In Manhattan with Daniel Humm

In the first part of his report, the Swiss chef guides us through his favourite places in New York

05-08-2013
Swiss chef Daniel Humm, working at Eleven Madison

Swiss chef Daniel Humm, working at Eleven Madison Park in New York, +1.212.8890905 and best foreign chef according to Guida ai Ristoranti di Identità Golose 2013. He was the author, in the same volume, of an article about his favourite places in New York. Today we publish the first part, on Manhattan. Tomorrow, the one on Brooklyn

I arrived in New York from San Francisco, where I had spent 3 years after leaving Switzerland. I was looking for new challenges, new stimuli. It was already clear to me what the United States are: two coasts 6 thousand km apart, in other words the same distance that separates Europe from the East Coast. Two worlds apart. In fact, New York itself is a world apart.

There’s no doubt that when it comes to ideas, New York is the most receptive city in the world. I mean in terms of food, but not only that. Everything grows at light speed, and this is undoubtedly the first thing that struck me when I arrived in Manhattan. Despite this, there are places that have been up for years, very rooted into the territory. These are true food icons. In other words, while this is the city of mixing cultures, the apotheosis of the racial melting pot, it is at the same time a metropolis that preserves its own defined identity, a city proud of its tradition, even the culinary one.

Russ and Daughters, 179 East Houston street, a Bagels with cream paradise (foto Wikipedia)

Russ and Daughters, 179 East Houston street, a Bagels with cream paradise (foto Wikipedia)

When I’ve got the time, my day starts with a bicycle ride with my family. I like to have breakfast with fruit and granola, the same we prepare at Eleven Madison Park and we give to our guests at the end of the dinner, for their breakfast, the following day. Brunch is a different rite which in New York is a Saturday and Sunday tradition. I love Russ and Daughters in the Lower East Side, one of those traditional places I mentioned above: Joel Russ, a Polish-Jewish immigrant, opened his first emporium in 1914. His bagels with cream cheese are the best in the world.

At lunch, a sandwich is often the best choice and I cannot live without those served by Parm in NoLita and by No.7 Sub in Mid Town, inside the Ace Hotel, a branch of the shop opened years ago in Greenpoint in the far north of Brooklyn. On a day without any particular engagement, I like to finish with Aldea’s tapas, but also with a Thai rice with curry at my place. As for coffee, I recommend Stumptown, 5 blocks from Eleven Madison Park. And if you fancy an ice-cream, there’s a Van Leeuwen truck right on Madison square: they only use local products for their artisanal ice-cream and they have 6 trucks parked always in the same places between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi of Torrisi, 2 Michelin stars

Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi of Torrisi, 2 Michelin stars

My favourite parts of the city are Soho, Nolita, Chelsea, the Lower East Side and the West Village. I like to walk across them with my wife and daughter. I even take them to my favourite restaurants in town such as Torrisi, where they serve what we could call an Italian-American cuisine. The tasting menu is spectacular because it combines the tradition of the two cultures with that touch of modernity that New York can offer when it comes to food. The setting is very familiar, it’s like being in a private home: it is small, very intimate and absolutely lovely. It is simple yet creative, classic but innovative. Abc Kitchen, instead, (35 East 18th street, +1.212.4755829) is the paradise of organic food because here they know how to put local products and those of the season in the centre-stage, and the restaurant is fantastic.

1. to be continued


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