Daniel Humm’s vegan move blocked by Claridge’s

Global celebrity chef Daniel Humm is quitting his restaurant at Claridge’s in Mayfair at the end of the year after the hotel blocked his desired move to a plant-based menu. The Swiss chef, whose Eleven Madison Park headquarters in New York topped the World’s Best 50 Restaurants list in 2017, has undergone a Damascene conversion to the vegan cause during the pandemic, and has already transformed his menu in Manhattan.

He said in an Instagram post: “The future for me is plant-based. This is our mission and what we stand by as a company, and at this time this is not the direction that [Claridge’s] feels is right for them.” In May this year, he told the Wall Street Journal: “Our practice of animal production, what we’re doing to the oceans, the amount we consume – it’s not sustainable.”

An unnamed ‘Claridge’s insider’ told the Daily Mail: “If they turn the restaurant vegan, they will upset thousands of regular guests” – although the hotel put out a conciliatory statement: “We completely understand the culinary direction of a fully plant-based menu that Daniel has decided to embrace and champion. However, this is not the path we wish to follow here at Claridge’s at the moment.

Humm’s new direction is a volte-face for a chef whose use of luxury flesh made him a perfect fit for plutocratic Claridge’s when he opened his restaurant Davies & Brook in its main dining room less than two years ago. He was well known for a signature dish of whole roast chicken for two stuffed with foie gras and truffles at his second New York restaurant, NoMad, and the menus he devised for Davies & Brook featured such favourite dishes as dry aged duck glazed with honey and lavender, Claridge’s Fried Chicken (CFC), black cod roasted in miso and lobster roll, with a single token purple broccoli main dish to satisfy the veggie market.

Claridge’s will no doubt be looking for a suitable chef to service its headline dining room from January, a perch occupied in previous years by Simon Rogan with Fera and Gordon Ramsay.

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