Eleven Madison Park, named the World’s Best Restaurant in 2017, is known for elevating dinner to the level of art. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City, and the epitome of luxury had to be put on hold. The restaurant closed its doors, along with just about every other dining establishment in the city. But with so many resources behind it, Daniel Humm, the restaurant’s owner, decided that he couldn’t sit by and watch people go hungry during a crisis.
The Eleven Madison Park kitchen is open once again, this time as a commissary kitchen, in which the restaurant’s team prepares thousands of meals every day for front-line workers. The restaurant partnered with Rethink Food NYC, an organization which repurposes food from grocery stores and restaurants that would have been thrown away to feed the hungry, in particular for New York City-based families. So far, Rethink has served 316,335 meals, and has increased its operations during the pandemic. Up to now, the organization has received around 19,000 pounds of food from restaurants that have closed due to the pandemic.
As part of its emergency response initiative, Rethink is offering financial assistance to restaurants, especially those which need extra help to support the out-of-work staff, if the restaurant uses its kitchen to help prep meals which will be served to communities impacted by pandemic.
As Lonely Planet reported, so far, 12 chefs are back to work at the Eleven Madison Park kitchen, preparing meals not just for healthcare workers but for families who depend on food banks, many of which are currently closed. The restaurant expects to be able to prepare as many as 2,000 meals every day.
“The most important thing any of us can do is find ways to support the healthcare workers on the front lines of this battle and those struggling to survive it,” Daniel Humm said in a statement. “This program has given our team the chance to not only help people but to do what they love: cook.”