walter-smith-daniel-humm.jpg

Walter Smith & Daniel Humm

gradient1.svg

american chef daniel humm takes the lead in protein transition

  4 min

interview

Jurgen Elenbaas  Xiao Er Kong

‘Eleven Madison Park goes vegan’. It was quite the headline in May 2021. By choosing to go plant based, world-renowned chef Daniel Humm is seeking out his own purpose, and trying to redefine the culinary world in the process.

American chef Daniel Humm takes the lead in protein transition

World’s Best Restaurant Eleven Madison Park has a higher purpose now 

daniel-humm-the-world_s-50-best-restaurants-2017.jpg

Daniel Humm (left) at the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017

© The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017


daniel humm

1976

Born in Switzerland

Starts working in kitchens

1990

2000

Moves to the United States

2003

2006

Eleven Madison Park earns its third Michelin star

2012

2017

Eleven Madison Park is named World’s Best Restaurant

Becomes chef of Eleven Madison Park

Earns his first Michelin star in Switzerland


Creative challenge

The main reason for the world’s best restaurant to transition to a plant based menu won’t come as a surprise: to take care of the environment. “The way we source our food, the way we’re consuming our food, the way we eat meat, it is not sustainable. And that is not an opinion. This is just a fact.” The second impetus for going plant based is a bit more down to earth. Humm wants to push the boundaries of his own culinary and creative skills: “This is the greatest creative challenge of my life. At first, it seemed so daunting, now I’m more excited than I’ve ever been. It’s just so liberating to make these choices.” Speaking with Rich Roll, an advocate for plant based nutrition, he makes the comparison with artist Lucio Fontana, who used to cut his paintings with a knife. Changing the rules of a form of expression allows new possibilities to emerge.


finding purpose

As Humm explains it, being named the World’s Best Restaurant may have been the first step in this transition. After reaching the top, the pinnacle of fine dining, he started to wonder: what now? But the true catalyst was the Covid pandemic. “It was this last year that has made me rethink everything. It was in the darkness that we found the answers.” Humm’s choice was also inextricably linked to his work with the Rethink foundation, which collects excess food from restaurants and gives it to food insecure people. During the pandemic, Eleven Madison Park opened as a commissary kitchen and still operates a food truck that delivers to the food insecure. Today, every guest at Eleven Madison Park pays for five of those meals. Rethink Food seems to have highlighted Eleven Madison Park as a purpose-led enterprise. “Cooking for the 1% allowed me to have this voice, to be able to raise the funds we needed. And so I promised myself that if I would reopen Eleven Madison Park, it would have a higher purpose.”

gradient2.svg

Eleven Madison Park is the Tesla of fine dining restaurants. Tesla popularized the idea of electric cars by producing exclusive cars. The restaurant wants to popularize plant based food by first serving a 100% plant based menu. 


daniel humm as a leader

Humm is aware of his influential position in the culinary industry. He hopes his views on food and the choice he made to go plant based will trickle down to more accessible restaurants. In that sense, he compares Eleven Madison Park to Tesla, who popularized the idea of electric cars by producing exclusive cars. Luxury, to Humm, should be redefined. “In many ways, we’re holding on to old ideas.” Humm wants to create a new standard for fine dining restaurants: flavours that are as good as they've ever been, but now a little bit better for the planet. 

restaurant.jpg

© Jake Chessum

facebook twitter linkedin insta insta (copy)
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
gradient1.svg

  4 min

American chef Daniel Humm takes the lead in protein transition

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

World’s Best Restaurant Eleven Madison Park has a higher purpose now 

daniel-humm-the-world_s-50-best-restaurants-2017.jpg

Daniel Humm (left) at the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017

© The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017

Jurgen Elenbaas  Xiao Er Kong

‘Eleven Madison Park goes vegan’. It was quite the headline in May 2021. By choosing to go plant based, world-renowned chef Daniel Humm is seeking out his own purpose, and trying to redefine the culinary world in the process.


daniel humm

1976

Born in Switzerland

Starts working in kitchens

1990

2000

Moves to the United States

2003

2006

Eleven Madison Park earns its third Michelin star

2012

2017

Eleven Madison Park is named World’s Best Restaurant

Becomes chef of Eleven Madison Park

Earns his first Michelin star in Switzerland


Creative challenge

The main reason for the world’s best restaurant to transition to a plant based menu won’t come as a surprise: to take care of the environment. “The way we source our food, the way we’re consuming our food, the way we eat meat, it is not sustainable. And that is not an opinion. This is just a fact.” The second impetus for going plant based is a bit more down to earth. Humm wants to push the boundaries of his own culinary and creative skills: “This is the greatest creative challenge of my life. At first, it seemed so daunting, now I’m more excited than I’ve ever been. It’s just so liberating to make these choices.” Speaking with Rich Roll, an advocate for plant based nutrition, he makes the comparison with artist Lucio Fontana, who used to cut his paintings with a knife. Changing the rules of a form of expression allows new possibilities to emerge.

restaurant.jpg

© Jake Chessum


finding purpose

As Humm explains it, being named the World’s Best Restaurant may have been the first step in this transition. After reaching the top, the pinnacle of fine dining, he started to wonder: what now? But the true catalyst was the Covid pandemic. “It was this last year that has made me rethink everything. It was in the darkness that we found the answers.” Humm’s choice was also inextricably linked to his work with the Rethink foundation, which collects excess food from restaurants and gives it to food insecure people. During the pandemic, Eleven Madison Park opened as a commissary kitchen and still operates a food truck that delivers to the food insecure. Today, every guest at Eleven Madison Park pays for five of those meals. Rethink Food seems to have highlighted Eleven Madison Park as a purpose-led enterprise. “Cooking for the 1% allowed me to have this voice, to be able to raise the funds we needed. And so I promised myself that if I would reopen Eleven Madison Park, it would have a higher purpose.”

gradient2.svg

Eleven Madison Park is the Tesla of fine dining restaurants. Tesla popularized the idea of electric cars by producing exclusive cars. The restaurant wants to popularize plant based food by first serving a 100% plant based menu. 


daniel humm as a leader

Humm is aware of his influential position in the culinary industry. He hopes his views on food and the choice he made to go plant based will trickle down to more accessible restaurants. In that sense, he compares Eleven Madison Park to Tesla, who popularized the idea of electric cars by producing exclusive cars. Luxury, to Humm, should be redefined. “In many ways, we’re holding on to old ideas.” Humm wants to create a new standard for fine dining restaurants: flavours that are as good as they've ever been, but now a little bit better for the planet. 

walter-smith-daniel-humm.jpg

Walter Smith & Daniel Humm

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Fullscreen