Three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park to relaunch with entirely vegan menu

The  Staff Canteen

Three Michelin-starred New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park will no longer serve meat, fish or seafood when it reopens as chef and owner Daniel Humm says our current food system "is simply not sustainable, in so many ways.”

The restaurant at one point looked set not to reopen at all after the pandemic, but his team launched the Eleven Madison Truck, a mobile commissary kitchen to help address rising hunger needs in New York during the pandemic - which also allowed him to keep some of his team on board.

The chef, also behind the latest fine dining installation at Claridge's in London's Mayfair, Davies and Brook, decided that the restaurant would need to be the driving force behind ending hunger by, in his own words, "redefining what luxury means." 

With the restaurant relaunch this will continue to operate, with every meal sold contributing five meals to the food truck.

In a statement posted on the restaurant's website, the chef wrote that after fifteen months of closure, the restaurant was finally set to reopen on June 10th. 

He said: "What began as an effort to keep our team employed while feeding people in need has become some of the most fulfilling work of my career. It is a chapter in my life that’s been deeply moving, and for which I am very grateful."

"It was clear to me that this work must become a cornerstone of our restaurant."

Three Michelin star, plant-based dining

But that's not all: as of June 10th, not a single animal product will be served to customers - who will nonetheless continue to pay $335 for a meal.

The chef explained that "In the midst of last year, when we began to imagine what EMP would be like after the pandemic – when we started to think about food in creative ways again – we realised that not only has the world changed, but that we have changed as well.

While, he said, the restaurant's impact has always been a chief concern, "it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways."

Thus, in the new menu, he said, "every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more."

He explained that developing the menu "was inspired by the challenge to get to know our ingredients more deeply, and to push ourselves creatively, adding that "it wasn’t clear from the onset where we would end up."

Some will question the chef's decision - and it is possible to wonder what the guides will think of it - and this is a concern, he explained.

"I’m not going to lie, at times I’m up in the middle of the night, thinking about the risk we’re taking abandoning dishes that once defined us.

"But then I return to the kitchen and see what we’ve created. We are obsessed with making the most flavorful 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 process of developing the plant-based menu, he said, "has given us the confidence to reinvent what fine dining can be. It makes us believe that this is a risk worth taking.

"It is time to redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose and maintains a genuine connection to the community. A restaurant experience is about more than what’s on the plate. We are thrilled to share the incredible possibilities of plant-based cuisine while deepening our connection to our homes: both our city and our planet.

"I believe that the most exciting time in restaurants is to come. The essence of EMP is stronger than it ever has been. We can’t wait to have you come and experience this new chapter of the restaurant. We look forward to sharing this journey with you. 

With love and gratitude, 

Daniel."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th May 2021

Three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park to relaunch with entirely vegan menu