CHICO — An idea dawned on Dawn’s Desserts owner Dawn McGaffick during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After temporarily losing her job as a server at Broadway Heights restaurant during the shutdown, she decided to start her own business.
McGaffick had been distributing her desserts to the restaurant 12 years ago.
“A voice whispered that I should serve cheesecake out of my home,” McGaffick said. She ended up serving 57 slices out of her home.
The next step was getting licensed as a delivery service and she began to distribute her special orders all over the city. After being injured in a car crash, and with gas prices making individual deliveries too expensive, she started looking for restaurants which might want to carry her desserts, and it happened upon the Union Bar and Grill in Oroville. The first day of the restaurant serving her cheesecake was Thursday.
McGaffick is back to serving at Broadway Heights, but she is still out there hustling her desserts.
“I would love to do this full time,” McGaffick said. “My mission is to connect with one restaurant a week.”
Cheesecake is McGaffick’s specialty. She has been making them for 12 years.
“I love cheesecake, it’s so durable,” she said. “And you can do so much with it.”
Lesa Sheridan, a server at Broadway Heights, loves MGaffick’s desserts.
“They are just really good,” Sheridan said. “I’m a cheesecake fanatic. The lemon ginger is really good. We have a cheesecake special we run every week or two. She changes them up every couple of weeks. Everyone raves about them. One of the chocolate desserts she makes are the black ale fudge cake made with black ale beer and the flourless tort which is a chocolate cake made with caramel and walnuts on top. We present them nicely. I stand by them. The variety of desserts and the flavors she uses are amazing.”
An example of one of her creations is cheesecake with berry cobbler on top, called a chobbler. She also makes a twisted somoa, which is a take on the Girl Scout Samoa cookie. She experiments constantly, and has made butterscotch, strawberry champagne, carrot cake, vanilla cookie with coconut, caramel and chocolate, pumpkin and lemon, which is the most popular. Her cheesecake is featured at Broadway Heights.
“The list is endless,” McGaffick said.
Wine Time restaurant carries her blackberry cheesecake, and The Union Bar and Grill serves triple berry and also lemon cheesecake. McGaffick has worked at Broadway Heights for 18 years.
“They have wonderful food and have become my family,” she said. “They serve an honest product. I’m the service manager there.”
McGaffick began her culinary career many years ago based on working with her mother, who made everything from scratch.
“She made a primo pie crust and baked for all of the bake sales,” McGaffick said. “She was an old-fashioned mom. She worked but cooked every night and made fresh baked stuff. I learned my love of food from her.”
Also outside on her baking skills was Corey from Corey’s restaurant, where fresh baked bread was served, and fresh turkey and they served breakfast and brunch.
“Food serving has treated me so well,” she said. “I love people and food. I serve my products with love and passion.”
After McGaffick’s mom died she found her mom’s cookbooks. She even makes a Keto cheesecake for people on the Keto diet.
“My goal is to be different and not do what everyone else is doing,” she said. “Dawn’s Desserts is growing and it’s very exciting”. The community has been awesome. The Union Bar and Grill has a nice vibe and its aesthetically pleasing. I hope it becomes a partnership with them.”
McGaffick said her recipes have a “twist,” which means she creates all sorts of things that one might not have thought to put together, such as her strawberry basil cheesecake.
McGaffick’s creations can be found on Facebook under Dawn’s Desserts and on Instagram as dawnsdessert.