top of page

One of the city's most acclaimed restaurants goes (mostly) vegan

JACK STONE TRUITT, HOST: One of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants is going meatless. Earlier this week, 11 Madison Park announced it will stop serving meat and seafood when it reopens in June. The menu will be free of animal products, except milk and honey for tea and coffee. This is a radical shift for the world of fine dining filled with foie gras and caviar. It also could be the start of a bigger trend for an industry looking to cater to consumers more conscious of the impact meat has on the climate and their health.

Rick Camac is Dean of restaurant and hospitality management for the Institute of Culinary Education. Rick, thank you for joining us

RICK CAMAC: My Pleasure.

TRUITT: How big of a deal is this for the restaurant world?

CAMAC: It's a really big deal. I think it was completely unexpected unless you were really an insider in the know, they're obviously, you know, putting a stake in the ground and saying, you know, we are committed to this, and it's a big deal. And I think it will influence restaurant decisions going forward.

TRUITT: What kind of influence could this have on other restaurants switching to a plant-based menu given its status in the dining world?

CAMAC: Well, It's going to influence others that are thinking about going in that direction, or was sort of going in that direction. I mean, you know, in our own school, we started a plant-based program a couple of years ago, that's going gangbusters. So, you know, it's a direction that everyone's thinking about, And this kind of puts it over the top when, when a restaurant of that level with that prestige, puts that stake in the ground that's going to make others think, and others are definitely going to follow suit, it's going to happen.

TRUITT: And you mentioned a plant-based course at the academy that's now being offered that's popular.


TRUITT: What is behind the interest from a chef's perspective of plant based cuisine?

CAMAC: I think, to some degree, there are people that are doing it, because they just, you know, it's animal rights, they just feel that it's the right thing to do. They're taking a political stance, I think there's people that are doing it purely for health-based, I think some people are doing it for profit-based. I think some people just truly believe that it's just a healthier way to go and a better way for them to eat and live their lives and, and they believe heavily in it. And, you know, time will tell whether this is a trend or not. I mean, it's a direction that we're going in, that's probably here to stay,

TRUITT: And is there any historical comparison to a major restaurant making a shift of this kind, be it, you know, to a vegan food or some other change to their menu?

CAMAC: To be perfectly honest, I can't think of one. I really can't. This is probably the most significant change from a restaurant of that stature that I can think of since I've been in the business, which is, you know, 20 plus years. It's significant. This is this is a big deal. It's super interesting. And it'll be fun to watch it play out.

TRUITT: And is there anything else you think that's important for people to know about this story?

CAMAC: This is going to be an interesting change. You know, whether this becomes a turning point. I mean, there was the slow foods movement has been other movements over time, the vegetarian movement. There has been movements over time that have created significant shifts in history. The question is going to become this is going to be another one. Is this going to put vegan over the top and the next you know, 20% of restaurants that open are going to be vegan restaurants. That's what's going to be interesting to see.

TRUITT: Rick Camac is Dean of restaurant and hospitality management for the Institute of Culinary Education. Rick, thank you so much for your time.

CAMAC: My pleasure. Nice talking to you.


bottom of page