With 10 chefs celebrating New York’s post-pandemic revival, the Met Gala is going vegan for 2021 to represent modern American cuisine.
The 2021 Met Gala is going vegan, with a lineup of 10 chefs selected by Bon Appétit brand adviser Marcus Samuelsson, each of whom represents their unique take on American cuisine.
The theme of this year’s event, slated for September 13, is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. It’s the first of a two-part exhibit in the autumn and spring exploring modern American fashion and “associations with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion”. The decision to feature an entirely vegan menu was based on American appetites, with fine dining restaurants across the US exploring plant-based menus, most notably Eleven Madison Park in New York City.
The lineup comprises restaurant owners, food activists, cookbook authors and TV personalities. Fariyal Abdullahi, Nasim Alikhani, Emma Bengtsson, Lazarus Lynch, Junghyun Park, Erik Ramirez, Thomas Raquel, Sophia Roe, Simone Tong, and Fabian von Hauske will all contribute a recipe each to the Met Gala menu.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour had asked Samuelsson to pick the chefs to reflect the revival of New York City after the pandemic. “We want to tell the world that we’re back — New York City as a place to gather and celebrate is back,” Samuelsson told Bon Appétit. “We’re telling both New Yorkers and outsiders that New York is open for business.”
On highlighting modern cuisine, he 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.”
In the weeks leading up to the event, the chefs will be creating summery recipes that will be shared as Reels by Vogue and Instagram, the official sponsor of the 2021 Met Gala. These recipes will include a watermelon salad, roasted potato skins, and a tuna-less Niçoise salad. They aren’t what will be served at the exhibition, however.
“Both industries respect craftsmanship,” Samuelsson said on the intersection of veganism and fashion. “Being a chef is all about working a lot with style, with people. It’s the same thing with fashion. It’s a different medium, but you’re really expressing a point of view, a sense of place.”
Reacting to the news, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said: “Kindness to animals is as American as apple pie, so the new vegan menu is perfect for the gala’s ‘Americana’ theme, and it’s sure to set a trend for other fashion events to follow. PETA is celebrating the end of the Meat Gala and hopes to see attendees embrace Earth- and animal-friendly fashion, too — meaning no fur, leather, cashmere, wool, or feathers.”