New York's Eleven Madison Park might not reopen once Covid-19 lockdowns are eased
The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit in 2020 in our coronavirus pandemic world. Now, the head chef and owner of one of the world's best restaurants, Eleven Madison Park, has said that the beloved restaurant's future is uncertain.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Daniel Humm said: “There is definitely a question mark over Eleven Madison Park—if it will reopen.
“It will take millions of dollars to reopen. You have to bring back staff. I work with fancy equipment in a big space. I want to continue to cook with the most beautiful and precious ingredients in a creative way, but at the same time, it needs to make sense.”
The restaurant won the coveted number one spot on the World's 50 Best Restauarnts list in 2017.
While, Humm and his team considered going the delivery route as have most of Dubai's high-end restaurants, he felt that 'the world didn't need Eleven Madison Park food in fancy boxes'.
He says he was concerned about whether delivery would be safe for the staff.
"If someone got sick, we would have had to shut the whole thing down. Some of our strongest leaders on the team were concerned about coming to work and putting their families at risk. At the end of the day, I hope that people know we’re doing everything we can."
Instead, he chose to turn the restaurant into a commissary kitchen that prepares meals for people facing hunger through nonprofit Rethink Food. It has the capacity to produce about 3000 meals a day if needed.
“The most important thing any of us can do is find ways to support the healthcare workers on the front lines of this battle and those struggling to survive it," said Humm.
"We’re grateful that this partnership will allow the Eleven Madison Park team to contribute in such a significant way. This is obviously an extraordinarily difficult moment for New York, and this program has given our team the chance to not only help people but to do what they love: cook.”
The initiative is not going to stop any time soon.
“But after the crisis, the next chapter is to incorporate feeding people in need every day. We are producing inexpensive but delicious staff meals,” he added.
Sadly, the crisis has hit the team at Eleven Madison Park hard and he had to let staff go.
In a commentary piece on Fast Company, Humm said: "At first I thought we could keep the core team and rehire the rest [of the staff] later. But looking at the numbers, I realized there was no way we could keep this payroll going when we had no money coming in. We ended up furloughing a few people—and then about 10 days in, we made the decision to let everyone go."
Humm recently underwent a high-profile split with his long-time business partner Will Guidara. Humm is the owner of Make It Nice, which is currently comprised of Eleven Madison Park, Made Nice and Davies and Brook in London.