Eleven Madison Park's Executive Chef Reflects on a Season in the Rockies

Kelly J. Hayes | May 22, 2019 | Food & Drink

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Humm enjoyed the winter stint and getting back up to altitude for a few months.

Besides prodigious, ass-kicking snowfall this winter, Aspen also reveled for a few golden months in the cuisine of star chef Daniel Humm. The New York-based chef brought a pop-up version of his prestigious Eleven Madison Park to Chefs Club in The St. Regis Aspen Resort. “We knew we had an opportunity to do something really unique that felt totally different from anything else in Aspen,” says Humm, who brought the soul of a legendary three-Michelin-starred dining room to both an indoor and outdoor setting at the foot of Aspen Mountain. “It was no small feat to get 80-plus team members out to the mountains, but it made the restaurant and the experience so much better. Seeing what the team built there and how they became part of the community is amazing, and I’m so proud of everything they accomplished this winter.”

The concept was a spin-off of the EMP Hamptons Summer House pop-up, which Humm and his partner, Will Guidara, had created over the last two summers. Why not go someplace beautiful and create a dining experience that reflects that place, they thought.

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EMP Winter House’s yurt village proved to be a popular place for après-ski drinks and a unique spot for dining.

For Humm, who was born in Switzerland, the EMP Winter House gave him a chance to return to his high-altitude roots. “I loved being back in the mountains, being able to hit the slopes, to be outside—it was amazing,” he says. “Highland Bowl was a clear favorite. I really loved the challenge, and it presented a great bonding experience with the staff.”

The EMP Winter House menu featured Swiss touches such as stroganoff, schnitzel and a Zurich-style chicken dish, which also reflected his heritage. “It was my first time really cooking and serving some of the food of my youth in one of our restaurants. There have been influences, of course, but this was a more literal representation of some of the dishes I grew up with and have so many fond memories of.”

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Humm, a Swiss native, found himself at home hiking Highland Bowl.

Perhaps the most iconic memory will be the private dining yurts that populated the courtyard outside of Chefs Club. “We always love the challenge of creating something that feels truly of the place while also putting our own stamp on it,” Humm says. “The yurts gave us that—a special, transportive venue for us to do something really fun for our guests, and it seemed to be a real hit with both our team and our guests.”

Alas, as the snow melted and the seasons changed, the EMP circus packed up its yurts and headed home. As there are no plans for a reprise next winter, fans will have to book a table at the mothership in Manhattan to enjoy Humm’s cuisine. But be sure to name-drop Aspen when there. “You know, I had a chance to meet locals, visitors and business owners, and really, the most amazing thing is just how kind everyone was,” Humm says. “The hospitality, the welcoming nature—it was all so incredible.”

That’s just how we do it in Aspen.



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Photography by: yurt photo courtesy of emp winter house | highland bowl photo by ian Mclendon | car photo courtesy of Make it Nice