Ravi DeRossi may just be one of the boldest restauranteurs in New York. With his steady success in the food and nightlife space, DeRossi has plans to make all of his restaurants as animal-free as possible. In February, he announced that he would make the menu of his East Village tiki bar, Mother of Pearl, all vegan. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, shortly after he announced that he intends to make all of his 14 other restaurant and bars vegan too!
“You don’t realize that the average restaurateur does three times more destruction [to the environment] than the average person,” DeRossi told Eater, “I have 15 restaurants and bars. It started to weigh on me.”
Despite the fact that DeRossi has been vegetarian and vegan for a large part of his life, he only recently decided to implement the same ideology in his restaurants and bars. The change, which stemmed from a combination of factors, including environment and personal, started last year when DeRossi opened up Avant Garden, his vegan “passion project.” All delicious food aside, DeRossi didn’t want his contributions to only be food-related. And so, in conjunction with the Avant Garden’s opening, DeRossi launched a non-profit aimed at ending animal cruelty called BEAST (Benefit to End Animal Suffering Today).
In a recent conversation with One Green Planet, DeRossi explained that he wants to change the face of animal rights via his new non-profit. BEAST, as he puts it, is a movement aimed at ending harm to animals, but in a fun way. To achieve this mission, BEAST will organize fundraising events in DeRossi’s restaurants where all the profits will go to organizations working to help animals that have applied for a grant. Their tagline? “We party like we give a damn.” And party they will, indeed. After a year of planning, BEAST will finally launch on April 14, 2016. The launch party, which is a paid event includes a 7-course vegan meal at Mother of Pearl and an after party at Cienfuegos. Considering the delicious food made by renowned plant-based chef Daphne Cheng, the open bar, and the fact that all proceeds will be going to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, we’d say this swanky event will be well worth it!
BEAST is launching in NYC but plans to expand nationwide with events and then eventually go worldwide. DeRossi’s bold decision truly demonstrates how strong the thread between the food we eat, the planet we inhabit, and the animals we coexist with actually is. While DeRossi could have easily started BEAST and left his restaurant empire untouched; his decision to do both shows that he understands how tightly the issues are interwoven and that to do one and not the other would only result with him placed on both sides of the issue.
To learn more about BEAST and purchase tickets for their April 14th launch event, click here.
Image Source: BEAST