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Irene Li ’08

Focusing on two goals—creating a better place to work, and a better way to source food—Irene Li shared her mission for responsibility operating her popular Boston restaurant. Irene owns the Mei Mei Street Kitchen and Restaurant, where she balances environmentally sound kitchen practices, the use of fresh, local ingredients, and ethical labor practices. Irene has collected accolades from publications such as Eater, Bon Appetit, Boston Magazine and the Improper Bostonian, and was named a semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation in its Rising Star Chef of the Year awards for three years in a row. In 2017, Zagat named her one of its “30 Under 30.” Mei Mei began as a food truck in 2012, then as a restaurant in 2013, and includes a successful catering business as well as its own line of sauces for retail sale.

“I’m not a church-going person, but I imagine that people who go to church feel the way I felt about going to the farmer’s market every weekend.”


Publishing stories: researching, interviewing, analyzing, reporting and responding—is challenging and in some cases, dangerous. Has the profession been affected by the wave of invectives, the efforts to sow mistrust, the drive to discredit journalists’ work? What seems difficult and what is rewarding about reporting on the world? Journalists are critical agents in helping us develop the awareness and the acuity to understand our world and to inform our choices.