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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.”

HAVING FUN

How does fun figure in your life? Finding joy in the pursuit of an activity, or a craft or a skill, is valuable beyond its short-term pleasure. Play, even when it’s actually hard work, profoundly affects emotional balance, self-esteem, competency and drive. Play is a vital resource for successful people. In this issue, Milton Magazine brings stories about alumni ventures that have been labors of love. An observer might think their work looks like fun. Driven by a particular passion, these alumni end up pursuing creative work that is as challenging as it is rewarding.

We ask Milton students, as well, to describe how they find fun in their busy, committed lives.