Celeb chef Daniel Humm and the NoMad Hotel group are officially splitting, according to announcements sent to staffs of the various restaurants this afternoon. Sydell Group, which owns the NoMad Hotel, the Line, and various other hotel brands, will take over ownership of the restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The groups are still negotiating the final deal for the forthcoming London restaurant, but insiders say everyone expects Make It Nice to exit that partnership as well. The full transition will take place on January 30.
Longtime NoMad beverage director Leo Robitschek and wine director Thomas Pastuszak will be staying on, and former events director Laura Wagstaff will return to help with the transition. Many of the head chefs and top food and beverage staffers were name-checked in the various letters, confirming that they are staying on. That said, Sydell head Andrew Zobler has been allegedly courting high-profile chefs across the country to take over the properties, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll bring on another name — or multiple names — to lead the vision of the NoMad restaurants going forward.
This is the second big split in recent months for Humm, who ended his partnership with longtime collaborator Will Guidara in July. Humm now runs Eleven Madison Park, newly opened Davies and Brook in the Claridge’s Hotel in London, fast-casual restaurant Made Nice, and the forthcoming restaurant at 425 Park Avenue in New York solo. It is a dramatic shift in the portfolio for a chef who was on an expansion tear.
Rumors of the NoMad/Humm split first broke last week.
Andrew Zobler of Sydell Group’s letter to the New York staff:
Make It Nice will be transitioning out of the food and beverage operations at the NoMad Hotels. The transition will occur on January 30, 2020 in New York and Los Angeles and will follow several weeks later in Las Vegas. We will be organizing a transition of the food and beverage operations at NoMad New York to a partnership with Leo Robitschek, Thomas Pastuszak and the senior members of the current New York NoMad F&B teams including Mike Reilly and Kal Nemieboka. In addition, we are excited to share that Laura Wagstaff will be coming back to NoMad to help with the transition. We believe in the team and are excited for them to have the opportunity to continue the exceptional level of service and culinary excellence achieved to date.
We have grown a best in class hotel company and intend to support a best in class food and beverage team. We will do everything we can to support and nurture the talent that makes the experience magical every day on property, and intend to leave room for the current teams to grow. It is our culture to grow from within at Sydell and we will continue that approach with NoMad food and beverage.
We will be working with the food and beverage teams in the weeks and months ahead not only to maintain the quality that has been accomplished to date under Make It Nice but also in an effort to improve and enhance the experience at every level. You should expect to see in particular more attention to detail as well as a greater focus on culture and entertainment. There will also be changes to the menu while respecting the history of the NoMad approach to dining.
We are grateful for the many contributions of Daniel, Will and Jeff and will miss them. They were all instrumental in making NoMad what it is today and we can only hope to try our best to live up to the standard they have set for the properties.
I would like to thank all of you for your many contributions to date and look forward to talking with everyone over the next few days as I make the rounds at the hotels. We are all committed to maintaining and enhancing the culture and quality of NoMad, and to making this transition as easy and simple as possible. If you have any questions about the transition, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Leo, Gabe, or Dan.
Daniel Humm’s letter to staff:
There’s no easy way to say this: after eight incredible years, we have made a very difficult decision with our partners at NoMad: as of February 1st, we will no longer be running the food and beverage operations at their U.S. properties.
It’s bittersweet, of course. We’re very proud of what we created. I feel we were successful in our mission: to reimagine the grand hotel, to provide a place for visitors and locals alike to commune in a lavish, yet welcoming environment.
We poured our heart and soul into these projects—every single detail. Every member of our team played a part in creating memories for our guests and for ourselves that will surely last a lifetime. To think my mother’s holiday chicken, a dish cherished by my family, was enjoyed by guests world round is humbling and gratifying.
Yet, when it came time for us to renew our management agreements, our partners and I have realized that after eight years and expanding the initial successes of NoMad into other cities, the time is right for both of us to move on.
The restaurants and bars will still be there, but under Sydell’s direction. Those who work there are invited to continue to do so, which makes me happy.
I know that rumors have been circulating about this potential split for a while, and we wish we could have provided more information sooner. I hate that any of you may have felt uncertainty these past few weeks — for that, I am sorry.
Representatives from Sydell will be reaching out to you soon to handle details and that transition. A town hall will be hosted at your restaurant to address the questions I am sure many of you have. We are also available for one-on-one meetings, should you like to talk.
Please know that you will always be family, regardless of whose name is on your paycheck. I respect each and every one of you so much and what you’ve accomplished.
Partnerships can end and restaurants can change—that doesn’t mean they can’t continue to grow. Through it all, I am incredibly proud of what we all have built. I know we’ll celebrate the memories we’ve made together, and we’re excited to see what the next chapter holds for all of us.