World Chefs: Humm's high-end bet bucks casual dining trend

Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:28am EDT
 
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm is having a dream year.

His New York City restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, has three Michelin stars and in April was named one of the 10 best restaurants in the world on the S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna list produced by Britain's Restaurant Magazine.

A month later, the James Beard Foundation awarded him the title of outstanding U.S. chef.

But when he took over as head chef of the fine-dining, European-inspired restaurant in 2006 the then 29-year-old chef was going against the trend at a time when food trucks, gastro pubs and tapas bars were gaining popularity.

Humm, who was born in Strengelbach, Switzerland, spoke to Reuters about his success and passion for cooking.

Q: With the awards and success, do they validate your choice of becoming a chef rather than an architect like your father?

A: "Of course, it's nice to be recognized, especially with the James Beard award because it's voted by your peers. But what really validates that my choice is that after 22 years of cooking, (is that) I'm anxious to come to work because I really love cooking. That's the biggest validation for me."

Q: In your first cookbook published last year, you wrote about forging an identity for Eleven Madison Park. What do you mean?   Continued...

 
Undated photo of Daniel Humm at the kitchen of Eleven Madison Park in New York. Swiss-born chef Humm is having a dream year. His New York City restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, has three Michelin stars and in April was named one of the 10 best restaurants in the world on the S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna list produced by Britain's Restaurant Magazine. REUTERS/Francesco Tonelli/Handout