“We realized that not only has the world changed but that we have changed as well…it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable in so many ways.”
New York’s top restaurant is ditching meat and seafood because the modern food system is “simply not sustainable”
Three-Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park (EMP) – one of the most high-profile restaurants in the world- will serve an all-plant-based menu after it reopens on 10 June.
The only exception being that EMP will continue to offer cow’s milk and honey for guests to use in their tea and coffee.
The announcement follows the luxury restaurant almost reaching its breaking point after it was forced into a year-long closure because of the pandemic.
“It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant,” chef and owner Daniel Humm wrote in a blog post on the restaurant’s website.
Renowned for its meat-centric American fine dining cuisine, the lockdown also got Humm thinking more about “health and sustainability” after he admitted that the future of restaurants is vegan.
‘Serve a higher purpose’
“I’m excited to share that we’ve made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products — every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more,” the Swiss-born chef wrote.
“It is time to redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose and maintains a genuine connection to the community.
“A restaurant experience is about more than what’s on the plate. We are thrilled to share the incredible possibilities of plant-based cuisine while deepening our connection to our homes: both our city and our planet.”
‘Current food system – simply not sustainable’
According to The New York Post, the restaurant will source ingredients from its own farm in Bennington, N.Y. It also owns a laboratory that will help in developing innovative and creative recipes.
In an interview with CBS News, Humm said: “I find myself most moved and inspired by dishes that center impeccably-prepared vegetables, and have naturally gravitated towards a more plant-based diet
“This decision was inspired by the challenge to get to know our ingredients more deeply, and to push ourselves creatively.”
He added: “We realized that not only has the world changed but that we have changed as well…it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable in so many ways.”
In the blog post, Humm revealed that the team is obsessed with making the most flavorful vegetable broths and stocks.
“Our days are consumed by developing fully plant-based milks, butters, and creams. We are exploring fermentation, and understand that time is one of the most precious ingredients,” he added.
“What at first felt limiting began to feel freeing, and we are only scratching the surface.”
Apart from working on an epicurean upheaval, the iconic restaurant prepared food boxes for needy families in partnership with non-profit Rethink Food throughout the pandemic.
Humm said the new plant-based iteration of the restaurant will help sustain such efforts.
As part of its ongoing partnership with the non-profit, the new EMP will donate five free meals to food-insecure New Yorkers for every dinner purchased at the restaurant.
Share this story: New York’s Michelin star restaurant Eleven Madison Park is going 100% plant-based.
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