Story at a glance:
- A French restaurant is going from serving dishes such as duck to exclusively plant-based products.
- The restaurant has its own farm and lab to produce food.
- Prior to the menu change, the restaurant was regarded as one of the world’s best restaurants.
An upscale New York City restaurant is ditching its well-known dishes like lavender and honey-roasted duck and mushroom butter-poached lobster for an all-vegan menu when it reopens on June 10.
As The New York Post reported, Eleven Madison Park (EMP) innovated itself with a new 12-course vegan, which strictly means no animal products, menu.
The Post also noted the French restaurant has made drastic changes since opening its doors in 2006, like redesigning its dining room twice, or when waiters were required to entertain patrons. However, the switch to a vegan menu seems more sincere than a gimmick.
The restaurant now has a farm it manages in Bennington, N.Y., which by commute, is about a six-hour drive away from New York City. Management also owns a laboratory, which is said to be expensive.
"I find myself most moved and inspired by dishes that center impeccably-prepared vegetables, and have naturally gravitated towards a more plant-based diet," Daniel Humm, chef and owner of EMP, told CBS News. "This decision was inspired by the challenge to get to know our ingredients more deeply, and to push ourselves creatively."
“We realized that not only has the world changed, but that we have changed as well...it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable in so many ways,” Humm said.
The transition from meat to plant-based products will be a challenge as it is more expensive to obtain exotic vegetables like truffles, white asparagus and morel mushrooms than meat, especially for a restaurant that exclusively uses them.
In addition to having a high production cost, EMP has a reputation to protect, as it is arguably one of the best restaurants in the city: The New York Times gave it four out of four stars, and it is one of the 14 restaurants in the United States to have three Michelin stars, a French rating for restaurants that dates back from 1900s; and in 2017, it was named the World's Best Restaurant.
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