Food & restaurants

Daniel Humm is totally dedicated to vegetables

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In a photo he released this week, the famous chef Daniel Humm of Madison Eleven Park in New York City, Looks very happy Enter the camera. He squatted in the middle of a barren greenhouse garden, obviously without any vegetables, draped in a velvety cream coat, shimmering jazzy hands lightly dusting the dirt.Quick search display Chef jacket It’s Prada, worth nearly three thousand dollars. His matching Prada shoes are ready to use out of the box, white lilies, like a freshly pressed linen tablecloth. If these shoes have encountered topsoil before, they definitely show no signs.

Although Humm’s expression is meant to express the ecstasy of being liberated from the tyranny of meat cooking, it is easy to interpret his expression as a mockery for certain audiences, such as me, who will always be trapped behind the EMP paywall. Looking at the photos, I try not to be too cynical. Although meat and meat products were removed from his recipe, The price of a meal The price of Restaurant 11 at Madison Park will remain at US$335 per person—continuing to maintain its position at or near the top of the list of the most expensive meals in New York City. This does not calm my cynicism. Most people can order a whole season of farm fresh vegetables from the local CSA for the price of a plant-based meal in Chef Humm’s secret garden.

As expected, the food media almost immediately started doing cartwheels, praising Humm for his courage and vision. This enthusiasm seems strange when other chefs make similar statements, such as Dominique Crenn’s Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn No meat Two years ago in 2019. (It continues to provide fish.) Vegan food has been stigmatized, but high-end vegan food has never been introduced. Despite the popularity of plant-based cuisine, none of the 135 three-Michelin-starred restaurants around the world are vegetarian.

The lack of high-end vegetarian restaurants makes it impossible to ignore the importance of Humm’s announcement.Rachel Sugar wrote an article Sympathy article in order to Grub Street In it, she praised the inherent value of Humm’s rejection of meat in a more pragmatic way. She admitted that as a white male senior chef, he was an easy target. “Anything that undermines the dominance of meat is conducive to the development of a plant-based diet,” Sugar wrote. Humm’s choice to provide a vegetable menu without discounts is also an important statement.

The important thing is that the new menu is positioned the same as the old, meat-filled version: there is nothing more rare than Madison Park, and at 11 Madison Park, vegetables will be as rare, unique and inaccessible as meat.

Rachel Sugar, Grub Street, May 5, 2021

In her article, Sugar wants to convince us that the benefits of Humm’s decision not to eat meat may be felt downstream. Just focusing on optics will ignore the broader implications his statement may mean for vegetarianism.

Eleven Madison Park Restaurant

Korsha Wilson, food writer and presenter Hungry society On the podcast, her impression of virtue signals is not so profound.in a Series of tweetsShe pointed out that although Humm’s cooking will change, his wealthy audience will not. Using phrases such as “community, higher goals, and redefining luxury goods” is equivalent to “repacking fine dining to suit the tastes of more “conscious” wealthy consumers after a year of social unrest.”

Humm’s heart seems to be in the right place. However, the threshold for eating at EMP is still so high, which does not help his situation. If he introduced a plant-based menu with tiered pricing, Fixed price or A la carte Dishes that make dining at EMP more convenient may not be so vicious. Part of EMP’s sales proceeds will fund charitable work through a partnership with him Rethink food An organization based in New York dedicated to eradicating hunger. Every meal purchased at EMP will fund five meals to feed those in need. During the pandemic, Humm and his employees also prepared more than one million meals for food-insecure New Yorkers in the Metropolitan Life Building where the kitchen of EMP was closed for more than a year.

After all, the problem is that Daniel Humm is selling agricultural fantasies to guests who can make a pilgrimage to his Vegan Field of Dreams. If he builds it, they will come. This is the root The food is wrong first of all. It is based on the development of limited resources and cheap labor to provide wealthy people with such a wealth of wealth that they can justify spending more money on a meal than a meal. The gourmet puppet show is based on this cooking technique. Why do you think the captain of EMP used to perform tableside card skills?

Humm wrote on Instagram that his decision was based on the fact that “the current food system is unsustainable.” However, his guests spend as much money on a dinner at Madison Eleven Park as most people’s monthly rent. How sustainable is this? Is it enough to feed the family for a week? Humm is not running a non-profit organization, and acts as if he is dishonest.

In the short term, Humm’s decision may be to inject adrenaline into plant-based sports, but to commercialize vegan food Haute cuisine Redefining vegetarianism as luxury seems to violate many of its basic principles. If Humm succeeds, more chefs may follow his example, but this may only bring prestige, not legitimacy.

Daniel Hamm
Chef Humm before his plant-based epiphany

Praising Humm’s contribution to plant-based cooking is like praising Elon Musk’s contribution to renewable energy. Musk claims to be an innovator in providing technological solutions for climate change, but Tesla has invested billions of dollars in Bitcoin, and it turns out that Bitcoin may be more destructive to the environment than internal combustion engines. Supporting false prophets like Musk has a price. We ended up neglecting the real heroes.

Paying attention to Humm’s plant-based cooking should not come at the expense of others for important work, especially in poor communities.There are hundreds of vegetarian restaurants and food non-profit organizations in New York City, such as Urban Vegetarian Kitchen with Peppers on wheels Over the years, the chefs and activists of BIPOC have been helping people to get vegan food more easily. PS kitchen, An immigrant-owned vegetarian restaurant in Manhattan’s Theater District operates as a non-profit enterprise, using its proceeds to create jobs for incarcerated people and support criminal justice reform.

Other food and beverage groups in New York City, such as the one owned by veteran restaurant owner Ravi DeRossi, are doing their best to promote a plant-based lifestyle. DeRossi’s company Overthrow Hospitality recently opened Three new vegetarians The concept of New York, all of which is at the helm of chefs of color. The company also sponsors vegetarian community refrigerators and mutual aid programs, including giving away free vegetarian meals to anyone in need at Avant Garden. Compared with Humm, the media dwarfs DeRossi’s company-wide factory-based decision.

Recognition is helpful, but it can only get these companies to this point. Vegetarian chefs need resources and investment, which proved to be elusive for chefs of color, immigrants and LGBTQ entrepreneurs. If Humm succeeds in transforming EMP, this may herald the commercial prospects of vegan cuisine, but it may also convince investors that the vegan concept can only work with another high-profile white male chef.

In order to make a meaningful change, Humm should use his platform to help introduce to the world the residents of the obscure chefs and activists who promote plant-based cooking at the community level every day. He can use his influence to direct resources to communities where he cannot enter his restaurant. But cooking behind a walled garden, a garden that welcomes some people and excludes others, limits the influence of his decision to choose a vegetarian diet. Making it easier for everyone to enter the garden will not only help improve public health, but it will also make people aware of the need to repair our broken food system.right now that It will be something to celebrate.


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One Comment

  1. “Humm wrote on Instagram that his decision was based on the fact that “the current food system is unsustainable.” However, his guests spend as much money on a dinner at Madison Eleven Park as most people’s monthly rent. How sustainable is this? Is it enough to feed the family for a week? Humm is not running a non-profit organization, and acts as if he is dishonest.”

    In your salty review, you failed to mention that the price of the 12 course tasting menu provides five meals to food-insecure New Yorkers. You also didn’t mention that Daniel Humm along with Matt Jozwiak DO have a non-profit, Rethink (https://www.rethinkfood.org/), which is dedicated to reducing hunger by turning unused food into meals for the food-insecure. So, sustainable? I think yes.

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