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Conversations with Natasha Brown-Wainwright

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natasha Brown-Wainwright.

Hi Natasha, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I went from being bullied to being the “Queen of Brittle,” my name is Natasha and I am the CEO of Natasha’s Just Brittle and B’More Made with Pride Commercial Kitchen & Café. People who know my story know that Natasha’s Just Brittle began by teaching my daycare children a lesson in business, but the origins truly began in the summer of 1983 when I tried to take my life because I was being bullied. My Grandma told me three things that day that would shape me into the woman I am. First, she said that my life was not my own to take. Secondly, she said that I was here to serve God, Family and my community and lastly, she said that I was here to fulfill a purpose. Shortly after, my Grandma started to take a few dollars from her social security check so that I could buy ingredients to make yummy desserts. Birth in 2016, Natasha’ s Just Brittle was born.

The pandemic has forced me to get still and think out of the box. Today’s model includes mentoring culinary artisans, entrepreneurs and collaborating. My latest offering is the expansion of B’More Made with Pride Commercial Kitchen and Café, featuring indoor dining for 25 guests. Showcased inside The Café @ B’More Made with Pride is three restaurants fused into one sweet place offering a breakfast menu, a classic menu with a soulful twist, a soul food menu, Natasha’s Just Brittle treats and the best desserts ever. The fall season brings back some of our community events which include children’s cooking classes, game nights, brittle & wine parings and private dinner parties. Debuting in September of 2021, The Cafe @ B’More Made with Pride. Come Eat, Drink & B’More Happy with us.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been smooth sailing, but I am blessed to be still standing. I have operated this culinary hub since March 2017 with the help of my daughter. In 2018, I decided to turn my processing plant into a dual Commercial Kitchen with a cafe so that other food vendors could operate their food business. I started out by selling membership into my company combined with small loans from family and friends. I have entered and won several pitch competitions and grants to keep me afloat over the last few years. I am just able to hire employees to help us operate the business. The vision plan is finally coming to fruition and I am ready for new struggles and new opportunities for they mold us.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m also hailed as “The Brittle Queen” and head brittle maker. I make artisan brittle in 40 plus flavors; handcrafted chocolate treats made with my brittle bits and gourmet popcorn made with my brittle syrup. Located inside of Natasha’s Just Brittle processing plant resides B’More Made with Pride Commercial Kitchen & Cafe. It’s a culinary hub catering to 15 makers, bakers, caterers and food trucks. It’s a place where we manufacture, cook, prep and sell our wares.

I am proud that I have created a place where beginning food businesses and novice food businesses can operate comfortably. B’More Made with Pride is clean and affordable. Although we are independent businesses, we operate under the moto that competition is dead and collaboration is key. I am expanding the café into the building next door to me to offer seating to our customers. This expansion will also make opportunities for up to 10 more food businesses. I am the 3rd licensed commercial kitchen in Baltimore City. I am the only female-owned and Black-owned facility. My facility is licensed under the State and Baltimore City. I am one of the only commercial kitchens that offer a café on the premises to serve our customers. We offer a place for our customers to Eat, Drink and B’More Happy.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Over the next 5-10 years, I will be duplicating this concept. There will be three more Commercial kitchens & Cafes located in different areas in Maryland. The goal is to transform my company into a worker-owned cooperative with the staff and the restaurants who operate from B’More Made with Pride.

Contact Info:

  • Email: natashasjustbrittle@gmail.com natashabmoremade@gmail.com
  • Website: www.justbrittlez.com www.cafeatbmore.com
  • Instagram: natashasbrittle bmoremadewithpride
  • Facebook: Natasha’s Just Brittle B’More Made with Pride
  • Youtube: Natasha The Brittle Queen

Image Credits
Red outfit / Lindria Dockett Outdoor Shots / Rachel Bradley from DuClaw Brewing Company

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