Hello, from Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park
Hello, my name is Daniel Humm, and I am the chef and owner of Eleven Madison Park. Madison Square Park means so much to me: not only does our dining room overlook the beautiful trees and lawns, but our very name and logo both take inspiration directly from the park.
We, like so many other restaurants, have been hit incredibly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and closing our doors to our staff and guests last spring was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. In a matter of weeks, I watched my team lose their jobs, watched our communities struggle, and watched my kitchen sit empty. Very quickly I realized that not only did we need to do something to combat these compounding crises, but that we could address all these problems at once, while connecting with our community in a totally new way.
In partnership with Rethink Food – a nonprofit that I co-founded – we converted Eleven Madison Park into a full-time commissary kitchen, producing and distributing as many as 3,000 meals a day for New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. I truly found a new purpose in this time: we were able to bring some of our team back to work, bring life back to our restaurant, and serve those who needed our help most during one of the darkest periods in our city’s history.
By fall, we launched a program called Rethink Certified, which provides funding and infrastructure to restaurants so that they can incorporate community meals into their operating budget and business model. I’m proud to say that alongside Eleven Madison Park, over 35 restaurants, and counting, are now part of our ever-growing network.
Though we have not yet reopened for indoor dining, we are continuing to connect with guests through our EMP At Home program, which brings some of our favorite dishes home to you. Dinners are available for pickup weekly throughout the tri-state area, including at our front door, on the east side of Madison Square Park. Every dinner purchased allows us to provide 10 meals to those experiencing food insecurity via the Rethink Certified program, which is still operating out of our kitchen and producing hundreds of meals every day.
So far, between all of these initiatives, we have made and distributed over 400,000 meals all over New York City. The crisis is ongoing, but so is our mission. We hope you come pick up a dinner at Eleven Madison Park soon, and learn more about our commitment to combat food insecurity.