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Eleven Madison Park Shifts Focus to Creating Meals for New Yorkers Most In Need

Partnering with Rethink, American Express, and Resy, the high-profile restaurant has converted to a nonprofit food distribution center.


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While many of New York’s restaurants have been shut down indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the city’s most celebrated fine-dining establishments has opened its doors—as a commissary kitchen.

As of Wednesday, chef Daniel Humm’s three-Michelin-starred stunner (which held the number one spot on 2017's World's 50 Best Restaurants list and is an American Express Global Dining Collection partner) is teaming up with Rethink Food NYC—a nonprofit whose mission is to reduce food waste while feeding those in need—to serve New Yorkers and healthcare workers impacted by the crisis.

In partnership with American Express, the collaboration will produce well over 2,000 meals every Monday through Friday to be delivered free to hospitals and community centers across the five boroughs including New York-Presbyterian and Collective Fare at the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. The initiative is expected to operate for at least a month.

“The most important thing any of us can do is find ways to support the healthcare workers on the frontlines of this battle and those struggling to survive it. We’re grateful that this partnership will allow the Eleven Madison Park team to contribute in such a significant way,” shared Eleven Madison Park chef and co-owner Daniel Humm. “This is obviously an extraordinarily difficult moment for New York, and this program has given our team the chance to not only help people, but to do what they love: cook.”

Once again, the prestigious chef is cooking alongside his former EMP staffers—many who were laid off when the restaurant was forced to close last month, but have been employed by Rethink to make comforting meals such as roasted chicken with rice with cauliflower, braised veal cheek with couscous and roasted carrots, and pasta with romesco sauce and focaccia. “This kitchen was built to give pleasure to people through food,” chef Humm shares.

As New York City grapples with the coronavirus crisis, and soup kitchens across the city continue to close their doors, Rethink’s work is more critical than ever. “Finding a way to continue serving those that have always relied on us, as well as helping hospitals provide meals in this all-hands-on-deck moment, is so important,” said Matt Jozwiak, Rethink’s executive director and founder. “This innovative program also helps the very restaurants we’re using to prepare the meals and we hope this partnership serves as a model that can be replicated nationwide, which we’re already working to do.”

Humm has been a longtime supporter of Rethink and its mission to reduce waste by turning unused food from restaurants, grocery stores, and corporate kitchens into nutrient-dense, ready-to-eat meals delivered to New Yorkers in need. “We're grateful for both Daniel Humm as the chef and founding board member of Rethink and the support of American Express to jump in so quickly to make this possible,” Jozwiak shares with Departures.

Transforming one of New York City’s most distinguished restaurants into a commissary to support the community and its healthcare heroes is a meaningful initiative for everyone involved.

“New York has given so much to me, to us. With our friends at Rethink and American Express, we’ve found a way to help and give back. Our Eleven Madison Park kitchens are now focused on making thousands of meals for fellow New Yorkers and healthcare workers impacted by the current crisis,” Daniel Humm shared with Departures. “We’re grateful that the partnership allows us to contribute in this way; the meals we’re cooking today are some of the proudest in my career.”


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