One of my favorite action movies on Netflix is 7 Days Out. Actually, it’s not an action movie, but a documentary following organizers and employees before a big event.

One episode is dedicated to the renovation of Eleven Maidson Park, the highly acclaimed New York City restaurant. And, in the mother scene, you see dozens of ducks (aka thousands of dollars) hanging in a world-class glass fridge.

The ducks were destined to become the lavender honey-glazed signature dish by chef Daniel Humm.

Lavender duck

Things they change, my friend

Now, Eleven Madison Park is reopening with just a plant-based menu, featuring stuff like Oven-roasted golden oyster mushrooms glazed with kombu stock and dusted with dehydrated pine needle mushroom powder. No butter, no eggs, no ducks (and Salinger’s Holden Caulfield would be proud about that).

Many great chefs made that choice before Humm, even before the Pandemic (see Alain Passard). But there is a trend now. And I truly believe Humm when he says two things.

One:

«What at first felt limiting began to feel freeing […]. All this has given us the confidence to reinvent what fine dining can be».

Two.

«I’m up in the middle of the night, thinking about the risk we’re taking abandoning dishes that once defined us».

Reinventing is risky, but if you’re creative, you cannot be defined only by what you did in the past.

PS: fancy some Eleven Madison Park Granola?


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