New York chef turns Michelin-starred eatery into charity kitchen

Stripped of its tablecloths and upscale clientele, the three-Michelin starred Eleven Madison Park in New York City looks lonely.

But in the back, the kitchen is buzzing.

Head chef Daniel Humm washes kale, while members of his kitchen staff prepare tofu and stir corn.

"When this crisis started happening and we had to turn off the lights for a minute, we were a little bit in shock like everyone was."

Humm's eatery was named World's Best Restaurant in 2017, yet in mid-March - like every other restaurant in New York City - Eleven Madison Park was forced to shutter.

Shortly after, Humm realized he wanted to use his resources to help.

That's when he called Matt Jozwiak, who runs Rethink, which transforms restaurant leftovers into dishes for the poor.

Jozwiak started his non profit after working in fine dining and becoming fed up with food waste.

"I was like, it's really important to do something with my skill set that's outside of fine dining that really could affect and change people's lives. But I also, just as a person who's very interested in efficiency, saw that there could be a much better way that we serve people with dignity."

Now, Eleven Madison Park's lights are back on.

Humm's kitchen is now a charity kitchen, where his staff prepares about 3,000 meals a day for frontline workers and underprivileged New Yorkers.

They place the meals inside these cardboard to-go boxes.

And then they're distributed by Rethink at soup kitchens, community centers and churches, like this one in Harlem.

Humm: "I had a person the other day who said, 'Oh my God, this is the best meal I've ever had.' You know, that is really, really touching. And so the work, it's really... it's beautiful work and it gives a higher purpose."

And Humm says the initiative isn't going to stop even when dining in is allowed again.

"No matter how you grew up or where you grew up, food is touching everyone. And so the power of that is so beautiful and it really doesn't matter if you're serving the 1% here or the 10% here, it is that same power and that same beauty and you can touch people in that same way. And for me, I'm excited to go back to a version of what we have been doing at Eleven Madison Park, but incorporating all the work that we're doing now as well. I definitely want to feed people on both spectrum, on both sides."