After recognizing a great love for her salsas in the community of Bozeman, Claudia Krevat started Claudia’s Mesa in 2009. At the time, Claudia was working as a designer for a local flooring business and she gifted her salsa to her construction clientele. She would arrive at construction sites dressed in her Latin-Caribbean flare and offer chips and salsa to the construction workers. Claudia, along with her salsa, quickly became a local favorite and she recognized a greater opportunity for her salsas.
She started to sell her salsas in local grocery stores and began teaching cooking classes, which helped her develop her brand and credibility. Today, Claudia’s Mesa offers a unique line of marinades, chutneys, salsas and dips. She also features pop-up events and cooking classes, which have become the most thriving part of her business.
As a young child growing up in Barranquilla, Columbia, Claudia spent most her time in the kitchen helping the family cook of three generations prepare the family meals. Mamaesco was Claudia’s first mentor, teaching her the passion of cooking and storytelling, which she now uses in teaching others.
Claudia moved to the U.S. to attend Florida International University in Miami. She later worked at Doral Resorts of Florida where she met a local nutritionist that she worked alongside to cook for her clients and became specialized in sports nutrition. In 1998, Claudia and her family moved to Bozeman, putting her cooking career on hold. The first job she got in Bozeman was being a waitress at a local restaurant and then eventually moved into being a designer for the flooring business. Claudia continues to work in sales at the flooring business, while also living her dream of cooking and surrounding herself with wonderful people she can inspire with food.
In 2010, shortly after she started her business, Claudia began working with the Montana Women’s Business Center. At the time she needed to better understand how to position her business and address some of her immediate goals. WBC program director, Amanda Schultz, initially worked with her on business and growth planning, marketing and cash flow projections, and continues the relationship in a mentoring/planning capacity today.
“I remember the first time I met with Amanda, some four years ago, and shared the vision I had for my business,” said Claudia. “While I was still working full-time as a designer for the flooring company, she understood my aspirations to be an entrepreneur. Since day one, Amanda has been there to make my vision clear, measurable and obtainable. I owe so much of where I am today to her!”
In 2014, Claudia has tripled her revenues from previous years, thanks to the great success of her pop-up events and cooking classes, as well as the farmers’ markets and various festivals she participates in throughout the year selling her famous tamales to her growing customer base. In January 2015, she will be opening her first retail location, featuring a catering test kitchen where she can also host pop-up events, classes, food to-go and an event space. Claudia will continue to grow her product lines, which will also be manufactured in her new location.
Claudia has written a cookbook, which she hopes to see published in the near future. Her passion for healthy eating has led her to join the Lentil Underground Movement, a group of renegade Montana famers focused on changing the future of food in America by pushing healthy food programs in schools.