The Real Reason Chef Daniel Humm Left This Michelin-Starred Restaurant

It's not everyday you hear that a highly-regarded chef running a Michelin-starred restaurant leaves. But in the case of chef Daniel Humm, that's exactly what happened. Humm is known for sourcing local ingredients, seasonal eating, and of course for his 3 Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York. In June of 2021, he got extra media attention with his announcement that when the restaurant re-opened, the menu would be strictly plant-based (via Eater). 

Humm explained his reasoning to NPR's Guy Raz on the "How I Built This" podcast, saying that the pandemic was in part inspiration for the change and to convert the menu entirely vegan. "The way we have sourced our food, the way we're consuming our food, the way we eat meat, it is not sustainable. And that is not an opinion. This is just a fact," Humm stated. "So we decided that our restaurant will be 100 percent plant-based."

Changing the menu required plenty of overhaul, considering many of the dishes were meat-focused (via Food and Wine). But Humm was confident in his decision and had no plans to go back to having meat on the menu. Meanwhile, at his second restaurant, the transition wasn't nearly as smooth, and ultimately, he was forced to walk away from the business completely.

For David Humm, it was plant-based or bust

Diners at New York's Eleven Madison Park may or may not like the change David Humm made to the menu. But when it comes to the chef's involvement at his other Michelin-starred restaurant in London, it's a different ball game. Humm also intended to change up the menu at the Davies and Brook restaurant at the London Claridge hotel but they couldn't come to an agreement as the hotel wasn't onboard with having a plant-based menu. Dedicated to his vision, Humm was so determined to focus his culinary skills and creations on plant-based options only that he chose to walk away from the venue (via Food and Wine). 

In an Instagram post, Humm wrote, "The future for me is plant-based. This is our mission and what we stand by as a company, and at this time this is not the direction that [Claridge's Hotel] feels is right for them." For Humm, stepping down and walking away seemed to be the only option since his plans don't coincide with that of the hotel. "It is with sadness now that we've mutually announced that we will go our separate ways at the end of this year," he explained. Humm has a lot of clarity on what type of food he wants to prepare and create. He may have closed one door but as they say, another one opens.