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“Too Big to Fail”
I was gifted this sweatshirt a year ago, one of the sweetest gestures by my daughters, then 9 and 11 years old, in support of reopening the restaurant during the most uncertain times.
The last year has been a whirlwind.
It has been a year of immense learning, both culinarily and academically. Stepping into this new chapter came mostly from a creative place and of course, also the need for the world to evolve towards a plant-forward future. Our announcement hit a nerve globally. The scale of the reactions that followed, I was unprepared for.
Simultaneously, our work with Rethink Food to feed food insecure New Yorkers during this pandemic made us see our responsibility in an even more powerful light: food was, and will always be, our language to create change.
I am not a climate expert, nor do I really understand the food and farming system in all of its details. My decision came from the limited window of our kitchen, and having witnessed the significant change in the quality of ingredients we were sourcing.
This past year since our reopening has been the most satisfying, most liberating, and creative year of my life. It has been a year of eye-opening conversations both inside and beyond the kitchen I’ve stood in for nearly two decades.
Conversations with our partners and local farmers, who have given us the opportunity to highlight their dedication to their craft center-stage on our plates;
Conversations with our neighbors and the Queensbridge community, who inspire us daily and allow our team to grow through their shared experiences;
Conversations with fellow chefs and global leaders, who share in our vision that this is the future.
Next year, Eleven Madison Park will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Despite our years of experience, in many ways we feel that we are still at the beginning of our journey. I could not be more humbled and moved by what our entire team has been accomplishing every single day, and their courage and openness to forge a new path alongside me.
Our team is the heart and soul of what we do, and their strength and belief in our mission has led us to something no one ever thought possible. We have no doubt that we are on the right path and that this has been the best version of Eleven Madison Park yet.
Above all, our children should be able to enjoy this incredible planet just like we are. Together, we are making changes for a healthier and more sustainable future. It’s progress, not perfection.
Their Future is Too Big For Us to Fail Them.