Why He’s a Food Hero: When pandemic lockdown began in March 2020, the future of fine dining was left very unclear. Eleven Madison Park, led by chef Daniel Humm, quickly turned their Michelin-starred restaurant into a commissary kitchen to produce two thousand meals per day for New Yorkers in need. Humm partnered with Rethink Food to produce food to be donated and ensure the restaurant’s staff stayed employed. He launched EMP at Home, a service to purchase meals that are easy to reheat at home and stay true to Eleven Madison Park’s standards of seasonality and quality. For each EMP at Home meal purchased, ten meals are donated, and by March 2021, they had donated 400,000 meals.
Background: Humm, who was born in Switzerland, became the chef at Eleven Madison Park in 2006, co-owner in 2011, and full owner in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, the restaurant served a multi-course seasonal tasting menu that drew inspiration from local culture and ingredients.
Work: Eleven Madison Park was once a fine dining establishment with a kitchen that produced only a hundred meals in a day, so the shift to commissary kitchen has changed Humm’s outlook on the city’s food system completely. It is unclear yet if Eleven Madison Park will return as the highly lauded fine dining establishment it once was.
Awards, Praise and Honors: The restaurant has earned numerous James Beard awards, and was awarded three Michelin stars in 2012.
Resources and References:
- Daniel Humm Dishes About Eleven Madison Park’s New Venture, EMP At Home, And Giving Back (Hamptons.com)
- Eleven Madison Park Transforms Its Michelin-Starred Kitchen To Feed New Yorkers In Need During COVID-19 (The Manual)
- Eleven Madison Park Reopens To Feed New Yorkers Affected By Covid-19 (Robb Report)
- Can Fine Dining Survive COVID-19? Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park Isn’t So Sure (Fast Company)