Irene Li operates Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, where she and her team worked pre-COVID to drive the industry forward in ethical sourcing and fair employment practices. A Boston native and Cornell University graduate, Irene has worked on farms, taught in prisons and watched hours of YouTube videos on food and cooking. Since 2012, Mei Mei has been featured by Food & Wine, Eater Boston & National, The New York Times, Bon Appetit and more. She is an Eater Young Gun, Zagat 30 Under 30 and Forbes 30 Under 30 winner and six-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist. Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted normal restaurant operations, Irene has pivoted Mei Mei to serve hot meals to hospital workers, to sell wholesale groceries to unemployed cooks and servers, and to raise funds to deliver culturally appropriate groceries to immigrant families in Boston’s hardest hit neighborhoods (learn more at Mei Mei’s next incarnation will be as a CPG company, spreading dumpling happiness far and wide.