MANNA utilizes local culinary talent to help those in need


Unique food for a cause? That’s exactly the idea behind Main Course, MANNA’s premier event which happens annually every year. And for 2022, there’s plenty of Philly star power involved. 

Hosted in partnership with Chef Chair Jen Carroll of Carroll Couture Cuisine, and James Beard award finalist and Chef Advisor Eli Kulp of High Street Hospitality, the event will present some of Philadelphia’s best chefs and restaurants at Water Works by Cescaphe for one night only.

Jenn CarrollProvided

The night will be filled with “outstanding offering of Philadelphia’s finest cuisine,” all while benefitting MANNA’s mission to provide medically tailored meals to those with a critical illness.  

MANNA (Metropolitan Area Nutrition Alliance) has been servicing the Greater Philadelphia region since 1990, following the impact of the AIDS pandemic. At a time when many were affected and in isolation, members of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia began delivering meals to their neighbors—and that’s when the idea for this charitable institution was born. Since then, MANNA has been staying true to its core mission for three decades, having served upwards of 19,787,315 meals to over 39,964 clients with over 85 different illnesses and counting.

The organization is known as a leader in evidence-based nutrition services as well, offering much more than just meal deliveries: MANNA also offer hands-on cooking classes and nutrition counseling while bringing together dietitians, chefs, drivers, and thousands of volunteers.

Main Course is just one of the many events that helps prolong this mission. 

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with such prominent chefs for an evening that will continue to benefit our mission of delivering nutritious meals and counseling to individuals battling critical illnesses,” said Sue Daugherty, MANNA CEO in a statement. “MANNA is fortunate to have the chefs and our sponsors shine a light on the power of food as medicine and to bring further awareness to the value of providing medically tailored meals to our neighbors who need them the most.”  

As a release states, the evening will also consist of entertainment from the band Jellyroll and a silent and live auction that will include items such as an Omakase Dinner for 2 at Royal Sushi & Izakaya, the opportunity to co-host alongside Nicole Michalik for 92.5 XTU’s Afternoon Drive, and a private brewing and dining experience at award-winning Philadelphia-region craft brewer Conshohocken Brewing.  

Chefs from a dozen different restaurants will also prepare and showcase distinctive dishes throughout the evening for Philadelphians to indulge in. Participating talent spans Chef Stephanie Willis from Everybody Eats Philly, Chef Ashley James from Di Bruno Bros., Chef Anthony Bonett from Moshulu, Chef Ari Miller from Musi, Chef Kiki Aranita from Poi Dog and more. 

“It is an incredible honor to continue supporting MANNA’s mission and serve as chef chair for this year’s Main Course event,” said Jen Carroll, Main Course chef chair in another statement. “MANNA provides an invaluable service to the most vulnerable members of our community, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to play such a significant role in helping spread awareness about their mission.”   

Eli Kulp, Main Course’s chef advisor also agreed with that sentiment: “After a successful event in May at MANNA’s kitchen, I was excited to continue our partnership to help spread the word about MANNA’s mission through another event. MANNA takes the extra steps to help those in the community who are battling critical illnesses and I look forward to continuing our partnership and being part of their cause.” 

The event begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Water Works by Cescaphe (640 Waterworks Dr,), and tickets and sponsorship packages can be purchased at