Trevor Moran to play key part in building a new Noma

The Dubliner is returning to Denmark to work in René Redzepi’s new restaurant


It took a juicy offer to lure Dubliner Trevor Moran out of his job as head chef at the Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tennessee. René Redzepi dangled just the thing in front of him several months back when the chef quietly briefed Moran on plans for his former home: Copenhagen restaurant Noma.

“There’s no other job I’d leave Catbird for,” Moran said on the phone from Tennessee where he said it was so hot even his elbows were sweating.

But Moran will leave the American South to head back to the cold North early next year when Redzepi begins work on a derelict site in the Christiania district of the Danish capital, where they will start their own farm and build a new Noma.

Redzepi named Moran, who worked as a sous chef in Noma for four years before leaving for the United States, as a key part of the next stage.

“The position is going to be fully ironed out,” Moran said. “I suppose I’m an old fart now [he’s 35] so it’ll be in some kind of management role,” he said.

Moran never went to catering college, but started cheffing in Dublin’s Brasserie na Mara and worked for Dylan McGrath in Mint before leaving to travel. He arrived in Noma in 2009 as an unpaid stagiaire and made it up to sous chef two years later.

In 2013 he moved to Nashville where he took over as head chef at the Catbird Seat at the end of the year. The name comes from a James Thurber short story, meaning an enviable position, where things come easy. It’s a second-floor restaurant on Division Street near Nashville’s Music Row where diners sit on bar stools at a u-shaped chefs’ table counter and watch chefs prepare their food.

“From day one I completely changed the menu into what I thought I wanted to do at the time,” Moran said.

He was amazed at the larder of ingredients the US could offer. “From Portland, Oregon, at 5pm I can order a whole fresh sturgeon from a farm and it arrives the next morning.” Local farmers have started producing food for the restaurant.

And their beef is amazing, he said. An unexpected snowy snap in February saw their small duck producer bringing all the ducks upstairs to her bathroom.

And the next chapter? “I’m really excited to get into it flavour wise and food wise. Creating food and flavours and doing it sustainably – it’s all that and also things just being delicious.”