One of the world’s most celebrated restaurants will be in Sydney for a two-week residency in June, headlining Vivid’s inaugural Vivid Food program.

The three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, and its chef-owner, Daniel Humm, will take over the kitchen of harbourside restaurant Aria for 14 days. The US team will work alongside Aria’s culinary team, including its executive chef Matt Moran and head chef Thomas Gorringe.

Both teams will prepare two menus: a nine-course tasting dinner menu and a shorter lunch option. It won’t be cheap, setting punters back $550, or $395 if you’re dining during the day. A beverage pairing will be additional.

As at the New York restaurant, the menu will be plant-based, but Humm says it’ll incorporate produce from New South Wales.

“We could not be more thrilled to participate in Vivid Sydney and bring Eleven Madison Park to the iconic Aria Restaurant,” he said in a statement. “This year’s [Vivid] theme of ‘naturally’ closely resonates with our core values and journey as a restaurant. We’re excited to delve into New South Wales’ fresh and local ingredients to bring a creative, beautiful and delicious menu to life with Chef Matt and his team. So much of what we eat is part of our identity, and we look forward to sharing our language of food.”

While Eleven Madison Park is highly awarded – it took the top honour at the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards and was the first vegan restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars – it has courted controversy, including allegations of treating staff badly and food waste.

Humm announced in 2021 that Eleven Madison Park would no longer serve opulent meats and seafood and would go completely vegan, surprising many people. “The current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways,” Humm said at the time

The results have not always been successful. In 2021, the New York Times food critic Pete Wells said a beetroot served by the restaurant tasted like “Lemon Pledge and smells like a burning joint”.

This is the first time Sydney’s winter festival Vivid will include a food program as part of its line-up. Other international names include Rishi Naleendra from Singapore’s two-Michelin-starred Cloudstreet, and Cape Town’s Mmabatho Molefe, who was one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 50 Next hospitality pioneers in 2022. Singapore-based Aussie Dave Pynt from Burnt Ends will also be here, as will a number of high-profile local chefs such as Mitch Orr and Danielle Alvarez.

This residency announcement follows another for Aria. The three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay will also take over the harbourside eatery on May 8, 9 and 10 (sold out).

The Eleven Madison Park Aria residency begins June 6.


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