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New York Today: A Renowned Chef’s Advice for Beginners


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Daniel Humm, the chef and co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, in the restaurant’s kitchen.

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Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Good morning on this refrigerated Tuesday.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we have food on the brain.

And as we dust off our aprons this week, we wanted to talk to one of the city’s top chefs for our occasional series on the careers of successful New Yorkers.

It would be hard to find a more celebrated cuisinier at the moment than Daniel Humm, 41, the chef and co-owner of Eleven Madison Park in the Flatiron district. The restaurant has a four-star review from The Times and was awarded first place on this year’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which polls international chefs and critics.

Before dinner service kicked off at Eleven Madison Park on a recent weeknight, we sat down with Mr. Humm and asked for advice from a life spent in the kitchen. (His responses have been edited down.)

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How does someone get started in your field?

I think culinary school can be the right path, but only if someone comes from a background where their parents have money or they will not have student loans. Some of our best chefs never went to culinary schools.

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What is the most important quality in a chef?

Passion. It’s not about talent. It’s about education, hard work and passion. In German the word for passion is “leidenschaft” and it sort of means suffering, or to enjoy suffering, or be willing to suffer for it. That’s what passion is. It’s not like a hobby. The German word says it much better: Be willing to suffer or enjoy suffering for it.

What is your best advice to newcomers?

Be patient. At first, cooking is about repetition. We do things over and over and over again, and it takes a person who enjoys that.

Be focused. New York is an amazing place, but it’s also incredibly distracting. There are so many cuisines alone. You could say, hey, I want to learn how to make pizza, or Japanese food is really cool. Or I want to learn how to make French food, or how to bake, or how to make pasta. All these things can be super distracting, and my advice is, just focus on what you want to be the best at.

Don’t jump around. Think about what you want and then pick the restaurant that fits that, and stay there for two, three or four years. When I look at chefs who stayed somewhere for a long time, I see them much more evolved.

How do you become a top chef?

Cooking is a craft. To learn a craft, it’s not about creating at first. There is a right way to do a consommé, a stock, searing meat, or making an omelet. Every great chef starts by being a great craftsman — making that perfect omelet or making that perfect roast chicken. And then at some point creativity becomes a part of it. You start from a place of rules, and then you start breaking them.

Here’s what else is happening:

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Warm croissants and toasted bagels will taste extra delicious today.

It’s going to feel below freezing with the wind this morning, but hang in there — it should climb to 46.

The rest of the week is looking a touch warmer.

In the News

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has amassed more campaign contributions than any Democratic politician in America, a vast majority of them from donations larger than $1,000. [New York Times]

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Since the beginning of 2015, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has raised more than 99 percent of his campaign money from donations larger than $1,000, eschewing the small-donor model that many Democrats have lately used.

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Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

After running a small charity that donates bail money to poor New Yorkers, the program’s founder wants to take the idea nationwide. [New York Times]

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The jury in the federal corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez told the judge that it could not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges. [New York Times]

A white Cornell University student who is said to have called a black student a racial slur and then punched him in the face was charged with a hate crime. [New York Times]

The decision to store unused railroad cars in the Adirondacks has drawn criticism from environmentalists. [New York Times]

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Empty train cars from the Midwest, some of them used to transport oil, are being stored on unused tracks in the Adirondacks in northern New York State.

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Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

A former farm laborer was arrested in Miami over the weekend and charged in the death of a Westchester County socialite. [New York Times]

The author Russell Shorto embarked on a journey across the five boroughs in search of remnants of the American Revolution. [New York Times]

In her first interview since Mayor Bill de Blasio won a second term, the first lady Chirlane McCray reflects on what she regrets about the last four years, and whether she’d ever run for office. [Cosmopolitan]

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A Queens state assemblyman has made a new push to require kosher and halal meals in New York City schools. [CBS]

How one city hospital came up with its distinctive ambulance siren. [WNYC]

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Karma From the Wreckage

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For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.

Coming Up Today

The author Yael Shy will discuss her book “What Now? Meditation For Your Twenties and Beyond,” and will be introduced by Chelsea Clinton, at the N.Y.U. Bookstore in Greenwich Village. 6 p.m. [Free]

A screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” at the Grand Central Library in Midtown. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

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Charlie Chaplin, left, and Jack Oakie, right, in a scene from the classic film satire on Nazi Germany, “The Great Dictator,” from 1940.

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Columbia Pictures, via Associated Press

A discussion about the fight for L.G.B.T. rights around the world at The Center in Greenwich Village. 7 p.m. [Free]

A live taping of Ask Mimi, part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival, at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn. 7:30 p.m. [$15]

Nets host Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (YES).

Alternate-side parking remains in effect until Nov. 23.

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts Entertainment guide.

And Finally …

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What do you want to hear here?

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Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Yesterday we told you about the M.T.A.’s new subway announcements: The phrase “ladies and gentlemen” is out, and conductors will give more detailed descriptions of delays, as well as extra information like tourist sites and reminders for special events.

We asked readers what other changes they would like to hear regarding M.T.A. announcements, and more than 100 responded. Here’s what your neighbors said:

“Please upgrade the subway sound systems so that we could actually hear these improved announcements.”

— Robert Cowen, 77, Fresh Meadows, Queens

“I would like to hear absolutely nothing at all: Silence is golden.”

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— Howard Steiner, 55, Upper East Side

And as for the replacement of “ladies and gentlemen” to be more inclusive, a few offered their thoughts:

“To me, ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ though not particularly offensive, seems silly. How about ‘short-haired people and long-haired people and bald people,’ or ‘introverts and extroverts,’ or whatever? It just seems completely irrelevant to divide the listening public into any categories at all. This is why I don’t call my elementary students ‘boys and girls.’ What possible reason is there to call attention to gender differences when telling people what station is next on the subway, or that it’s time to clean up at school?”

Miriam Sicherman, 45, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

“Hey, I don’t care if they use the word ‘chumps’ to describe us, just make the announcements understandable and correct.”

— Paul Beissel, 69, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here.

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You can find the latest New York Today at nytoday.com.

Correction: November 14, 2017

An earlier version of this article misspelled the given name of the first lady of New York. She is Chirlane McCray, not Shirlane.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/nyregion/new-york-today-a-renowned-chefs-advice-for-beginners.html