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Daniel Humm
CAMPTON PLACE
340 Stockton St.
San Francisco
(415) 955-5555

Biography »

Interview:
Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What or who inspired you to become a chef?
Daniel Humm: My dad is an architect and he wanted me to be an architect too. But he also said that if you find something you like and can be the best at it – that is what you should do. I never cooked at home, but my mom cooked a lot. I learned a lot about ingredients from her.

AB: You took a 3-year culinary apprenticeship at the age of 14, then went on to work at many of Switzerland’s finest 5-star hotels. How did this education help develop your culinary skills?
DH: First I went to work at a hotel and learned all of the basics on the job. I think it is very important to build a foundation before you start being creative. Even now I find myself going back to the basics.

AB: Who are your mentors? What are some of the most important things you’ve learned from them?
DH: Chef Gerard Rabaey of Le Pont de Brent in Switzerland. He taught me that you should give your best every day. Every plate that goes out is important. He taught me the precision of cooking and how to handle ingredients.

AB: What is your philosophy on food and dining?
DH: I’m not looking for new flavor combinations, I am more looking to use flavor combinations that work in a new way. For instance, I grill watermelon and serve it with tomato tartare. I’m more conservative and I like the classics. I think the future of food is not in wild creations.

AB: Which chefs do you consider to be your peers?
DH: Melissa Perrello from the Fifth Floor.

AB: Are there any secret ingredients that you especially like?
DH: Tripe – you don’t see it very often. Oxtail is very rich and has a good flavor. It’s all about how you make them. You need skills to prepare them.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
DH: A Haake Immersion Circulator – a machine that keeps water at an exact temperature.

AB: Is there a culinary technique that you have either created or use in an unusual way?
DH: We use a lot of sous vide. We braise short rib for 42 hours at a very low temperature. Some of the proteins in the beef cook at different temperatures. Sous vide allows you to serve the short ribs medium-rare but still be incredibly tender.

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Daniel Humm
CAMPTON PLACE | San Francisco

Twenty-eight year old Daniel Humm takes his place in the pantheon of star chefs who have commanded the kitchen of Campton Place over the last two decades, including Bradley Ogden, Jan Birnbaum, Todd Humphries and Laurent Manrique. The son of an architect, Humm transferred his innate sense of design and structure to the culinary arena in his teenage years and took a 3-year apprenticeship that put him on a path to working in Switzerland’s’ top restaurants, including Michelin three star Restaurant Pont de Brent and the noted Hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich. Before joining Campton Place, this Swiss-born chef was most recently at Gasthaus zum Gupf in the Swiss Alps, where he developed a flair for contemporary European cuisine. Humm’s approach to cooking, which he has honed at Campton Place, is to take traditional ingredients and flavor combinations and present them in innovative ways using forward-thinking techniques.

 

Sea Urchin Cappuccino with Dungeness Crab
Chef Daniel Humm of Campton Place – San Francisco, SF
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 10 Servings

Ingredients:

    Cauliflower Puree:
  • 500 grams pureed cauliflower florets
  • 250 grams whipping cream
  • 3 gelatin sheets
    Crab Salad:
  • 100 grams Dungeness crab meat (cleaned and cooked)
  • 20 grams crème fraîche
  • Chopped tarragon, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Sea Urchin Foam:
  • 30 grams butter
  • 40 grams chopped shallots
  • 50 grams sea urchin roe
  • 20 grams cognac
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 200 grams reduced lobster stock
  • 600 grams cream
  • 100 grams crème fraîche
  • Salt and cayenne, to taste

Method:

For Cauliflower Puree:
Cook the tops of cauliflower in salt water until very soft. Strain and blend until very smooth in a blender. Cool down. Heat a little of the puree with the bloomed gelatin sheets and add back to the puree. Add whipping cream. Season to taste.

For Crab Salad:
Combine all ingredients and season to taste.

For Sea Urchin Foam:
Sweat shallots in butter. Add sea-urchin roe and flambé with cognac. Add lime juice and reduce by half. Add lobster stock and reduce by half again. Add cream and bring it up to boil. Add crème fraîche. Season to taste. Cool mixture slightly and then pour into a nitrous oxide whipped cream charger and charge with one charger.

To Serve:
Fill the cauliflower puree into the bottom of martini glasses. Add crab salad and finish with foam.

 

Wine Pairing:
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé

 

Interview Cont'd
AB: What is your favorite question to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
DH: I ask them why they want to work here to determine what they know about this property and me. I also ask how long they have stayed in the positions they have had.

AB: What tips would you offer young chefs just getting started?
DH: Be careful where you choose to work. Stay with a chef for 2-3 years before moving on. Work as many stations with the chef as you can. It is important to understand why creations are what they are.

AB: What are some of your favorite cookbooks?
DH: Alain Ducasse’s Grand Livre de Cuisine, and Ferran Adria’s El Bulli 1998-2002.

AB: What cities do you like for culinary travel?
DH: Barcelona, Spain – they live a great life, eat great food and it comes from the heart.

AB: What trends do you see emerging in the restaurant industry now?
DH: We don’t sear that often anymore. Most things we do are at low temperatures, 3 ingredients on the plate with every one having a purpose.

AB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
DH: I want to be in a place where quality is the highest priority. And eventually I want my own place.


   Published: October 2005

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