Daniel Humm on What’s Better Than Being #1

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What truly gives you meaning and purpose? Eleven Madison Park (NYC) Chef and Owner Daniel Humm joins Billy Shore to discuss how the pandemic is given him new purpose and his advice to other luxury brands. “If we want to continue the way we’ve done things, I believe 5 years from now, 10 years or maybe already next year, it will be irrelevant and empty,” he says. The chef of the #1 restaurant in the world in 2017, Humm believes the pandemic emphasized that fancy restaurants are a luxury few can afford. “If you want to be a luxury brand going into the future, you need a bigger purpose,” he counsels.

Humm has transformed Eleven Madison Park into a pandemic food provider of 5,000 meals a day in partnership with Rethink Food NYC, which creates delicious and nutritious meals from restaurant food waste. “The recipe I want to really share with the world is the recipe of doing what we’re doing, but also feeding the people in need, under one roof,” he says. “When every restaurant was shut down and I saw that people wouldn’t get food… I realized I had a kitchen and connection to all the farmers and to Rethink. It felt like a very obvious thing to do.”

Listen to be inspired by how the proudest chapter in the career of one of the world’s most decorated chefs is feeding people in need.

Resources and Mentions:

Daniel Humm

Daniel Humm

Daniel Humm is the Chef and Owner of Make It Nice, which includes Eleven Madison Park, Made Nice, and Davies and Brook at the Claridge’s Hotel. A native of Switzerland, Humm began working in kitchens at the age of 14 before earning his first Michelin star at the age of 24. In 2003, Humm relocated to the United States, recruited to run the kitchen at San Francisco’s Campton Place, where he received four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. Three years later, he moved to New York to become Executive Chef at Eleven Madison Park. Over the course of his tenure, Humm has transformed the restaurant from an everyday brasserie to one of the most celebrated restaurants in the world, leading the team in receiving numerous accolades: four stars from The New York Times, James Beard Foundation Awards including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant in America, three Michelin stars, and the #1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017. In 2012, Humm and Make It Nice opened the critically-acclaimed NoMad, which has since garnered three stars from The New York Times and one Michelin Star and become a national presence with restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park

A fine dining restaurant located in the heart of New York City. The restaurant overlooks one of the most beautiful parks in Manhattan, Madison Square Park, and sits at the base of a historic Art Deco building on the corner of 24th Street and Madison Avenue. Eleven Madison Park has received numerous accolades, including four stars from The New York Times, seven James Beard Foundation Awards (including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant in America), three Michelin Stars, and the #1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017.
Rethink Food NYC

Rethink Food NYC Inc

Rethink Food NYC Inc is a non-profit organization that utilizes food excess from restaurants, grocery stores and corporate kitchens to create new and nutritious meals for those in need.  Research shows about 40% of the food produced in America today goes to waste; this is equivalent to 70 billion tons. 42 million people are facing hunger in the United States, but there is enough food to feed everyone – Rethink is working to make this happen.  Rethink has also set up operations for Emergency Food Management, to not only feed those in need during times of crisis, but to fund and activate local food purveyors during these times. This is a model that commenced in New York City in response to COVID-19, with plans to roll out nationally as need grows. Rethink is working on this to be a federally funded program, so the country can not only feed Americans in need, but also employ and help American businesses during times of crisis.