Beginning on Oct. 1, Mr. Myint will share the role of chef with Michael Andreatta, who cooked at Commonwealth, a restaurant co-owned by Mr. Myint that donates a portion of its monthly revenue to local nonprofits. The Perennial will continue to promote sustainability through composting and using perennial grains and grass-fed beef. But the menu will change.
Ms. Leibowitz and Mr. Myint first made their names as restaurateurs in San Francisco with Mission Street Food, a pop-up they started in 2008 in a Guatemalan food cart. With the chef Danny Bowien, they turned that pop-up into the influential Mission Chinese Food. The couple wrote the cookbook “Mission Street Food” in 2011.
In addition to the Perennial, Ms. Leibowitz and Mr. Myint founded the Perennial Farming Initiative, a nonprofit organization that aims to share their research in creative ways, and use food to fight climate change.
The Apocalypse Burger is one of Mr. Myint’s many memorable, darkly funny creations, and a look at how a chef’s politics might shape the food on his plate in unexpected ways. The burger, which Mr. Myint developed for the menu at In Situ, a restaurant inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, looks unfamiliar at first, and out of proportion.
The bite-size patty, covered in American cheese, is concealed in a black shell that resembles a charcoal briquette.
Mr. Myint says he will reconfigure the Apocalypse Burger for the Perennial’s new menu, making it bigger and serving it on a squid-ink bun. And he will use other visual puns to make new food that’s playful, communicating his ideas deliciously, without scolding anyone.
There will be more of an emphasis on offal, too, Ms. Leibowitz said, because they want to encourage nose-to-tail eating, and lead diners toward a wider range of cuts, served in smaller portions.
“What’s exciting about the reboot of the menu is to think about the potential for food and restaurants to be communicative in the way art is communicative,” Ms. Leibowitz said, “so that people are eating the message more.”
At the Drawdown Getdown, an event focused on climate education in San Francisco on Sept. 24, Ms. Leibowitz and Mr. Myint plan to join the author Paul Hawken to discuss how food choices can make a positive impact on the environment. They will install interactive exhibits, like a large scale with weighted cubes that represent ingredients and their relative carbon footprints, and a compost exhibit squirming with worms.
Beginning next month, the Perennial will take more inspiration from its owners’ pop-up days, when frequent collaborations with other chefs fueled a series of experimental one-off dinners.
Ms. Leibowitz and Mr. Myint anticipate that the new dinners will occur monthly, and they plan to work with some of the same chefs who cooked alongside them in the past, including Mr. Bowien, who is scheduled to cook at the Perennial in October. Nick Balla, of Duna, will be in the kitchen in November.
“You’re not going to open a restaurant based on selling only beef tongue, but you could do it for a night,” Mr. Myint said. He hopes that by sharing ideas, and cooking together briefly in a low-pressure, low-cost environment, chefs will energize and accelerate the work that lies ahead.
“It’s not about competition,” Ms. Leibowitz said. “It’s about building a movement.”
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