Bubba’s Vegan Kitchen, a take-out and catering company created by HCC student Keysha Tingeling, won first place in the University of Bridgeport’s annual Elevator Pitch Competition last week.
Tingeling’s pitch, catering to on-the-go millennials in the Bridgeport region, would provide quick vegan dishes to an underserved and growing base of both vegans and healthy eaters.
“Bridgeport doesn’t have many vegan restaurants.” Tingeling said. “I could tell a need was there when I was working an event for Black Wall Street recently and my food sold out quickly. There were tons of people complimenting my meals and asking where they could get more.”
Named in memoriam after her late brother, Bubba’s Vegan Kitchen is also representative of Tingeling’s own health-conscience lifestyle.
“I’ve been vegan for more than two years because of a health scare.” Tingeling said. “I developed double pneumonia from eating too much meat. I started to develop pain in my joints and it was getting harder to get up in the morning.”
“I was a big meat eater so it took me a while to get used to giving it up.” Tingeling said. “Having a passion for cooking and trying new things, it helped me to switch over and find the things I like. My mother is from the south and my dad is Puerto Rican, so I have a flare for both styles of cooking. I’m able to take traditional meals and “veganize” them.”
At the urging of her business professor Tingeling submitted her entry into the Elevator Pitch Competition.
“I was able to practice in front of the class, which helped.” Tingeling said. “I really didn’t need too much convincing (to enter) and felt confident. I know getting my business expanding will take time but seeing the reaction to my food, especially from young people, gives me the incentive to see it through.”