The Met Gala scheduled to take place on September 13, 2021, will serve an exclusively plant-based menu. The dinner menu will be selected by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and the American magazine Bon Appétit, showcasing dishes reflecting the country’s regional cuisines.
Fashion industry’s commitment to sustainability
The Met Gala, organized by Anna Wintour, Vogue’s global editorial director, is a fundraiser for N.Y.-based Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
This year’s theme will focus on the best designs in American fashion, marking the Institute’s 75th anniversary. To reinforce the fashion industry’s commitment to sustainability as designers increasingly switch to plant-based leather and vegan materials and take advantage of the city’s rising demand for plant-based dining, Wintour asked chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson to curate a plant-based menu for this year’s event.
Renowned chefs driving the plant-based movement
To curate recipes for the dinner menu, Marcus Samuelsson along with Bon Appétit, a food and entertainment magazine owned by Condé Nast have selected New York-based up-and-coming chefs, food activists, cookbook authors, TV personalities, and influencers from the social media platform Instagram.
In an interview with Bon Appétit, Samuelsson said: “We want to tell the world that we’re back—New York City as a place to gather and celebrate is back. We’re telling both New Yorkers and outsiders that New York is open for business.”
We thought it was important to really talk about what’s present, what’s happening—how food is changing in America. We want to be the future of American food, of plant-based food. That conversation is happening nowMarcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur
Some of the selected names include Junghyun Park of Korean fine dining restaurant Atomix; Emma Bengtsson, the first female Swedish chef to win two Michelin stars for her work as executive chef at the Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit; Thomas Raquel, pastry chef at Le Bernardin and Fabian von Hauske of Wildair.
In addition, Sophia Roe who hosts Counter Space for Vice TV, a show that explores the changing world through the lens of food, chef Fariyal Abdullahi, chef Nasim Alikhani, two-time Chopped winner Lazarus Lynch, chef Erik Ramirez of New York’s Llama Inn and chef Simone Tong are part of the selection.
Using social media for change
The recipes by the chefs will reflect their twist on American cuisine and feature plant-based canapés, entrées, and desserts.
Samuelsson added: “We thought it was important to really talk about what’s present, what’s happening—how food is changing in America. We want to be the future of American food, of plant-based food. That conversation is happening now.”
During the weeks leading to the Met Gala, the chefs will develop Instagram Reels, sharing plant-based recipes with their followers.
The #MetGalaChefs initiative that has a summertime picnic angle has kickstarted with a reel of Roe cooking a tuna-free Nicoise-inspired salad. The aim of this initiative is to raise awareness about plant-based foods and inspire followers to embrace these sustainable recipes.
Samuelsson hopes that this won’t be a one-off event and will instead be a Met Gala tradition, where the attendees are equally interested in the food choices and the menu’s global impact.
According to a recent report, in 2020 alone, retail sales of plant-based foods in the U.S. soared by double-digits and was valued at US$7 billion, meaning that 60 percent of homes swapped some meat for more sustainable alternatives.
A growing number of celebrities have shown their commitment to sustainability and advocated for animal rights through their clothes at the Met Gala. For instance, Benedict Cumberbatch famous for his roles in Sherlock and Doctor Strange wore a vegan suit; singer Katy Perry donned a vegan burger costume; and former couple musician Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth showed off their vegan leather shoes.
Lead image courtesy of Bon Appétit.