Daniel Humm

Chef, Restaurateur

New York

Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm has made quite the splash since he landed in the States in 2003. Humm spent a three-year stint as executive chef at Campton Place in San Francisco and then moved on to Eleven Madison Park in New York, where he’s been at the helm ever since. In 2010, he received the James Beard Award for Best Chef: New York, and in 2012, he was named Outstanding Chef by the venerable institution. He and business partner Will Guidara now own Eleven Madison Park, and in 2012 the pair opened new restaurant NoMad, a more casual spot combining modern American style and classic French cooking techniques. The Eleven Madison Park chef also made headlines when he swapped spots with Alinea’s Grant Achatz for several weeks in 2012, to the delight of diners in both New York and Chicago, respectively.

  • On January 8, 2013
    Daniel Humm answered the question: Daniel Humm

    Why did Daniel Humm open NoMad?

    Eleven Madison Park is our high-end restaurant, but even within that we made it more accessible, more fun and more youthful. We wanted to create something where people can drop in a couple of times a week or a month and use the place for different occasions. Sometimes it might be a more elaborate meal, but sometimes it’s just to grab a bite to eat. I think that was really fun. We wanted to create a restaurant we would want to use all the time.
  • On January 8, 2013
    Daniel Humm answered the question: Daniel Humm

    What are Daniel Humm’s favorite things to do in New York?

    It’s amazing to see the diversity and go through all the different neighborhoods. I think a lot of tourists are not aware of that, and when I have friends in town, I love to show them some of the places in Queens, like some of the Asian restaurants. Some of the Asian culture in Queens has such a strong pull. In Brooklyn, there’s a Polish neighborhood, a Russian neighborhood. Food then also comes into play. I’ve never been to a place outside of New York where I’ve been able to go to all these different neighborhoods and really feel a different culture.
     
    Central Park is amazing. I’m a runner, and I usually go pretty early and I try to run on the bridle path kind of away from the crowd. On a day when it’s off-season and early in the morning, you feel like you’re almost alone in there, but then you see the big green woods and to the side you see all these high-rises. It’s really inspiring to me to run in Central Park. There’s this energy in there that is really special.
  • On January 8, 2013
    Daniel Humm answered the question: Daniel Humm

    What are Daniel Humm’s favorite hotels?

    There is a place in Provence in Bonnieux called Domaine De Capelongue. It’s owned by a chef we like very much. His name is Edouard Loubet. That’s kind of a place where you want to go for a week and just chill out. The way you picture Provence, that’s exactly how everything looks there.
     
    The chef Michel Bras had the biggest impact on me when his cookbook came out around 15 years ago. It was just different from anything I’ve ever seen, and for the longest time I wanted to go and see his place. And finally, about five years ago, I went and had an incredible meal. At the same time, you stay at the hotel [Bras], and the meal and the stay are very cohesive — they make a lot of sense with each other, and it’s so comfortable and really awesome. That is in a town called Laguiole, where they make the famous knives, south of Paris.
  • On January 8, 2013
    Daniel Humm answered the question: Daniel Humm

    What are Daniel Humm’s favorite cities to visit?

    I really like Paris. It’s an old city, and everywhere you look up, it’s beautiful — the buildings are beautiful. It’s definitely a much calmer pace than New York. It has exceptional restaurants; some old restaurants that serve very traditional food where you can almost go back in time. It’s also a beautiful walking city, and it’s a city that’s all about the food. All the amazing bakeries, the cafés, the bistros, the high-end restaurants — it has the whole spectrum.
     
    Another city that I love is Tokyo. Will [Guidara, his business partner] and I went there for two weeks, which is rare. We felt we were able to dive in to the culture, and food is a big part of the culture there. I really appreciate how they have all these different restaurants — one restaurant only does sashimi, one restaurant only does soba noodles, one restaurant only does tempura. Some of the people who work there have owned these restaurants for 30 or 40 years, and that’s all they do. Every day, they try to get just a little bit better in that simple task. We also tasted some just incredible ingredients. The fish market is unbelievable, and some of the fruits and vegetables were out of this world. They have these melons that cost $250 for one, but the melon is the best you’ve ever had. It’s the same with pears and apples. Somehow there is enough people in Tokyo who really appreciate that quality of food, so there’s a market for it, and it’s really inspiring.
  • On January 8, 2013
    Daniel Humm answered the question: Daniel Humm

    What are Daniel Humm's favorite New York restaurants?

    Well, Franny’s in Brooklyn is Italian but very focused on the ingredients. It’s really simple cooking, and it’s just food from the heart. Torrisi is this really small place, and it feels so great to be in there. The food is Italian, but like New York Italian. They’re really clever and they’re also in a very historic neighborhood on Mulberry Street, right on the cusp of Little Italy and Chinatown. When you eat there, it definitely feels like you’re in New York, and the food is really delicious. I also love Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Brooklyn Fare and Atera.