Rene Redzepi, the world’s most talked about chef, is making the news yet again. A couple of days ago, the New York Times ran with the story that Redzepi is all set to close his two Michelin starred Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen. As the clock rings midnight on New Year’s Eve 2016, champagne corks will be popped to mark a new year – and the end of one particular era for this landmark restaurant based on Redzepi’s modern interpretation of Nordic cuisine. But all is not lost.
Apparently, so the article tells us, in 2017 Redzepi plans to launch a state of the art open farm on disused land, and with it, a new incarnation of Noma. His vision is to have his own farm to supply ingredients for his menu. The location he has chosen is not a pretty picture currently, with a dilapidated graffiti covered building and wasteground around it. But the chef told the New York Times he plans to create a greenhouse on the roof and a field floating on a raft. Among other things.
But before that happens, the Noma website states that the Copenhagen restaurant will close it’s doors and transfer to Sydney, Australia, at the start of 2016. The relocation will involve the entire team, lock stock and barrel, as well as spouses and children. The flavours of Copenhagen will be left behind for the ingredients of Australia, and as Redzepi says in his announcement on the website ‘how will we replace the winter beet with a coconut?’ This is the second time the restaurant has relocated. It went previously to Tokyo and when the team returned they were, according to Redzepi ‘more lifted than ever.’ Noma will return to Copehagen in May 2016, ready for it’s swansong performance in it’s present form and location.
Opened in 2003, Noma has achieved success upon success. Redzepi is a world leader in food, the chef other chefs look to for inspiration. The name Noma comes from the combination of the words Nordic and Mad (in food terms). This has certainly rung true. Redzepi has broken boundaries, gone where others feared to tread. The 18 course menu on the Noma website currently comes in at 1700 Danish Krone per person – that’s €227.84 to you! Dishes progresses through light apetizers – Fresh Berries with Lemon Thyme, Oland Wheat with Virgin Butter, and Cabbage with Whitecurrants, to fish dishes – Mahogonay clams and grains, Monkfish liver, Lobster and Nasturtium, then follows through to Roasted Bone Marrow, rounded off with desserts like Rhubarb with Sheep Milk Yogurt and Forest flavour, chocolate and egg liqueur. These are only examples – , this menu is not static. Still this is not enough to keep Redzepi happy in his work. In the autumn, his progressive tasting menu will be replaced with a menu focussing solely on game. In winter it will be fish and seafood from cold Nordic waters. Summer of next year brings an all vegetarian cast as the bounty of produce increases. This chef is turning things upside down yet again and the whole world and its Aunt will be talking about it! Who knows what form Noma will take when it has it’s own farm? But we do know Redzepi has roped in Dubliner Trevor Moran, formerly of The Catbird Seat Nashville, to return to Noma where he was once sous chef. Moran will work closely with Redzepi in the coming months, to devise and create new menus.
Is Redzepi an enigma, a powerful sorcerer of fine food – or a clever marketeer of his own particlar style? It could be said he is both, in equal measure. His seeking of new challenges serves to keep his followers interested, and the rest of the culinary world teetering on its toes – which in turn keeps the reservations rolling in. If you fancy going to Noma in Copenhagen, bookings are now being taken on the website for tables from now till December 2015. The reservations system will not reopen again until the start of 2016.