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Mt. Kisco Business Owner Remembers 9/11

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Life’s journey takes many twists and turns, and for so many thousands in the United States, Sept. 11, 2001 marked a remarkable juncture. For Leslie Lampert, proprietor of Ladle of Love and Café of Love, her life took a different route.

For 27 years, Lampert was in journalism. A large portion of her career was spent as a senior editor of Ladies Home Journal , often writing about food. That experience, along with cooking and caring for her cancer-stricken ex-husband, was one of the signs of the future.

“The party was always at my house. I was in my kitchen, ponytail up, making soups and stews,” Lampert says. “I like to cook, eat, and serve, so it’s a perfect industry for me.”

A resident of Chappaqua at the time of the terrorist attacks, Lampert was on her way to her friend’s house delivering homemade soup when she saw a firehouse down the road in Millwood that was sending an abundance of men to Ground Zero.

The left turn to her friend’s house was just before the fire station. Instead of turning left, Lampert stayed straight, leading her to the newest chapter of her life.

“In a New York second, I decided I was just going to anonymously drop things off," she said. "But it impacted me, and hopefully it impacted them.”

It not only impacted her and the firemen, but, because of word of mouth, she was soon impacting people around the country who were requesting her homemade care packages.

After a successful trial with package orders, the now White Plains resident was on her way to opening Ladle of Love in 2003, an award-winning establishment in Mount Kisco that features Lampert’s famous soups. Her restaurant, Café of Love, opened five years later.

“It is amazing to think that she was able to build what she’s built just through having a big heart,” said Casey Mcleod, one of the staff members at Café of Love.

While she knows her heart had much to do with it, Lampert also believes that being open-minded is what led her to her success.

“Plans are good because they give you structure and a pathway,” she explained. “But if you’re not open to what else is possible, you don’t get the full benefit of opportunity and possibility.”

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