ELEVEN MADISON PARK | Passion & Dedication
The iconic Eleven Madison Park is home to Chef Daniel Humm and co-owner restaurateur Will Guidara who established a unique approach to hospitality by placing equal importance on the kitchen and the dining room. They deliberately focused on creating a harmonious feeling that welcomes their guests to enjoy a fine dining experience that is both gracious and delicious.
Overlooking Madison Square Park, one of the most beautiful parks in New York City, this prestigious establishment was awarded the title of “The Best Restaurant in the World and North America 2017.”
Reopened last October after a summer makeover, the restaurant maintained its grandeur but became more intimate and modern while keeping and enhancing historic details that make this space so authentic. The terrazzo floors, the Art Deco pendant lights and new artwork by Daniel Turner and Rita Ackermann pay tribute to the past. At the same time, the added banquette create a sense of privacy, and the re-designed bar feels like its own place.
To embrace the teamwork in the kitchen, space has been opened up by creating a visual connection and dynamic flow between the staff from any food station. A new Molteni stove is one of the most exciting gadgets in the kitchen to highlight, including the new cutting-edge dry-aging area for ducks.
The dining room hosts 80 guests with 37 personnel including captains, servers, sommeliers, bartenders, hosts and Maitre d’s serving on a given evening. Meanwhile, there are 33 team members in the kitchen that, despite the many things happening at once, are peacefully assembling hors d’oeuvres. The combination of dedication and passion for genuine hospitality that Daniel and Will have passed over to Eleven Madison Park staff established a harmonious and seamless creative work process between the kitchen and the dining room teams. Aiming to make people happy through food and service, they want their guests to be at ease in the place they call home, to indulge a bit, to connect with their fellow diners and most importantly, to have fun.
“It is not a secret that the hospitality industry is experiencing a vital moment of transition. Today, chefs and restaurateurs have the opportunity to effect much-needed change by creating safer, more inclusive working environments for everyone. We want our staff to be happy, enjoy what they do, and grow with our company for many years.” – Humm states.
Inspired by the best ingredients, the menu changes four times a year following the seasons. Beyond the ingredients, Chef Daniel Humm finds inspiration in music, art, and artists, especially minimalist art, which is reflected in the aesthetics of his dishes and presentation. Just like Michelangelo was carving his sculptures, Daniel often sketches ideas out in his sketchbook before they arrive on the plate to the delight of his guests. The final selection must meet four Eleven Madison Park’s fundamentals; the dish must be beautiful, intentional, delicious and creative ensuring that the menu is focused and thoughtful.
Daniel and Will are meticulous about every detail, from the placement of a carrot on the plate to the exact grey of the server’s jacket. They value each component, no matter how small it is, as it plays an essential role in creating the overall experience they want for their guests. The emotions and what you feel when visiting Eleven Madison Park could be described as a celebration of a special moment that leaves you with a long-lasting pleasant memory.
Ultimately, the formula of their successful business relationship lays in doing what they truly love and the utmost respect and appreciation they have for each other as well as the expertise that each of them brings to the table.
“We know that to deliver the best experience for our guests, the kitchen and the dining room have to work together seamlessly, and that starts with us.” – Daniel Humm.
In the twelve years since Daniel Humm and Will Guidara have partnered to open their first restaurant in Manhattan, Eleven Madison Park has served as their platform to create the essence of who they want to be.
Now, they opened NoMad in New York and Los Angeles, bringing the same level of gracious hospitality in a more ca- sual atmosphere, as well as Made Nice for a healthy, delicious lunch or a take-out dinner on the way home. They create restaurants they would want to go to for all types of occasions in life, and this is just the beginning of their creative journey.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Benoit Linero, Jake Chessum & Evan Sung