Today, restaurant Noma was announced the World’s number one restaurant. Tonight chef René Redzepi is being celebrated in London. Last year I was interviewing René a couple of times for the book I am working on. He has rediscovered Scandinavian food culture and reinvented what it is. And when I say invented I do mean it. It’s a creative and innovative place that dares to stand by it’s beliefs and tries to challenge the tastes and opinions of it’s guests. The first mental border they crossed was shedding light on the exotic side of home. When everyone was still looking at France, Italy, Spain, Vietnam, Japan and all the other well known gastronomic territories, Noma began to worship our own terroir.
Noma was number 33 in 2006, number 3 in 2008 and now 806 chefs and restaurant critics has voted René and his team number one. Spanish El Bulli has been number 1 for four years but is now number 2 and and the British restaurant The Fat Duck is number 3. René worked at El Bulli 8 or 9 years ago and now he has overtaken the status of his master Ferran Adrian, he is becoming the most well known chef as he tops the list of Restaurant Magazine. Noma comes from “Nordisk Mad” which means “Nordic Food”. As part of a new movement celebrating nordic food culture, Noma was the first upscale restaurant to rediscover and redefine nordic recipes and food stuffs.
When the founders Claus Meyer and René Redzepi first opened doors six years ago, they were ridiculed by Danish colleagues. “You’ll never get a good job in the business again,” one of the chefs told René back then. “Why would you through away your career like that?”. René was going against all odds and now he’s being celebrated around the World. Noma is the first Danish restaurant to ever receive the title. I have had the pleasure of dining at Noma six or seven times and heard René’s personal story as well as that of the restaurant. It’s no wonder René is winning. Not only because he was awarded “Chef’s choice” last year. Also because of his personal upbringing as a child where he was visiting Macedonia in the summer time, learning and enjoying a more simple food culture than that of Western Europe in the 80’s. As a young chef he was working at the three-star Michelin restaurant El Bulli
under the management of Ferran Adrian and the team of El Bulli famous for innovating and changing what’s possible in a kitchen – one of the methods are known as molecular gastronomy
. I’m not surprised Noma has risen to be number one. It’s one of the authentic organizations that manage to use both the personal, organizational and trade heritage and combine it with new ideas and an innovative way of communicating the concept when you sit at the table. An amazing story in each and every way!
If you’ve been attending one of my lectures or talks, you’ve probably heard me talking about restaurant Noma. You can hear a bit more in a small excerpt from a talk I did last year here
(only in Danish for now).