How top chef Daniel Humm drew inspiration from his visit to the country
by Rupali Dean.
Over the years, the world has seen Chef Daniel Humm rise to many challenges, as his business has grown and awards have accumulated. He is a gifted innovator, an esteemed chef and a valiant leader. Humm made headlines as the three Michelin-starred Swiss chef whose restaurant Eleven Madison Park ranked number one on the world’s 50 best restaurants list last year. Humm was in India this year and surely made the most of his time.
THE INDIA CONNECT
Meeting one of the top chefs in the world leaves one in awe, but the first thing you notice when talking to him is a sense of serenity, composure and self-awareness that most chefs don’t possess. Humm brings a wealth of experience and talent to the kitchen. His appetite for gastronomy, together with his experience and refined European techniques, paves the way for an innovative dining experience. When I ask him what influenced him to come to India, Humm smiles. “The opportunity to see up close a part of the world that I have long been curious about, as well as the chance to immerse myself in the culture; to see it through my own eyes instead of on a screen or in a book.”
So how was his experience working in an Indian kitchen? “It was incredible and a great learning experience. That’s the thing I love about being a chef and having the chance to travel – I never stop learning from the people I meet, the places I visit, and the things I get to taste.” Ask Humm about his favourite part of this trip and pat comes his reply: “The culture that I was exposed to. I know it’s a broad answer, but there was so much to take away from it. The people in India are so generous and hospitable, while the food is incredibly diverse with flavours I hadn’t experienced before. The country is truly beautiful.”
ON ELEVEN MADISON PARK
The amalgamation of his traditional training and the influence of his Swiss roots moulded Humms diverse palate, bringing an ingenious spin to the dishes he creates. The gastronome is extremely influenced by his love for travel and is enthused by people, places and food from across the world.
At Eleven Madison Park, dishes change every season, but there’s one highlight that the restaurant never strays too far away from – the Honey and Lavender Roasted Duck. “Since it’s become a classic dish, we have devoted a whole area of our kitchen to aging the ducks,” the chef elaborates.
Quality ingredients which tell a story come together with the skill of a kitchen team that shares an appreciation and understanding of traditional food and progressive techniques…resulting in an ideal presentation of the very best in dining.
“What inspires me has changed over the years, but the driving force has always been to create something special,” Humm muses. “Whether that is a dish, a moment or an experience, it is always inspiring to be able to give that to our guests.” With a series of honours to his name and a treasure of experience, this ground-breaking chef’s passion for cuisine is eclectic, accomplished and unpretentious.