Eleven Madison Park: breaking the rules

Earlier in March, I had the absolute pleasure of hearing chef Daniel Humm & manager Will Guidara from Eleven Madison Park talk about the symbiotic nature between front & back of house & it’s importance. Part of an afternoon of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant hospitality talks, it was inspiring to hear the respect they both have for each others role in the restaurant. But on a deeper level, why they do. It’s not just about the chef(s) or the kitchen. It’s about the back & front working together and trusting in one another.

Why was it inspiring? Because they were talking about service and it’s importance; [Daniel Humm] “It’s comforting to know that there is someone in the dining room working just as hard to make sure customers are leaving happy. We chefs need to work together to encourage Front of House as a career path. If we really love service, we need to value it before good service is a thing of the past.”

[Will Guidara] “There is a nobility of service, bestowing graciousness on other people not just the guests. Waiters have intrinsic value in restaurants and can inspire people with their attention to detail, assisting people celebrate special occasions and, when needed, break the rules to enhance the guests overall experience.”

Hospitality is not just about being innovative, it’s allowing the guest to feel seen and heard. Great hospitality is about taking risks, knowing when to improvise and making people part of a community. Both Daniel & Will believe that it takes different people to do different jobs. Both sides of the pass are needed to run the restaurant equally.  “A restaurant should;

1. Understand the seemingly simple thing that it takes different people to do different things & recognise this

2. It takes trust. Restaurants are all about relationships and the front and back need to trust one another

3. Leave your ego at the door”

This restaurant review by the New York Times highlights the importance of why their restaurant is considered to be amongst some of the best,  their talk and why it was great.



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