Business Spotlight: Mana Meals Catering
Chef Tia Hurtt had been in the culinary business for over 20 years, holding every position from back of house to assistant general manager. Eight years ago, looking for more financial security, she decided to instead pursue a career in the banking industry. However, Hurtt knew deep inside that she always wanted to return to the world of food, and by the beginning of 2023, she couldn’t hold back any longer.
With her level of experience, Hurtt had all the tools necessary to make Mana Meals Catering – a catering company emphasizing vegan and vegetarian food – a success. The only thing she lacked was capital. Hurtt knew she’d be unable to fully fund her new business out of pocket, which held her back from fully diving in – until she had a chance meeting with Neighborhood Community Development Fund loan officer Danny McGlory.
“I went to a Sip and Connect event in the spring and met Danny,” Hurtt said. “She led a presentation, and I was fired up after listening to her.”
Hurtt reached out to McGlory after the event, inquiring on how she could turn the business plan she had developed over the past two years into a reality.
“Danny told me what I needed to do, including the ins and outs, and was really integral in getting me focused on the funding of my business so I can continue to be successful,” Hurtt said.
The assistance from Neighborhood Community Development Fund helped Hurtt finance the considerable expense of kitchen equipment, as well as location fees and labor costs, allowing her to save money in her first months of business while fully investing herself in the venture.
And so, Mana Meals Catering – a soul food catering business focused on vegan and vegetarian food – was born.
“Cooking for so long, I’ve picked up so many different cuisines and techniques, and I put all those into vegan and vegetarian food,” Hurtt said.
With the funding to kickstart Mana Meals acquired, Hurtt has begun providing catering services for events of up to 200 people. She also partners with a number of larger entities, including the University of Pittsburgh, PA Women Work, and more, offering her signature vegan and vegetarian dishes to wide-ranging local audiences.
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3923 Perrysville Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15214