The three-Michelin star restaurant Eleven Madison Park is asking New York to consider vegan dining for a minimum of one day per week. Owner and head chef Daniel Humm has developed a plant-based meal kit to recreate favourite restaurant dishes at home.
Dubbed Eleven Madison Home, the initiative represents another nuance of high-end veganism that picks up where the namesake fine-dining location leaves off. Menu items can be recreated at home for $150, less than half of what it costs for the sit-down experience.
The pandemic offered Humm an opportunity to overhaul the focus of his three-Michelin-star restaurant. Closing during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, the location reopened as a fully vegan establishment. This marked a massive breakaway from the formerly meat-focussed menu, as Humm revealed that he became aware that current food systems are “simply not sustainable”. Despite some complaints, he has doubled down on his removal of animal products from his kitchen and now seeks to do the same for meal kits.
EMH was motivated by Eleven Madison restaurantgoers claiming they would eat plant-based all the time if the food could taste as good as his. This sparked the development of home meal kits that offer fine dining without compromise, or the need to dress up.
“It’s only so often you can dine at Eleven Madison Park, yet there are so many euphoric flavors that we can easily adapt for at-home; so many local farmers, purveyors, and stories that we can honor,” Humm told VegNews.
EMH feeds more than the upper echelons of Manhattan society. Every box purchased sends a donation to Humm’s Rethink Food project, founded to tackle food insecurity. The initiative creates and distributes meals made using the same ingredients as Eleven Madison Park, via a food truck to underprivileged communities.
Eleven Madison Park at home
Meal kit and delivery services experienced a boom during the pandemic. Despite subscriptions tailing off since, with big players such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron reporting sustained cancellations, the sector is anticipated to keep growing as a whole. Globally, the meal kit delivery sector is expected to reach $19.92 billion by 2027, up from $15.21 billion in 2021.
EMH meal kits are unabashedly aimed at high-earning diners. Costing $150 for a single or $285 for a couple’s delivery, they contain one day’s worth of plant-based eating. Meals, snacks, desserts, and kitchen cupboard must-haves are included. The kits are delivered once a week as part of a subscription service. Ingredients are packaged in recyclable and reusable containers.
The name has been repurposed from pandemic-era takeaway meal kits that the restaurant offered. Humm is looking to cater to busy New Yorkers who typically rely on quick options or restaurants, which are frequently unhealthy.
“To adjust our habits isn’t easy. It’s especially true when it comes to food,” Humm said in a statement. “But it can happen little by little, as long as it does not feel like a sacrifice. It has to be as fun and delicious as possible. In this case, a true luxury.”
Meals require minimal prep prior to serving and menus change each week. Meals follow Eleven Madison Park’s ethos of using locally-sourced and seasonal produce. Sample meals include oatmeal with fruit compote, focaccia, kebabs, and jars of tapenade. To remain as sustainable as possible, delivery is restricted to certain areas of Manhattan.
The evolution of meal kits
In February, Splendid Spoon confirmed it had scooped $12 million to expand its plant-based meal delivery service. The company was founded in 2013, and aimed squarely at busy professionals with little time to think about sourcing healthy food. The new funding was secured to increase the variety of meals offered, alongside the introduction of new ranges.
Hello Fresh sought to bring domestic partnerships to the forefront of its Australian arm last year. The meal delivery leader added ‘Veef’ to its kits, supplied by Local startup Fënn Foods. This marked an uptick in demand for vegan protein in such services.
All photos by Eleven Madison Park/Home.