earlier this month at a nutritionist convention in Chicago.
Mora’s passion for helping people make healthier food decisions isn’t only limited to the Internet. She offers numerous free group seminars on healthy food habits, as well as private one-on-one consultations for a small fee in her shop.
“A lot of people will come in with an idea of what they want to do or what is good for them,” Mora said. “I make sure that what they know is correct, is safe and is achievable, aside from helping them with the things they don’t know.”
She recently started a program geared toward students called “30 for 30,” a 30-minute meal plan seminar for $30 that teaches students how to pick out and put together healthy meals while on a student’s limited budget.
During the upcoming farmers market, Mora is running a seminar where she will take everyone to the market and introduce them to all the local sellers. She hopes to tell them about the many nutritious produce items available and then take them back to the store and show them how to cook everything in an effective way.
Mora made signing up for a consultation incredibly easy, as everything is done through the store’s Facebook page.
For Mora, her reason for staying in mid-Michigan is simple: family.
“My husband and I grew up in Michigan, and we love the big cities, but love raising our family in Mount Pleasant,” Mora said. “This is where we want to be.”