It’s that march through the institutions again

Claridge’s three Michelin star chef Daniel Humm has dramatically parted ways with the Mayfair hotel in a row over his attempt to give the restaurant a vegan makeover.

The chef was lobbying for a meat-free future at the helm of Davies and Brook, the five-star hotel’s prestigious restaurant and his first outlet in London.

Talks were under way to overhaul the establishment’s menu, famed for its foie gras, roasted venison and dry-aged duck, after the 45-year-old axed meat from his “world-best” New York restaurant to make it fully vegan.

Claridge’s told The Telegraph on Friday that its culinary offering was under review, “including the possible introduction of a fully plant-based menu”.

But on Friday night the row came to a head as Mr Humm confirmed he was leaving the hotel after just two years, insisting that “the future for me is plant-based”.

It’s that old thing again. Sure, you want to do it a new way? Go do it a new way. But why insist on trying to takeover the previous infrastructure instead of building anew?

19 thoughts on “It’s that march through the institutions again”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    On a side note. I see the Free Speech Union is advertising for an events coordinator because they are a growing organisation.

    I wonder how long it will be before the Borg take notice and start to assimilate them?

  2. “But why insist on trying to takeover the previous infrastructure instead of building anew?”

    Because building something new and making it work takes much more competence than taking something that works and running it into the ground?

  3. “But why insist on trying to takeover the previous infrastructure instead of building anew?”

    It’s Milton Friedman’s 4 ways to spend money.

    Building anew is hard. You have to find people who will put their own money into your project or venture capitalists. In both cases you are close to the people who will personally get poorer by doing it. Institutions (whether large, ageing corporations, charities or government) have people who can waste money because they’re so far from the owners.

  4. SadButMad, sorry, it was a rhetorical question. These people made lots of noise to get what they wanted from traditional restaurants (in the name of ‘equality’, natch) but it doesn’t appear to go the other way. The old ‘ratchet effect’ in evidence once again.

  5. Do we know of any vegan / vegetarian restaurants that offer a ‘meat based’ option?

    I seem to recall that a few months ago there was such a scandal – vegan and New York if my memory serves me well.

  6. I have it in mind to start a zero carbon restaurant. Very high class, lots of napery to enchant the Michelin inspectors. Perhaps I’ll call it The Emperor’s.

  7. Dear Mr Worstall

    The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field

    Isaiah 40:6

    Eat your fill, vegan.


  8. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    I’ve eaten in two Michelin-starred vegan restaurants. It’s mostly beautifully presented oversalted nut paste.

    Euro vegan chefs need to take a trip to a Taipei buffet for inspiration.

  9. I have a relative who works as a chef. Starting your own restaurant is a good way of losing a million pounds. It is a bit like the old adage of the music business:

    How do you make a million pounds in the music business? First you start with two million pounds.

  10. Actually, the very New York restaurant referred to was busted for claiming to be vegan, but having a VIP room serving filet mignon …

  11. Ah, an “eat easy”. All the virtue points of looking vegan without the pain of being vegan. I would guess it will become more popular.

    And there’s big money to be made in restauranting. Really big if you are world class. Some of the money comes from the flow on merchandise, true, but people make millions.

    What it always is, is back-breaking hard work. Stressful with antisocial hours.

    (For a restaurant to lose big money, it needs to be competing at the very top end, which is cut throat. Immigrants traditionally use restaurants as a way to work their way up, precisely because they require little capital.)

  12. It’s not surprising…

    It’s entirely possible to make delicious dishes on a full-vegetarian principle. The asians do it as a matter of fact because it’s part of their culture. Medieval/renaissance Europe had dishes that were full-vegetarian deemed suitable to be presented to kings and princes.
    There really is a ton of Good Nosh around from all over the world’s cultures that has no animal in it whatshowever.

    Quite fun to make them at festivals as well when you have to feed a group with all the usual modern sensitivities, real or imagined. And you can always dump a bit of animal on the plate along with it, after all..
    No better compliment for a cook than to only hear *nomf* noises for 5 minutes after serving..

    But Veganism isn’t about Good Nosh. It’s about Sackcloth-and-Ashes virtue signalling. And as such has no place in a proper restaurant.
    Especially one that pretty much exist to allow rich people to show off that they can afford/have the Connections to actually get a table there.

  13. Bury the POS chef under a flower-bed outside a decent restaurant. That will be the best “plant-based future” possible for a POS commie kitchen-hand.

  14. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)


    Indian vegetarian food is nommable because we throw tons of variously fermented/processed animal secretions in it.

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