Celebrated chef calls livestock practices ‘not sustainable’
One of the world’s most-celebrated restaurants is planning to ditch almost all animal products on its menu, including meat and seafood, when it reopens next month.
The move at Eleven Madison Park, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan, comes as environmentally conscious consumers are increasingly turning to plant-based diets and meat alternatives for personal health reasons and to combat the climate crisis.
Daniel Humm, chef of the renowned restaurant, talked to The Wall Street Journal about the restaurant’s dramatic new direction.
“When we set out on this journey we promised ourselves that we would only do this if the meal could be as delicious as it was before,” Mr Humm told the Journal. “My goal is to create these beautiful dishes, give people beautiful experiences; unexpected, surprising experiences that make you feel satisfied, as a meal with meat would.”
The menu isn’t technically vegan; guests will be able to order milk or honey for beverages like coffee and tea. But it’s a major move by a restaurant that commands upwards of $300 for dinner. Sustainability, unsurprisingly, was top of Mr Humm’s mind when he made the switch.
“Our practices of animal production, what we’re doing to the oceans, the amount we consume: it is not sustainable. If Eleven Madison Park is truly at the forefront of dining and culinary innovation, to me it’s crystal clear that this is the only place to go next,” Mr Humm told the Journal.
But just because vegetables will have a starring role on the plate, don’t expect the price tag for dinner to drop. Mr Humm explained that labour-intensive preparations of vegetables mean there is no cost saving to going meat-free.
Eleven Madison Park, which won the title of world’s best restaurant in 2017, isn’t the only major food brand to go in a greener direction. The food website Epicurious, which publishes recipes and cooking instructions, announced recently that it will no longer publish recipes using beef. The move sparked a backlash among some of its readers.