Irene Li

Irene Li operates Mei Mei Street Kitchen & Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, leading the industry in ethical sourcing and fair employment practices. The award-winning food businesses merge modern techniques and genre-bending creativity with sustainable practices and tech-savvy communications. Mei Mei has been featured by Food & Wine, Eater Boston & National, The New York Times, Restaurant Hospitality, People, Bon Appetit, The Boston Globe, and more. Irene’s background of living on an organic farm, organizing for economic and social justice, and working the restaurant line inform the direction of her creative, farm-driven, Chinese-American and menus. Her time at Cornell University where she studied food systems, fell in love with farming and became a certified Master Composter – defined her commitment to sustainability. Whole-ingredient cooking, composting, and limiting and upcycling food waste are central in the Mei Mei kitchen. Above all, Irene believes food can and should be delicious, fun, and just. She is an Eater Young Gun winner and three-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist.