Top Manhattan triple Michelin-star eatery Eleven Madison Park, owned by Daniel Humm, is going vegan when it reopens in June.
Eleven Madison Park, one of New York’s most revered fine dining restaurants, has announced that it will be switching to a plant-based menu upon its reopening.
Having been shut for 15 months due to the pandemic, the Manhattan eatery, which has retained three Michelin stars since 2012, is set to reopen on June 10. Owned by Swiss chef Daniel Humm, the move is likely to send shockwaves through the Manhattan food scene, with a restaurant once noted for its lavender honey-glazed duck and butter-poached lobster now going vegan.
“When we began to imagine what Eleven Madison Park would be like after the pandemic — when we started to think about food in creative ways again — we realized that not only has the world changed, but that we have changed as well,” Humm wrote in a statement posted on the restaurant’s website. “We have always operated with sensitivity to the impact we have on our surroundings, but it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways.”
He added: “It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant.” It was followed by the announcement the entire menu will be made from plants.
“This decision was inspired by the challenge to get to know our ingredients more deeply, and to push ourselves creatively. It wasn’t clear from the onset where we would end up. We promised ourselves that we would only change direction if the experience would be as memorable as before,” he said.
“We asked ourselves: What are the most delicious aspects of our dishes, and how could we achieve the same level of flavor and texture without meat? It’s crucial to us that no matter the ingredients, the dish must live up to some of my favorites of the past.”
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Humm admitted that he’s had his doubts about the radical shift, but gained reassurance when he saw the dishes the kitchen had come up with. While the Times reports that the menu won’t be entirely plant-based, with milk and honey still being offered with coffee and tea, the chef said that the New York City restaurant is developing plant-based milks, butters and creams, alongside “the most flavorful vegetable broths and stocks”.
“We are exploring fermentation, and understand that time is one of the most precious ingredients. What at first felt limiting began to feel freeing, and we are only scratching the surface,” he added.
Eleven Madison Park’s decision to switch to a vegan menu is being touted as a statement that many will follow, as high-profile restaurants and big names in the food industry affect change and ally themselves with a more sustainable food system.
“All this has given us the confidence to reinvent what fine dining can be,” wrote Humm. “It makes us believe that this is a risk worth taking.”