Second Life Podcast: Alison Cayne

At 38, with her youngest off to nursery school, Cayne decided to enroll in NYU’s Food Studies program. She was ready to get rid of an old idea she had of herself—that she wasn’t a professional go-getter. During her first semester, she was advised to get an internship, “which I just sort of guffawed at,” she admits, but found an open position as the head of the education station at the Union Square Green Market, giving school tours about farming practices, agriculture, and sustainability. 

By the time she received her master’s degree, Cayne had created a professional mission to change the way people feel about cooking, and she set out to find a space where she could bring the home cooking classes and sustainability education she had been teaching at the Green Market together under one roof. When she found a carriage house two blocks from the farmers market, her vision immediately expanded as she pictured a café in front, classes in the back, and a bar on the second floor. “I figured if there was ever a time to invest in myself, this was it,” she says. And so, in 2012, the first iteration of Haven’s Kitchen was born.

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