Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park
Scott Everett

Eleven Madison Park: Daniel Humm

Daniel Humm dropped out of school at 14 to become a competitive cyclist, and supported himself by cutting vegetables and making soup stock at fine restaurants in Switzerland. When he eventually realized he'd never become a world-class cyclist, he pivoted to the equally competitive world of fine dining, and soon became a rising young chef in Switzerland, and then San Francisco. In 2006, he was wooed to New York to re-imagine the restaurant Eleven Madison Park, and began drawing raves for his painterly presentations of duck, foie gras, and suckling pig. The restaurant was recognized in 2017 as the world's best, but was forced to shut down during the pandemic. When it reopens in June, it will generate a new buzz in gastronomy: this time by revamping its menu to be entirely plant-based. 

Show Notes:

2:32 - Introduction 
6:30 - Daniel’s childhood 
8:11 - Competitive cycling 
10:38 - Working in restaurants 
12:11 - Moving away from cycling 
15:23 - Gaining confidence 
19:39 - First job as head chef 
23:19 - Moving to the US 
26:56 - Recruitment to work at Eleven Madison Park 
31:51 - The difficult parts 
32:58 - Hospitality 
36:36 - The recession 
38:28 - Getting a 4 star review 
40:55 - Thinking of food as art 
45:00 - Becoming the owner of Eleven Madison Park 
48:14 - Overwhelming success 
51:00 - The Covid shutdown 
54:30 - Producing free meals 
59:40 - Rethinking life goals 
1:01:30 - Going plant-based 
1:06:18 - The risks 
1:10:35 - Passion

Selected Links:

Eleven Madison Park
Competitive cycling

Hotel Baur au Lac

Michelin Guide

Campton Place Hotel

Michael Bauer 2003 review of Daniel Humm

Danny Meyer

Will Guidara

Miles Davis

Financial Crisis 2008

Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni’s 4 star review

Daniel’s celery root dish

World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Eleven Madison Park free meals

Environmental impact of meat production

Going plant-based

Listen on Spotify PodcastsListen on Google PodcastsListen on Apple Podcasts
See All Episodes

Keep up with
Guy Raz

Sign up to Guy's mailing list to receive exclusive articles, interviews, updates, and more.

Thank you! Your email has been added to Guy's mailing list.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.