Want to serve a healthy portion of social responsibility up with every meal you serve your family? MANNA Sacred Meals, a new plant-based meal-delivery service based in Vancouver, is taking social responsibility to new heights. Committed to putting people before profit, so their customers can do good while effortlessly eating well, MANNA’s plant-based, pre-made, restaurant-style meals are delivered weekly to homes as far east of Vancouver as Chilliwack and all the way up the Sea to Sky to Whistler. We chatted with founder and head chef Marie Grapé about her mission through MANNA, and found out what her fave meal is! —Vita Daily
Hi Marie! Please tell us a bit about your (culinary) self to start!
My name is Marie Grapé and I have been in the food industry for 15 years. I started my career in fine dining, at places like The Hart House, Chambar, Beachside Café and Bacchus, learning from the many talented chefs that I’ve been able to work alongside. The hustle, bustle and kitchen lifestyle led me to a point of burnout, where I transitioned to corporate catering. Food, family and creating memories have always been my greatest passion. Watching my grandma and mom prepare family meals as a child is how I’ve become to feel most myself in the kitchen. Earlier last year, I branched away from corporate catering to create a delivery meal program that is 100 per cent plant based. When COVID hit, it was clear that a pivot away from events was the right direction. I had also began my own journey to incorporate more plant-based meals to help treat my autoimmune disease. MANNA comes from this perfect storm of interest in ready-made meals, growing interest in the health and social benefits of making a plant-based diet more accessible and the impact of COVID on restaurant dining and event catering.
What makes MANNA meals “sacred”?
MANNA is driven to help people protect their most sacred resources—time, their health and the environments that they call home. Our name serves as a reminder and driver: our purpose is to provide nutrient-full plant-based meals and to leave a positive impact on people. We strive to serve as role models for the communities we serve.
Tell us more about the local/sustainable/environmental/charitable aspects of your business.
We’re local: Vancouver chefs have mentored, inspired and collaborated with me to create this concept and the menu. We’re sustainable: we care deeply for our team and work hard to ensure they have enough time in the day to enjoy outside of the kitchen. Our team works a maximum of 30 hours a week over three days and are paid for regular 40 hour work week. In addition to a shorter work week, each role in the company is paid at 15 per cent to 25 per cent more than market rate. We’re environmental: we are the first ready-made meal delivery company to be a member of the Recycling Council of BC. We worked hard to find the least amount of packaging that still offered our customers the best reheating experience and wasn’t going to get burned, buried or enter waterways and oceans. We also believe plant-based meals are better for both our individual health, and for the planet and life on it. MANNA is for everyone, from vegans to people that want to incorporate more plants into their diets. We’re charitible: 5 per cent of subscription fees are donated to a Canadian charitable organization of the customers’ choice while an ongoing subsidy for frontline workers ensures those at the forefront of the pandemic can save time on meal preparation and access healthy meals.
What are the top “mis-facts” around plant-based meals/food?
That eating plant-based isn’t healthy and fulfilling. Each recipe we offer has been run through the gauntlet to ensure that it is nutritionally balanced while offering full and satisfying flavour. Our chefs have close relationships with local farmers and vendors to source in-season, high-quality ingredients. The menu was curated to deliver you full flavour, balanced nutrition and the comfort of familiar meals. We cook a wide range of fruits, vegetables, proteins and spices and avoid the common allergens where possible. Many people also feel that processed meat alternatives aren’t much better for your body or the environment than real meat. At MANNA we focus on whole foods so that our customers can feel confident about understanding what is going into their body.
If you could only eat one MANNA meal for the rest of you life, which would it be?
That’s a tough one, I have quite a few that I could list off: Roasted Vegetable Arrabiatta, Butternut Squash & Apple Latkes, Butter Tofu, BBQ Meatless Ribs. But if I had to pick one I’d say our Cauliflower Steak with Smashed Potatoes & Glazed Carrots, Shallots and Wild Mushrooms.
Win! A $598 MANNA Prize Pack!
Congrats Rachel G. of Vancouver, B.C., who will receive two weeks of meal deliveries from MANNA, consisting of 4 meals that will feed two people, valued at $149/week (total $298) AND a $300 gift certificate for MANNA so they can get another two weeks whenever they want or give it to a friend that could use some meals! Total prize value $598. Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.