By Zahra Al-Kateb
With three Michelin stars, a four-star rating from The New York Times, and six James Beard Foundation Awards, it is no wonder Eleven Madison Park has once again been recognized by our readers, having come third on our list of the Top 100 Restaurants in the World for 2017. We caught up with the establishment’s head chef Daniel Humm, who told us about his culinary philosophy, his current favorite dish on the menu and his plans for 2017.
Congratulations on Eleven Madison Park being named within the Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants once again.
Thank you! It’s an honor to have the restaurant among the list and voted on by your readers. We’re humbled to be part of such an elite group of our peers from around the world and it’s a wonderful accolade to share with our team.
How would you describe your own culinary philosophy?
My philosophy has certainly evolved over the years. Now what I value in cuisine is simplicity, the idea of doing more with less. For me, it’s taken nearly two decades to get to that point, to actually try to remove things from the plate rather than trying to add more to it, but what I’ve found over the past few years is that now the food is more delicious, the creativity more compelling, the beauty more true and the intention more clear. Less has definitely proven to be more when it comes to our food.
What was the last place you visited? How did it inspire you?
Our team traveled to St Moritz for the gourmet festival earlier this year and it was an incredible trip. To be back in Switzerland, among the mountains, cooking and serving guests with the same care we take back at home in New York, it was really amazing to see. But more recently, I spent some time at the Hauser & Wirth galleries here in New York and it’s become a favorite place of mine to visit.
What is your favorite dish on the menu at Eleven Madison Park and why?
We’re about to start serving our spring menu and I really can’t wait for it because it’s a retrospective menu of the last 11 years here at the restaurant. We’re serving dishes we haven’t had here in years, dishes that were significant in helping us to get to where we are today.
What trends do you see emerging within the fine dining world, particularly within New York City?
Fine dining is still alive, which is very exciting. I think it will always have a place. And in New York, there are so many amazing restaurants, places across the city where you can eat so well for not a lot of money. It makes eating well very easy here.
What are your plans for 2017?
So many plans. We’ll close Eleven Madison Park for renovations, open our summer-long pop-up in the Hamptons, EMP Summer House, and reopen Eleven Madison Park later this fall. There will be a lot of emotional, thrilling changes this year for sure!