Noma Will Keep Changing Everything

Noma is still changing everybody’s idea of food. And in the process, the city of Copenhagen is transformed from a gastronomic outskirt of Europe to a world class dining city.

On Monday, April 29, 2013 in London, René Redzepi handed over the first place in San Pellegrino’s “Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards” to the three Spanish brothers from El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Still holding the second place in the awards after three consecutive years in the first spot, Noma continues to change food thinking around the world.

The massive impact and success of Noma and its young charismatic founder Rene Redzepi is due to the fact that Noma is much more than a restaurant. It is the epicenter of a global movement among chefs turning their attention back to nature. Every year, the most creative food minds of the planet converge in a circus tent on the Copenhagen docks to debate and share creative visions on how to build a better food culture, and how to use the attention of chefs to promote sustainability and social responsibility at the MAD symposiums – a world food event started by Rene Redzepi and Noma. This year the theme will be “guts,” when chefs meet on August 25 and 26, to focus on how to take cooking one step further.

“Noma is more than a restaurant; it’s a global message of understanding the wild and a love of nature. And it’s a revolution in Denmark and the entire region,” French-Danish top chef Francis Cardeneau explains, pointing out the fact, that in a middle of a recession, the restaurants in the small nation of Denmark created almost 5,000 new jobs last year, and that the entire restaurant sector has had an 18 percent increase in turnover since 2008 – the first year of the global economic collapse. Because of the dining experiences of the city, Copenhagen is among the fastest growing tourism-cities in the world.

Francis Cardeneau, being one of the fathers of the Nordic gastronomic revolution and the first to receive two Michelin stars in the Nordic region, is a mentor to many in the young and über-talented groups of outstanding chefs in Denmark. He believes there is no way of understating the importance of Noma, both as an international inspiration, and as a cultural phenomenon. “The fact that Noma is keeping a top level, and has done so for so long, has made the restaurant much more than an award winning restaurant – It shapes everyone’s idea of food and nature. I can see the impact they have on a whole international generation, rethinking the relationship between food and nature.”

The restaurant is also changing its home city of Copenhagen: “Now Copenhagen is mentioned, for example, by chefs like Anthony Bourdain as one of the top places to eat in the world, along with New York or Paris. That would never have happened without Rene Redzepi and Noma. They have raised the bar, the level of ambition, and the overall quality of almost every kitchen in town. You have to perform at a very high level to be competitive in Copenhagen,” Francis says, pointing to a new, second wave of world-class restaurants in Copenhagen.

“There are a lot of people coming out of the Noma kitchen that are very talented and who chose Copenhagen as a place to work with food because there is an educated audience.” Francis explains, pointing among those to former sous chef at Noma, Matt Orlando who is leaving the restaurant, to start his Amass restaurant. Two other former sous chefs Christian Puglisi and Claus Henriksen, are working wonders with restaurants at Relæ and Dragsholm Castle, and places like Kadeau and Geranium are all performing on an absolutely world class level. “There is a whole wave of restaurants coming out of the movement started by René Redzepi,” Francis says. “We have only begun to see the impact of the Nordic revolution. You can see the impact of the Nordic breakthrough in gastronomy in every supermarket now. Noma will keep changing everything.”

Copenhagen is now just a direct flight away from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) with the launch of a new route by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). For information on the new direct flights from SAS or to plan your trip to Copenhagen, please visit www.visitdenmark.com/usa, www.visitcopenhagen.com and www.flysas.com/us.