New York’s Eleven Madison Park turning vegan

The three-Michelin-starred restaurant by Chef Daniel Humm will switch to a plant-based menu when it reopens on June 10.

As the pandemic has forced restaurants across the world to down their shutters for extended periods of time, some are using this down time to entirely recalibrate their business. Eleven Madison Park, the reputed three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant, which has been shut for over a year, will switch to an entirely plant-based menu, when it reopens in June.

Chef daniel humm
Chef Daniel Humm understands that the shift to a vegan menu comes with its own risks but he believes it’s a necessary step as the current food system is unsustainable.

Chef and owner Daniel Humm says on the restaurant’s website, “I’m excited to share that we’ve made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products – every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more.”

This shift comes with its own risks, especially as patrons won’t find trademark dishes such as lavender honey glazed duck and butter poached lobster on the new menu. However, Humm realised that a shift of this sort was necessary, partly because of the impact of the pandemic, which forced the restaurant to lay off a lot of its staff and partly, because he believes “the current food system is simply not sustainable”.

Chef Daniel Humm is determined to make a full-fledged effort and described some of the restaurant’s processes on its website. “We are obsessed with making the most flavourful vegetable broths and stocks. Our days are consumed by developing fully plant-based milks, butters and creams. 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.”

The switch to sustainable and vegan menus is a movement that has gradually picked up in the restaurant world, with many iconic establishments moving away from meat-based offerings in recent years.

Eleven Madison Park has done more than just rethink its own business though, through the pandemic, helping prepare more than a million meals for frontline workers and food insecure families in the New York area. When it reopens its doors on June 10, every meal bought by its customers will help provide meals for five needy New Yorkers.

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