On Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia, Eleven Madison Park was named the best restaurant in the world on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best list. Eleven Madison Park first made the list in 2010, entering at No.50 going from strength to strength, and after 7 years they’ve finally hit the top spot.
But who are the men behind the newly crowned 3 Michelin starred winner from New York? Best friends Daniel Humm and Will Guidara are the culinary world’s answer to Ant and Dec. The pair first met in 2006 when they were set up on a professional “blind date” by the then owner of Eleven Madison Park and acclaimed restauranteur Danny Meyer. It would be this partnership that would see Eleven Madison Park rocket onto gastronomies world stage.
Becoming a chef was never what Swiss born Daniel Humm aspired to be, leaving school at the age of 14 to become a professional cyclist. Thankfully it was not to be instead pursuing a career as a chef. This would prove to be a wise decision as he went on to earn his first Michelin star by his mid-20s whilst working at Gasthaus zum Gupf in Switzerland. In 2003, Humm moved to San Francisco for 3 years before moving to New York to become the executive chef at Eleven Madison Park. In 2015, he won the Chef’s choice award at the World’s 50 Best restaurants awards ceremony in London.
New Yorker Will Guidara has spent most of his life working in the restaurant industry. After graduating in 2001, he started his dining room career at Spago’s in Beverly Hills. Guidara moved back to New York to work for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. In 2006, he became the General Manager of Eleven Madison Park. Along with Anthony Rudolf, he is the co-founder of the Welcome Conference, an annual hospitality-focused symposium launched in 2014.
In 2011, after 5 years spearheading change in the restaurant, Humm and Guidara bought Eleven Madison Park from Danny Meyer. The sale of the restaurant coincided with the release of their cookbook Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. In 2012, the restaurant was awarded a coveted 3 Michelin stars, an accolade they have kept ever since. They broke into the top 10 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2012 and since then they’ve climbed steadily towards No.1. winning the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award in 2016 in its inaugural year on their way to the top.
They established restaurant group Make It Nice in 2012 which includes Eleven Madison Park and their other restaurant The NoMad. As well as the aforementioned cookbook, the duo co-wrote two further books, I ♥ NY: Ingredients and Recipes and The Nomad Cookbook.
Since the restaurants opening by Danny Meyer in 1998, its interior hasn’t been updated, but that’s all about to change. In mid-June of this year the restaurant will close for a long-awaited refurbishment which will include a brand new kitchen designed by Daniel Humm and will re-open in September.