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amazing city but then you go half an hour north and you have farmlands growing produce. As far up as you go to Canada, it’s farmland for hours and hours. They make wines in the Finger Lakes and you’re near the Atlantic Ocean, the best water for seafood. It’s just a special place.”

Unable to contain his love affair with this place, he put together a 511-page book called I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes in 2013. It is also in New York where Humm became a restaurateur. In 2011, Humm and restaurant manager Will Guidara purchased Eleven Madison Park from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The next year they opened NoMad at the NoMad Hotel in new York. Humm speaks of the two restaurants, like a father refusing to play favourites with his children. He explains they have the same food philosophy, with NoMad offering à la carte service. “We have music for inspirations for both restaurants: Miles Davis for Eleven Madison Park and The Rolling Stones for NoMad. “The Rolling Stones are loud and loose but super talented, super well respected. Everything they do is intentional. At Eleven Madison, we may have 10 steps of service to get somewhere. In NoMad, it’s maybe only three. But it’s intentional. We’re not cutting corners.”

In the age of chefs hogging the limelight, Humm has intentionally taken a different path. He shares the limelight with his co-owner Guidara. They smashed down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and Humm collaborates fully with Guidara in running the restaurants. “What makes Eleven Madison Park successful is that Will and I own the restaurant together, fifty-fifty. We’re business partners, and we’re best friends.” During the interview, Guidara chimes in: “In the restaurant business, our success is based on our ability to read people.” Guidara says: “In Daniel, I believe I’ve found the best chef in the world. Someone I’m proud to have as my colleague, as a peer, as a partner, and someone whose food I’m inspired by on a daily basis. But in him, I found another thing – someone who loves service. Not just to the point he respects it, but someone who believes it is just as important


as the food. The way people are made to feel during the experience within the walls of Eleven Madison Park is just as important as how delicious the food they taste is.”

Determined to create a personal experience for

their guests, Guidara admits to researching their diners prior to their meal. One guest had just lost his father. In his blog, he revealed the special bond they shared in Miami eating Cuban sandwiches together. To honour this relationship and his father’s passing, Guidara suggested serving a Cuban sandwich as one of the courses. “Chef works for months for every single one of the 12 courses we serve and I say to him, ‘can we serve a Cuban sandwich’,” Guidara chuckles. “Other chefs would have laughed at me and told me to get out of the

kitchen. But he trusts me. He trusted that if I thought it was the right thing to do, he knew it might work and he was willing to support me.” Guidara recalls what happened when they served the sandwich. “When we did, the guy cried at the table. It was beautiful. He said it was the best meal in his entire life.” For Humm and Guidara, their intention is clear, “Creating the best dining experience is not about us, but it is about our diners.” Humm spells it out: “We believe the best way to run a restaurant is from both sides of the wall equally. Our restaurant is run by the kitchen and dining room. “I’ve worked all my life to get to this point, where you have a successful restaurant. And now we have this successful restaurant, and I have to share it with this guy,” Humm says, turning to a grinning Guidara. “But you know what? If sharing the spotlight, if getting half the attention means the restaurant can be twice as good, I would do that over

and over again. As chefs, it’s hard because we chefs have big egos. It’s about leaving your ego aside to make the restaurant better.” Looking back at the 10 years they have collaborated together, Humm says: “It’s a lot more fun to be in a team. We’re not alone when we struggle. When there is something to celebrate, we can celebrate together. As a chef, with all the effort we put in to create a delicious meal, it is comforting

“What makes a cuisine is the history of a place... and in New York we are trying to define that”

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