Can you imagine having your restaurant staff prepare 1,200 hot meals a week for neighborhood kids? What about making a habit out of always putting quarters in a stranger’s expired parking meter, or paying for the meal of the guy behind you in the drive-thru? “Kindness is a currency,” says Leslie Lampert, executive chef/owner of Love Hospitality in Mt. Kisco, NY.
Leslie Lampert has been talking with her mouth full for more than 30 years. As Senior Editor at Ladies' Home Journal Magazine, she produced and wrote scores of food articles and spent countless hours in the test kitchen developing recipes for more than 17 million readers. She has also written dozens of articles on food and lifestyle for many national magazines including Time, The New York Times, Parents, House Beautiful, Glamour, and The Boston Globe. Leslie appeared frequently on TV (The Today Show, CNN, 48 Hours) as a lifestyle expert.
Love Hospitality includes Ladle of Love, Cafe of Love, Love on the Run Catering, and
MarketLove, her new distribution program. Leslie is famous for her charitable giving even when she herself was one french fry away from welfare. “The tenet of the company has always been to care for the community. We've donated food to our neediest, underwritten catering for charitable fundraisers, trained budding cooks, spoken out for local causes, and given a chance or a chowder to someone who needed special consideration,” says Lampert.
Love Hospitality (aka: The Love Group)
The Love Hospitality family began 14 years ago with the award-winning Ladle of Love, a locally-sourced, take-out shop famous for their signature stews and soups such as Harvest Celebration. “It’s a mélange of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, Granny Smith apples, water and a touch of butter. It’s finished with a bit of cream, maple syrup and a lot of love,” says Lampert. “After September 11th in 2001, I saw some 9/11 first responders outside the Millwood Fire House and offered them some soup. Word about my soups and stews spread, and I started getting orders. I told myself when I got up to 10 orders a week, I would open a shop.” Ladle of Love was born!
Ladle of Love, inspired the launch of Cafè of Love in 2008. The charmingly decorated restaurant filled with gorgeous floral arrangements, antiques and mismatched tables takes Local
Ingredients On A Global Adventure. “The fried chick peas with truffle oil, black truffle soup with cracked pepper and diver scallops with truffle butter were a gift from God! The Harvest Butternut Squash Soup was probably one of the best things we have ever had,” a recent reviewer wrote. The Cafè's seasonally-driven menu and community-minded philosophies support local growers and farmers, and features the freshest ingredients from neighborhood farms. The diverse menu features everything from beer-braised short ribs to seafood bouillabaisse.
Love On The Run Catering specializes in catering at-home events, and MarketLove prepares and delivers soups and stews to FreshDirect, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market and Green & Tonic.
Ladle of Love Bronxville, which opened February 2017, is the newest addition to the Love Hospitality family.
Love Is All You Need
Both Cafè of Love and Ladle of Love are committed to supporting local charities and community efforts each month—from leukemia and little league to land trust and lunch programs.
A sample of Love Hospitality’s monthly charitable donations include the American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Club of Westchester, Food Bank for Westchester, Music Conservatory of Westchester, Putnam Hospital Center, YMCA, United Way of Westchester & Putnam, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley.
Ladle of Love is the exclusive Culinary Team at The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, providing hot meals to more than 1,200 kids per week. “We all have to take care of each other. I have never said no to anyone who asked me for anything. I believe we’re all in this together,” says Lampert. “When we became the exclusive culinary team at The Boys & Girls 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.” Leslie mentors girls from the Club by inviting them to spend time at her restaurants and even employing them as waitresses.
Leslie plans to open additional Ladle of Love shops in Fairfield County, Westchester and NYC, and she is currently working on a program to help other restauranteurs develop profitable menus. Highlighting produce that is in season and available at local farms and using the same ingredient in several recipes are some of the ways to improve the bottom line.
“I did not have a blueprint for this chapter of my life, but I did have a mission….Have an impact. Tell a story. Make a difference.”