Mei Mei is certified as a sustainable business and has been recognized for our efforts to cut down on food waste.
It’s not just because we’re eco-friendly: in the notoriously difficult restaurant industry, successful businesses track their ingredient costs down to the tenth of a percentage point. If we waste food, we’re throwing away money. We work hard to design dishes and specials use food that might otherwise be wasted, and we compost everything that can't be used.
Beyond the restaurant, we're also working hard to help people cook with food instead of throwing it out.
We've taught cooking workshops on how to make your dollars go farther by cooking smarter. Irene is on the culinary board of Lovin' Spoonfuls, a food rescue organization that saves perfectly good food from supermarkets and gives it to people in need.
Besides opening a food truck and restaurant, Mei has done everything from start a women's sports clothing company to launching an international office of a team-building games company to co-piloting one of London's best supper clubs. She holds an MBA in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design from Imperial College London and a BA in Urban Studies and Community Organizing from Stanford University. She is the primary author of the first Mei Mei cookbook, Family Style, coming from Roost Books in early 2019.
Favorite Food Waste Meal: Whole Grain Salad with Roasted Veggies. So versatile! I make some version of this almost every week and it never gets old.
Favorite Activities: Going over to my friends' houses, searching through their refrigerators to find all the abandoned food they were going to throw out, and using it to cook dinner. And bike riding and board games and popsicles.
Irene is currently Head-Bosslady-In-Charge at Mei Mei, directing the menu and operations as well as awesome stuff like the ethical sourcing program (only pasture-raised meat!) and a groundbreaking employee education and profit-sharing program. She holds a BA in Food Systems and Cultural Studies from Cornell University and is on the board of several food and farming-related nonprofits in New England. She is also a four-time James Beard Rising Star Chef semi-finalist, Zagat and Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree, and Eater Young Gun aka a total badass (Mei wrote this and is giving herself big sister bragging rights).
Favorite Food Waste Meal: Fried Rice, with lots of fresh herbs and Pickled Things. I will put anything in my fried rice!
Favorite Activities: Eating a lot of sushi, visiting favorite restaurants, and working to improve the New England local food infrastructure. Oh, and watching a lot of hip-hop dance videos.