So for the new Eleven Madison Park, he hung an Ackermann chalkboard painting — “an incredible platform for learning, creating, erasing and new beginnings,” he wrote on Instagram. And he welcomes visitors with an installation by Mr. Turner, who melted down about 1,000 pounds of the restaurant’s old kitchen fixtures and turned them into a step on the entry staircase. Mr. Humm got a takeout version, which he keeps on his dining table at home: a solid metal bar made of melted “knives, pots, stove and meat grinder,” he said.
He moved into the rental apartment — stark white walls, lovely moldings — at the beginning of the year. “I never thought in a million years that I would live on the Upper East Side, but I love it,” Mr. Humm said. “It’s easy to go for a run.” He’s participating in the TCS New York City Marathon in November.
Before he headed down to Eleven Madison Park for the day, Mr. Humm talked less-is-more philosophy at home. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Is there an explicit link between art and food for you?
My dad is an architect. I was always drawn to Minimalism, and that really has affected my cooking. One of my most important art moments came when I was 20. I saw a series of drawings Picasso did of a bull, a study in subtraction, and in the end you have just four lines. That changed my life, seeing that.
How does that translate to the plate?
I’ve been cooking for 26 years, and it was only two years ago that I created a dish that made me feel, “I did it.” It was a dish of two ingredients, celery root and truffle. [It’s cooked in a pig’s bladder.]
Any other artists who are influential? I know you’re famous for “white” dishes.
I love the monochromatic. Lucio Fontana, when I saw his retrospective at the Guggenheim, that was moving. One of my favorite artists is Robert Ryman — his whole life he was troubled by using color. He tried to figure out a way not to use it.
This Daniel Turner glass piece has pride of place in the living room.
He inspires me a lot. He’s based in Brooklyn, but I first saw him when I was in Berlin at a gallery show. For one work [“Particle Processed Cafeteria”], he bought a cafeteria, ground it into a powder, dissolved the powder into liquid, and then he sprayed that liquid onto the floor. It left a beautiful rust stain.
Is it awkward to collect him and be his close friend, too?
The thing that interests me most is artists who are alive, and I don’t collect from a living artist that I don’t really like, as a person. Life is too short.