René Redzepi, chef of what is widely known as one of the best restaurants in the world, talks about its closure and transformation into an urban farm
When René Redzepi announced this week that he's closing down his restaurant Noma – arguably one of the world's most influential eateries – to reopen it as an urban farm, there were a whole lot of gasps.
With a level of acclaim bred running a restaurant that's internationally renowned for reinventing Nordic cuisine, and where a coveted table needs to be booked three months in advance, the main question on everyone's lips was: why go rocking the boat?
But Redzepi – the chef who's vision shot the establishment to the top of everyone's 'restaurant bucket list' – has put out a video and essay explaining why New Year's Eve 2016 will be his last ever service in the current premises in Denmark.
Writing for Lucky Peach, Redzepi detailed the motive behind the move. Despite being incredibly innovative and working solely with local ingredients, he said, the menu had remained relatively rigid through Denmark's very distinctive seasons.
As such, this new farm-based incarnation will move with the months in a seriously dramatic way. Winter, when the land is cold and barren, will cause the restaurant to look to the ocean and serve only fish. Spring and summer will be vegetarian, making the most of the green shoots and leaves that grow abundantly. Autumn will see the chefs looking to the forest: foraging mushrooms, seasonal berries and game.
The new space for Noma, described by The New York Times as looking like "an auditorium-size crack den", needs a whole lot of work doing to it. Opening in 2017, the plan is to have a greenhouse on the roof, a floating field atop a raft in water and a full-time farmer and staff to tend to crops.
Inspired by chef Dan Barber, who's Manhatten restaurant Blue Hill has its own mid-size farm, the idea is to be entirely dictated by the natural world rather than forcing culinary ideas onto it.
A risky idea? Certainly. But a brave and exciting one, too. We can't wait to see what comes out of that kitchen …
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