Months after announcing the split with Guidara, news that shook the restaurant world, Daniel Humm opens up his restaurant and explains his motivations in an interview with Vanity Fair.
Humm likens his split with Will Guidara to a previous break from Danny Meyer, the trailblazing restaurateur who owned Eleven Madison Park who gave a Humm the kitchen and who worked so hard to reimagine Fine Dining in a thoroughly American context, away from the stilted European tradition.
“I’ve always been willing to risk everything to have creative freedom,” Humm says.
On finding new love, Humm recalls how a life-changing trip to India, after a months-long renovation of EMP, he came back determined to radically “edit” his life—a new cell phone, hundreds of names out of his address book. Everything was open to question…
The tip to India and the inward journey led chef Humm to Laurene Powell, “the most incredible person I have ever met,” he says. Powell is founder of the social-change organization Emerson Collective, majority owner of The Atlantic, and widow of Steve Jobs.
That trip to India, was a turning point in Humm's life, giving him “perspective and clarity” that put him on a “path that led me to her.” Powell, he says, has “allowed me to see myself more clearly, and I get to be more myself by knowing her. She inspires me every day.”
The Vanity Fair article is the first that Humm or Powell have publicly commented on their relationship. The timing, the meeting, the being together, says Humm “It’s kind of magical.”
Apart from the “incredible energy and partnership and love” Humm describes a recalibration of his own values, from the pursuit of commercial success, which he most certainly attained at EMP, to a more creative ambition, saying he is “getting to the place where I can create what I want to create.”
Humm funded his buyout with the help of an investor he has known for a long time and not Powell, he insists.
On his split with NoMad partners, Humm is clear: “At the end of the day, we just could not see eye to eye,” he said in an Instagram post.
On the split with Humm, Guidara says, “I’m incredibly proud of what we built together and know that a piece of me and my approach to service and hospitality will always remain at Eleven Madison Park and the other restaurants. But over the last few years, our visions around how we wanted to run the restaurants were no longer aligned, so we made the decision to go our separate ways.”
On his new London restaurant Davies & Brook, Humm says “This is the three-star dining of the future”.