Gabriela Hearst, creative director of Chloé, and Daniel Humm, chef and owner of Eleven Madison Park, hosted what was described as a “low-impact lunch experience” at the Madison Avenue restaurant, which has recently become entirely plant-based.
Among the 50 guests who attended were Gucci Westman, Amy Sall, Nina Garcia, Samira Nasr, Stefano Tonchi, Mel Ottenberg, Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Glenda Bailey.
“I‘m so thankful to Chloé and my friend Daniel Humm to be doing this lunch, and we always talk about the parallels in our two metiers,” said Hearst, who has incorporated environmental consciousness into her role at Chloé, which has achieved a B Corp status. Humm called Hearst “one of the most inspiring people I know,” and said he was so proud of everything’s she’s done, especially in the past two years, which he called “amazing.”
Among the plant-based dishes that were served were Mushroom Tea, Truffle Tart, Autumn Greens with Cucumber and Avocado, Butternut Squash Roasted with Quinoa and Apple Grape with Coconut Pretzels with Sesame.
Humm said he took the opportunity during the pandemic to take a step back and rethink his business model. “In my case, we faced bankruptcy. It wasn’t clear if this restaurant would go on. The restaurant industry went from 100 to zero overnight,” he said. He noted that Eleven Madison Park, which has three Michelin stars, was closed for 16 months and they had to lay off everyone. They turned the restaurant into a community kitchen and cooked over one million meals for food-insecure New Yorkers.
“It felt strange to have this luxury in the city where people have no food,” he said. But he realized that the restaurant has given him an amazing platform and all the people who have come through the doors have the voice, power and access to give money and support. Today, every dinner purchased at Eleven Madison Park allows them to provide five meals to food-insecure New Yorkers.
When he decided to reopen Eleven Madison Park as a plant-based restaurant without meat, he thought about the food system and how ingredients have changed so dramatically over the years. “They look different and taste different. And the idea of luxury, in the ways we think of luxury, these are old ideas,” he said.
For example, he said, “There is nothing luxurious about caviar, at all.…That’s an old idea. It used to be rare and delicious. Today, all of it is farm raised, and you can find caviar in an airport. You can find it anywhere…and it doesn’t taste good.”
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