• The World's 50 Best Restaurants

Chefs’ Choice Award 2015

Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York

Whether it’s through his famous whole-roasted chicken with foie gras and black truffle at the NoMad Hotel or his signature lavender honey duck at Eleven Madison Park, Swiss chef Daniel Humm has made an indelible mark on New York’s dining scene. Since moving to the US in 2003 to work as executive chef at Campton Place in San Francisco, Humm has successfully created and honed an original cuisine; the cooking at Eleven Madison Park and NoMad is influenced by his native Europe, but the menus are heavily New York-focused.

From cooking celery root in a pig’s bladder to serving bars of chocolate made from different animal milks and asking guests to guess which is which, Humm plays with the boundaries of modern cooking and is forever on the lookout for creative new ways to delight his customers.

Part of his appeal is a desire to go above and beyond the usual duties of a chef, creating bespoke dishes according to the needs and wants of individual diners. One guest cried with joy when Humm served him a Cuban sandwich in homage to his late father, and everyone who eats at Eleven Madison Park has a different story of surprise courses and off-menu treats.

While Humm’s culinary talent shines through in his food, his chemistry with business partner Will Guidara adds a special something that helps set their co-created dining experiences apart. Humm and Guidara met a decade ago while both working separately for legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer, from whose Union Square Hospitality Group they eventually bought the restaurant in 2011. While some chefs would rather go it alone and take all the glory of leading a successful restaurant, Humm says he’s more than happy to share the spotlight if it means the restaurant is twice as good.

Those who have worked with Humm will testify to his personable demeanour. Undoubtedly his warm and playful character, combined with his enormous talent in the kitchen, are among the reasons his peers voted him this year’s Chefs’ Choice Award winner.

Warm-natured Swiss chef wows diners with New York-inspired food

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