Eleven Madison Park Starts Food Truck Ahead of NYC Reopening

Chef Daniel Humm stands by Eleven Madison Truck in front of his restaurant Eleven Madison Park.

Photographer: Clay Williams/Bloomberg

As Eleven Madison Park moves to reopen their dining room, the restaurant is expanding its reach in an unexpected way.

Starting on Monday, April 12, the Eleven Madison Truck will be deployed around the city.

It won’t be serving to-go containers of its famed honey lavender roast duck, or anything else that might have featured on the $335 tasting menu. Instead, the truck, from chef-owner Daniel Humm’s partnership with the nonprofit Rethink, will feed underserved food communities, starting with New York’s Bronx.

relates to A World’s Best Restaurant Starts Food Truck Ahead of Reopening

From left: pastry chef Laura Cronin, chef Daniel DiStefano, sous chef Natisha Deonarain, and Humm get ready to launch the truck on its special mission.

Photographer: Clay Williams/Bloomberg

“We had been brainstorming different ways to make the restaurant part of the community and get staff engaged beyond making meals and pushing them out of the door,” says Matt Jozwiak, co-founder and chiefs executive officer of Rethink. “And then Daniel called me and was, like, ‘Let’s do a food truck.’

The handsome, royal blue, customized truck, emblazoned with the names Eleven Madison Truck and Rethink will serve around 400 meals a day for free. Operations will be paid for in large part by the restaurant’s diners; each Michelin three-star meal that’s sold guarantees five meals for Rethink. (EMP’s to-go boxes, whose $275-plus price tags have raised eyebrows, generate 10 meals per order.)

relates to A World’s Best Restaurant Starts Food Truck Ahead of Reopening

Loading up pre-packed meals made at EMP.

Photographer: Clay Williams/Bloomberg

The truck will be staffed by EMP staff on a rotating basis. “For the kids who care hard about these issues, they will see it as a benefit,” says Humm.  Likewise, the restaurant will prioritize sympathetic suppliers. “We’re going to ask them to give us some product for free for Rethink. We’ll select our suppliers based on that,” he adds.

But it won’t be serving an elite kitchen’s version of what they think people want to eat. “Those neighborhoods are not waiting for a bunch of white guys to show up in their hood and give out food,” says Humm.  

“It will be a series of our greatest hits to start,” says pastry chef Laura Cronin, who has been a key part of Rethink’s meal production at the restaurant. “Chicken is, by far, the most popular protein.”

To begin with, the program will  offer the kind of meals that EMP’s kitchen has been providing to first responders and soup kitchens throughout the pandemic, including jerk chicken with roasted vegetables, gumbo-style chicken etouffée with rice, and grain bowls, along with vegetarian and other dietary options.

relates to A World’s Best Restaurant Starts Food Truck Ahead of Reopening

Cronin attends to some ready-to-go meals. The truck’s interior is as large as some kitchens in Manhattan restaurants. 

Photographer: Clay Williams/Bloomberg

The EMP team is also collaborating with local community boards in hopes of working with neighborhood restaurants in the future. “We can have them come on the truck with their food,” says Cronin.

Jozwiak estimates that the project will cost about $16,000 a month to operate—not including  the food, which will be made from EMP’s leftover ingredients, as well as donated product.

Source Article