Meet Wynnie Stein at Moosewood
For downtown Ithaca visitors who have an affinity for vegetarian or vegan dining, you’ll definitely want to make it a point to meet Wynnie Stein and enjoy a meal prepared by her or one of the other talented chefs at the restaurant Stein co-owns, the world famous Moosewood Restaurant.
Wynnie is one of the original members of the collective who founded the notorious vegetarian restaurant. She joined the natural foods dining hotspot in 1984 but her passion for creating plant-based dishes stems back to the 1970s, a time when the “back to the land” movement to support local farmers was gaining momentum. It was a lifestyle she adapted to her personal cooking habits. She collects herbs and vegetables from her garden to use in her homecooked meals.
“It’s important for people to know where their food was produced. I saw Moosewood’s Collective involvement in this locally sourced foods movement and I am so glad to be a part of it. It’s refreshing to be part of a group of individuals who support the use of locally produced fruits, vegetables, and grains,” says Stein.
Her affection for sharing plant-based cuisine with others is so strong that she worked with the Ithaca City School District and Cool School Food to develop plant-based menu items so school lunch menus include healthier choices. She’s also a co-writer for Moosewood’s cookbook collection.
As far as being part of the downtown Ithaca community is concerned, Wynnie adores the community and her customers.
“I truly enjoy our diverse customer base. It’s a pleasure serving longtime customers who feel like family and seeing the visitors and fans who love our cookbooks enjoy our food. The close friendships that I’ve developed over the years with other shopkeepers in the Dewitt Mall also means a lot to me,” says Stein.
Moosewood, Inc. is a collectively owned business with 19 members who share responsibilities to operate what has grown from a small natural foods restaurant to a large and diverse company. Most of the members in the Collective have worked together for at least 20 years and some since the restaurant’s inception in 1973. The vegetarian restaurant was named one of the 20th century’s most influential restaurants by Bon Appetit magazine and continues to be a driving force in the world of creative vegetarian cooking. Since its inception, Moosewood has published 14 vegetarian cookbooks and produced a line of frozen vegetarian dinners, salad dressings, and soups that are hot selling items in natural food stores and supermarkets across the country.
“Moosewood serves creative, healthy meals and drinks that make our diners feel good. We have luscious desserts, too. Everyone should come to experience what Moosewood has to offer to its guests,” says Stein.
To learn more about Wynnie and Moosewood, visit the restaurant at 215 N. Cayuga St.