My personal style signifier is clean, white Nike Air Force 1 trainers. These are my one constant and I switch them out frequently. They work with my neutral uniform of white, grey and black T-shirts and jeans, and are comfortable in the kitchen too. From £79.95;

Humm in the kitchen at Claridge’s
Humm in the kitchen at Claridge’s © Harry Mitchell

The last thing I bought and loved was a pair of black Salomon hiking boots. They weren’t terribly expensive and they give me such pleasure. They’re super‑comfortable, safe and waterproof, so I use them for weekend hikes, everywhere from Aspen to Sun Valley to Switzerland. $165;

Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD World Cup mountain bike
Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD World Cup mountain bike

On my wishlist is a Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD World Cup mountain bike. I want to use this sleek black design for cycling in California and in the Palisades, just outside New York City. $11,000; 

The last music I downloaded was Anima by Thom Yorke. All our restaurants have musical inspiration – Miles Davis for Eleven Madison Park, The Rolling Stones for The NoMad and Radiohead for Davies and Brook. When I was first working in the Claridge’s kitchen 27 years ago, I was listening to Radiohead’s first album, Pablo Honey, and Yorke’s music has been the soundtrack to my career. 

Samode Haveli in Jaipur
Samode Haveli in Jaipur

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is India. I spent six weeks there – a lot of it in Jaipur and Udaipur – and it was life-changing. Everything is different: the weather, the food, the smells, the architecture, the spirituality. I stayed at Samode Haveli, which felt very of the place, and practised yoga and meditation. The crowded markets, people dressed in vibrant colours, the cows and monkeys in the streets… I was out of my comfort zone, but in the best – very freeing – way.

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is the Kangaroo chair by Pierre Jeanneret that I found in Chandigarh. This city, designed by Le Corbusier, is spectacular, and the chair is not only a great piece of design – it also serves as a memento of a special, transformative trip. It now sits in my living room in New York.

The South Kensington Club
The South Kensington Club

A recent “find” is the South Kensington Club in London. You can get a day pass, and the Russian banya – a sauna with steam – is incredible. There’s a traditional treatment where they beat you with branches, plunge you into cold water and then feed you honey. The experience lasts two hours and leaves you feeling incredibly energised.

The grooming staple I’m never without is Tom’s of Maine spearmint toothpaste. It’s whitening and contains no artificial flavours or preservatives, and it’s pretty much my go-to no matter where my travels take me.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Brat in east London, a fun place with a casual vibe where they use serious, high-quality ingredients. It’s inspired by Basque cuisine. I had the signature whole roasted turbot from the charcoal grill, as well as perfect anchovies and roasted greens. They also serve a Spanish burnt cheesecake that’s cooked in a wood oven and is not to be missed – it’s incredible.

Mick Jagger with then wife Bianca
Mick Jagger with then wife Bianca © Getty Images

My style icon is Mick Jagger. He is just totally cool and has always been ahead of the times, playing fearlessly with fashion. He isn’t afraid to express himself through his clothes.

My favourite room in my house is my library, which holds my book collection. It has a Donald Judd table and a pair of Pierre Jeanneret Library chairs that I love, and it’s a very creative, light-filled space. I often draw in here…

The best gift I’ve given recently was a birthday dinner for 20 people, cooked by me, for a very special friend. This was something that they couldn’t buy, and I know all their favourite dishes, so the menu was vegetable-focused.

A note from Humm’s daughters
A note from Humm’s daughters © Harry Mitchell

And the best gift I’ve received recently was a card given to me by my two daughters Colette and Vivienne, who are eight and nine years old. It was an origami-like envelope that they made and filled with sweet notes… Hard to beat that!

The artists whose work I would collect if I could are Mark Rothko and Agnes Martin. I feel like Rothko is a mirror of oneself; his work brings out the viewer’s emotions and, depending on my mood, his paintings either make me melancholy or lift my spirits. Agnes Martin’s work is very architectural in feel and that resonates with me. Her subtle paintings are about memory, beauty, feeling…

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a dark suede bomber jacket from Prada that I bought in Zürich to wear with jeans and a T-shirt at any time of year.

Humm’s Prada suede jacket
Humm’s Prada suede jacket © Harry Mitchell

I have a collection of books, particularly those devoted to cooking, architecture and design. From old and antique to beautiful new art books, I have amassed too many to count over the past 30 years, and they fill my shelves in both New York and Switzerland.

My wellbeing gurus are the teachers at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York. I have been going there three or four times a week for the past 10 years, and it has changed my health. It’s a very serious, rigid practice – it’s not about being cool, and there is no chit-chat. I also rely on my acupuncturist, Ted Dugas, who is a total body savant. Ted Dugas, +1917-750 7966.

Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut
Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

In my fridge you’ll always find Siggi’s yoghurt, berries, coconut water and kombucha. I am also a fan of fresh celery juice, so that’s always on hand, as are organic eggs and Gruyère for omelettes. I like champagne, so I usually have a bottle of Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut on hand as well.

The gadget I couldn’t do without is my iPhone. I am never on a computer, but I use this as an alarm clock, for keeping my calendar, for photos and emails, navigation, weather, WhatsApp, and for social media. I’d be lost without it.

An indulgence I would never forgo is really good sushi. I love Japan, but if I can’t get there, then Sushi Noz in New York is the next best thing. It is mesmerising to have the finest chefs in the world create an omakase meal for you for almost three hours. It’s such a privilege to see an artist working at this level.

An object I would never part with is hard to identify. I’m not really very attached to any one material item.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Mayfair in London. I’ve been spending a lot of time there recently and I love Gieves & Hawkes in particular. The whole experience of getting suits made there is incredible. DR Harris in St James’s Street is wonderful for all kinds of creams and soaps, and Heywood Hill is the best for antiquarian books. And after an afternoon of shopping, nothing beats the tea and scones with clotted cream and Marco Polo gelée at Claridge’s.

Gieves & Hawkes in Mayfair
Gieves & Hawkes in Mayfair

My favourite apps are Citi Bike for getting around New York, and See Saw for navigating contemporary art galleries in cities around the world. It allows you to track openings and favourite artists and even produces a little map with all the galleries in a particular area.

If I didn’t live in New York, I would live in Kyoto. There is a sensitivity in all things here: architecture, nature, where the food comes from, and the people are so gentle and respectful. The temples are amazing: the Katsura Rikyu, Kokedera – or the Moss Temple – and Tofukuji, with its beautiful trees, are among the most sublime. The Ryoan-ji zen rock garden is another super-spiritual place full of stone sculptures, and I’m very happy at Tawaraya Ryokan where you can sleep on the floor in woodland surroundings. Kyoto is famous for kaiseki – multi-course haute cuisine – and Nishikawa is simply the best. Katsura Rikyu, Kokedera, Nishikawa, Ryoan-ji, Tawaraya Ryokan, +8175-211 5566. Tofukuji,

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article


Comments have not been enabled for this article.