Eleven Madison Park peddles in surprise. The restaurant, which has four stars from the New York Times and three Michelin stars, earned a distinction as the “World’s Best Restaurant” last year. Its owners, restaurateur Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm, have made names for themselves as savvy operators so determined to delight even the most jaded of diners that they jump through increasingly ridiculous hoops. So of course the team’s second cookbook Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter: Stories & Watercolors, Recipes & Photographs, is just about as elusive — and almost as pricey — as a meal at the restaurant.
The two-volume set is divided between stories and recipes: The first volume is a memoir of Humm’s culinary coming of age, with personal reflections, lessons learned, and stories of signature dishes. Humm’s memories are written in vignettes (which correspond to the recipes in volume two) next to illustrations by Janice Barnes, a longtime staffer at the restaurant with a knack for the watercolor palette.
A second volume contains 100 recipes. Divided by season, there’s one for the restaurant’s signature savory black and white cookies; carrot tartare with apple mustard and pickled apples; honey-glazed duck with apricot and fennel; sturgeon with smoked cream cheese and caviar; and a 32-page section at the end with master recipes for purees, vinaigrettes, sauces, doughs, batters, and ice creams.
Each recipe is written in tight detail with minimal instruction, and was photographed on a bright white background by Francesco Tonelli. The average American home cook may never make confit of suckling pig or asparagus “en vassie” (cooked in a pig’s bladder), but these recipes exist in these volumes as a way to preserve the past 11 years — and imagine the next 11.
The $250 set is meant to be a time capsule to the recent past: It hits bookshelves just as Eleven Madison Park gets ready to reopen after extensive renovations with a new design and new menu.
Poetically, 11,000 copies have been printed; each is signed by both authors. Here’s a look inside:
Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter: Stories & Watercolors, Recipes & Photographs, written by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara with illustrations by Janice Barnes and photographs by Francesco Tonelli.