Noma, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s best restaurants, is to shut at the end of 2024, according to its founder, René Redzepi. The chef, who has been described as the most brilliant and influential of his era, has told the New York Times that Noma will instead become a food laboratory, developing dishes and products for Noma Projects, its ecommerce business, and that its dining rooms will open only for occasional pop-ups. Redzepi will become something closer to chief creative officer than chef, he says.
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The New York Times points out that the Copenhagen restaurant, whose current menu includes grilled reindeer heart on a bed of fresh pine, and saffron ice cream in a beeswax bowl, has transformed fine dining: a new global class of gastro tourists schedule first-class flights and entire holidays around the privilege of paying at least €450 a person for its tasting menu, the newspaper says.
Noma has been named the world’s best restaurant a record five times, winning in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2021. It has closed once before, in 2016, after which it reappeared as a pop-up in Australia, Japan and Mexico before moving to a new location in Copenhagen and relaunching in 2018.
Redzepi says the economics of paying nearly 100 employees fairly, while maintaining high standards, at prices that customers will pay, is unworkable, according to the New York Times. “We have to completely rethink the industry ... This is simply too hard, and we have to work in a different way.”
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The 45-year-old, who has been cooking professionally for 30 years, says outstanding commitments and the construction of Noma Projects – its new production facility will have between 60 and 70 full-time employees, the New York Times reports – are the reasons why the change will not take effect for nearly two years. “I hope we can prove to the world that you can grow old and be creative and have fun in the industry – instead of hard, gruelling, low-paid work under poor management conditions that wears people out.”