We have been to many parties celebrating events in the life of Eleven Madison Park, and they are always a lot of fun. The (by invitation only) party celebrating the official publication date of Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook took place appropriately on 11/11/11. For this occasion, Will Guidara, Daniel Humm, and the staff provided a few unexpected twists.
One thing you can always count on at EMP parties is that there will be music. As we stepped into the restaurant and exchanged warm hellos with the reception staff, we were greeted by the sophisticated sounds of the Jazz at Lincoln Center band, which kept things lively throughout the evening.
In the dining room and bar area, Champagne was flowing, and servers circulated constantly with trays of familiar hors d’oeuvres: Crispy Chicken Skin with Chicken Liver, Foie Gras Torchon with Raspberry Gelée, Scallop Ceviche with Tangerine, Smoked Sturgeon Sabayon with Chive Oil and, of course, Gougères.
But this party, unlike previous ones, was not confined to the dining room and bar. It was “Open House” in the kitchen, so guests were free to wander in at their leisure.
We chatted with the sous chefs as we watched them preparing some of the aforementioned hors d’oeuvres. Two chefs stood behind a table ready to assemble two special cocktails, a Jack Rose and a Manhattan. Having had the Jack Rose during my birthday lunch a few weeks before, I chose the Manhattan, a new one for me. Delicious!
And there was more to explore. We headed upstairs to the private dining rooms which, we discovered, was featuring a more casual side of EMP. The music was (recorded) rock ‘n’ roll; the eats, served cafeteria-style, were fried chicken in a bucket and fries, which we plucked out of a guitar case; and six different types of beer were on tap. A fun concept for sure!
Those of you who come to my blog with some regularity know that I was honored to be the first to officially receive the cookbook in October as a birthday gift from our EMP family (an event I described in this post). So, M and I were thrilled to join them in celebrating its official publication date. It is a gorgeous book with stunning photos by Francesco Tonelli. The recipes are divided by seasons with introductory remarks from Chef Humm. And threaded throughout, in text engagingly written by Will Guidara, is the story of the restaurant’s evolution from the time Daniel Humm arrived.
I should note that one major accolade EMP has received is not mentioned because it came sometime after the book went to press: the award of three stars from the Michelin Guide. It was, to be honest, totally unexpected by the staff but, in my (admittedly biased) opinion, thoroughly deserved.
It turned out that there was another monumental event to celebrate that evening. As of 10 a.m. the previous day, Thursday, November 10, 2011, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm officially became the owners of Eleven Madison Park.
Congratulations, Will and Daniel! We look forward to many more years of wonderful times in your restaurant.
To see all the photos from this party, click here.