Eleven Madison Park Chef Daniel Humm Launches Plant-Based Meal Kit Service
This time last year, Chef Daniel Humm announced probably the biggest fine dining story of 2021: His flagship restaurant Eleven Madison Park — widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world (not to mention one of the most expensive) — was going meat-free. Diners were left wondering: Could EMP maintain their award-winning reputation without signature dishes like duck and lobster?
Now, even if you haven't been able to lock down one of EMP's notoriously hard to score reservations, New Yorkers can try a taste of Humm's new plant-based cuisine without leaving their apartment. The chef has just launched Eleven Madison Home.
The service is presented as a challenge: "What if we all committed to eating plant-based — and plant-based alone — for just one day per week?" the announcement asks. And Eleven Madison Home certainly offers that: Each box contains a day's worth of plant-based breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. But practically-speaking, the weekly boxes amount to a kind of Michelin-pedigreed meal kit and an opportunity to indulge in the spirit of EMP in your EMH haul.
"[The box] allows guests the chance to enjoy different experiences that we've presented at Eleven Madison Park," Chef Humm told us via email. "This might be a certain technique, or a recipe staple that has been a part of our kitchen for years. Cooking plant-based has been endlessly expansive, and shining a light on the local farmers, purveyors, flavors, artisans and ingredients that we're working with now is something we are most looking forward to."
Humm explains that he's not just slapping his name — or the EMP name — on these boxes. "Our team is very collaborative, and I work with our executive culinary team at every step of the process, from concepting and planning the menu right through to tasting the final dishes," he continues. "Many years ago, we determined four fundamentals for Eleven Madison Park — delicious, beautiful, creative and intentional — and all four remain true for everything that our team is working on at Eleven Madison Home."
Thankfully, customers won't need Michelin-level cooking skill to prepare the items in these boxes. Quite the opposite: The breakfast, lunch, and snacks are described as "ready-to-eat whether at home or on the move," while the dinners and desserts "require a little easy preparation or heating." Hammering home the underlying concept, these boxes are intended to make the single-day transition to an all plant-based diet "as easy, and as delicious, as possible."
But what will subscribers actually find in the box? EMH says to expect "intentional dishes that tell stories of the seasons, the climate, where and how the ingredients are grown." On the website, broad examples include breakfasts like overnights oats, freshly baked pastries, parfaits, and juices; lunches such as leafy greens, grains, and organic vegetable salads; dinners like oven-ready classics, seasonal pastas, and whole roasted vegetables; and desserts including cookie dough, custards, and fruit tarts. Snacks include "savory spreads, seasonal fruit, and crunchy snacks," while the box also can contain "freshly harvested fruit and vegetables from our closest local purveyors" as well as "weekly-changing culinary products curated for each menu."
"The most exciting part about the weekly subscription box is that the menu changes every week, which challenges us to be creative," Humm told us. "Every part of the box is intentionally designed to work together as a balanced and delicious day of plant-based food."
Finally, subscribers can opt to "enhance" their weekly delivery with additional meals, kits, and curated products for an added cost. Currently on the website, options include things like an extra whole roasted curried cauliflower, bake-at-home cookie dough, a bag of EMH house blend coffee by Devocion, and a tacos al pastor dinner kit in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based Sobre Masa.
And yet, similar to the restaurant, Eleven Madison Home comes with both a level of exclusivity and a price tag. For now, the service — which is hand-delivered on Mondays and Tuesdays — is only available within select areas of Manhattan. (Too bad you moved to Brooklyn!) And the cost is more than most meal kits: $150 per box for one person, $285 for two. Once signed up, customers will be automatically billed and sent a box weekly.
But when asked about the price point, Humm deferred to the quality of its contents, as well as its charitable component. "[The box] includes a full day of meals, hand delivery to your door, and excellent produce sourced from the best local farmers and purveyors who share the same passion for excellence as Eleven Madison Home," he said. "And with each purchase a plant-based meal will be donated to ReThink," a non-profit that has partnered with EMP to provide meals to those in need and fight food insecurity.
The larger question, however, is a spin on EMH's own underlying question: Can EMH actually have an impact when it comes to shifting New Yorkers towards a plant-based diet? For his part, Chef Humm is optimistic about the service, telling us, "I couldn't be more excited for what the future holds."