Cafe of Love

Taking Local Ingredients On A Global Adventure

Thoughts & Thanks

When Alyzza and the board called to tell me I was chosen to be this year's recipient of the humanitarian award, I cried. To be recognized for efforts that come purely from the heart- well that's a gift on this journey that I wasn't expecting. More than a decade ago, I had the crazy idea that others, like me, wanted artisan take-out food that was slow-cooked and made fresh daily. I'm proud to say that Ladle of Love was the first locally sourced, seasonally driven food shop in Westchester, proffering hand-crafted soups and stews made in small batches in a tiny kitchen committed to cooking with a conscience. The tenet of the company has always been to care for the community in myriad ways. We've donated food to our neediest, underwritten catering for many charitable fundraisers, trained budding cooks, spoken out for local causes, given a chance or a chowder to someone who needed special consideration. In 2003, when I was personally presented with a series of losses, I was propelled into action in the hospitality business after having been a journalist in NYC for 27 years. I did not have a blueprint for this chapter, but I did have a mission not unlike the one I'd had as a journalist: to have an impact. Tell a story. Make a difference. When I was struggling myself, giving filled me up. Helping others helped to heal me--gave me a further sense of purpose. Giving and receiving- a true symbiotic relationship. And in the process, I was awarded the satisfaction of inspiring purposeful paths for others, nourishing bodies, and in some cases, soothing souls. About 8 years ago, Tom Obrien, Brian Skanes, Eric Kaier, and I met for months designing a new kitchen for the boys and girls club for the express objective of cooking hot food for the club kids, many of whom have little access to freshly-prepared meals. I had just opened Cafe of Love and had designed and built 2 professional kitchens so I was thrilled to be able to share my expertise. Little did I know that I was designing the kitchen my team would be working in years later (I would have designated a much bigger walk-in and more burners lol). But, as they say, if you wanna make God laugh, make plans. And so we did. I looked forward to our weekly meetings-excited about creating new possibilities for the club, honored to work with this passionate team of like-minded child advocates. Mark Twain said "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." When we became the exclusive culinary team at The Club last year, I knew why. The love was meant to be shared with these kids--not just in creating healthful and contemplative food, but in the relationships we've made, the mentors we've become and the impact we've had on the way the kids are nourished. My good friend, Dr. Sherlita Amler, Commissioner of The Westchester County Department of Health says "quality of life is very important to one's overall health. If you have a good mental outlook, eat well and sleep well, everything else works better." I am proud to be contributing to that prescription here at The boys & Girls Club. A posture that's been honored and honed by this club's leaders for more than 75 years. I thank Alyzza, Solveigh, Barbara, the indefatiguable staff and the dedicated board of trustees for the privilege of being an ambassador to this profoundly important organization. And, to my kids who inspire me daily to love and protect those in need with an open heart.

〉Love In A Pot \ Featured Recipe

In Season For Summer

Arugula • Basil • Beets • Corn • Eggplant • Lovage • Peaches • Scallions • Spinach • Summer Beans • Tomatoes • Watercress • Watermelon • Yellow Squash • Zucchini

This Month's Charitable Donations

American Cancer Society • Boys & Girls Club of Westchester • Food Bank for Westchester • Music Conservatory of Westchester • Putnam Hospital Center • The YMCA • United Way of Westchester & Putnam • Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley

We Support Our Community,
Local Farmers & Growers

Amba Farms • Hilltop Hanover Farm • Meadowland Farm • Gaia's Breath Farm • Sir William Farm • J. Conover Farm • John Fazio Farm • SoCo Creamery • Sugar Hill Farm • Tiny Hearts Farm • Coffee Labs

〉Read Leslie's Bio   〉Meet The Team

Cafe of Love

38 EAST MAIN ST.\ MOUNT KISCO NY 10549 \ 914.242.1002