The five-star Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair has lost its chef after it rejected his vision for an all-vegan menu at his restaurant.
Daniel Humm, 45, will leave Davies and Brook at the end of the year after talks with management about transforming the kitchen in his London restaurant at Claridge’s hotel to serve only plant-based dishes.
The central London hotel posted a statement on Twitter on Friday saying that it is “not path we wish to follow” at the restaurant, which offers a four-course menu at £125 a head including caviar and foie gras.
“We completely respect and understand the culinary direction of a fully plant-based menu that Daniel has decided to embrace and champion and now wants to introduce to London. However, this is not the path we wish to follow here at Claridge’s at the moment, and therefore, regretfully, we have mutually decided to go our separate ways.
“We wish to thank Daniel Humm and his extraordinary team at Davies and Brook for what they have created here at Claridge’s since they opened in 2019, gaining accolades along the way under challenging circumstances.”
It follows a source in the hotel telling the Daily Mail that bosses were concerned that “if they turn the restaurant vegan, they will upset thousands of regular guests”.
“Daniel has been a longstanding friend of the hotel for many years and we wish him nothing but continued success as he spearheads this bold new vision,” the statement continued, adding that Davies and Brook would “continue to operate under his direction” until the end of December, after which “future plans” for the eatery would be announced.
Humm reinvented his New York restaurant, the three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, as a vegan fine-dining experience earlier this year, with a message on its website saying the modern food system was “simply not sustainable”.
Reopening its doors after the pandemic as the first fully vegan restaurant with three Michelin stars (there are 12 meat-free restaurants with at least one Michelin star), the chef said: “It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant.” The eatery’s new menu featured dishes such as vegan caviar made from tonburi, a type of edible seed.
In a statement posted to Instagram on Friday, the chef underlined that his principles were paramount in the “mutual announcement” to “go … separate ways” with Claridge’s, saying: “Standing behind this mission, and what we believe in, is most important and is unfortunately not something we can compromise on.”
Echoing his comments when he moved his New York restaurant away from meat-centric dishes, the chef added: “The future for me is plant-based … It has never been more clear that the world is changing, and we have to change with it.”
Humm recently attended the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, where he said his life’s work was “to make plant-based food delicious, magical and luxurious”, adding that plant-based food was “better for our planet and our health”.