In 2012, Joe Dunaway finished eight years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps. He then returned to Syracuse, where he juggled family with a job in accounting that required him to travel. But something else vied for his time: hunger. Both figuratively and literally.
A competitor by nature, Dunaway tried to squeeze workouts and sports into his schedule. And to stay in optimal shape for those activities, he had to eat healthy and avoid dining out on the road.
So Dunaway began spending his weekends in his Manlius kitchen making all his food for the week. That got the attention of friends and family, and before long, Dunaway was preparing meals for them, too. By the fall of 2017, when people he didn’t know were being referred to him for meals, he knew it was time to start Knifehand Nutrition.
The meal prep business, which opened in Auburn in April, offers frozen, plant-based meals through one-time purchases or subscription. They can be ordered in groups of five, 10 or 15 at knifehandnutrition.shop, and shipped to customers. Dunaway, the CEO, named the business after a Marine gesture, but it does involve actual knives in hands, he joked.
Knifehand used a commercial kitchen at Nelson Farms Country Store in Cazenovia until early this year, when Dunaway prepared to move the business to the DeWitt area. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said, his bank funding fell through and he turned to plan B: Auburn.