Most notably, Chef René Redzepi is the founder, creative mind and trailblazer behind the World’s Best Restaurant “Noma”. He founded Noma restaurant in November 2003, when he was only 24 years old and after working under some of the best Michelin chefs at the most iconic restaurants in the world – including El Bulli in Spain, The French Laundry in California and most notably Kong Hans Kælder in Copenhagen.
He was approached during his time at Kong Hans Kælder by investor Claus Meyer, who offered Redzepi the life-changing opportunity to begin his true food dream. The young, creative and extremely ambitious chef took a chance and made a restaurant that now holds more Michelin stars than the iconic Kong Hans Kælder he once worked for.
Rene Redzepi’s “Noma” Restaurant
After Chef René Redzepi was approached in 2003 to start a new restaurant with fellow entrepreneur Claus Meyer, he came up with the concept that earned Noma its esteemed titles and world fame that it has today. The idea of dedicating an entire seasonal menu to the one ingredient that is at its prime during those months. Not only was the food incredibly creative and gobsmackingly delicious – but the ambience, decor and architecture always remained true to the chef’s Danish roots, making it a tourist attraction and a proud monument for Danish cuisine.
Noma restaurant has been voted by the 50 Best Restaurants the “Number One Restaurant in the world” an impressive 5 times, along with being on the top 5 list for a consecutive decade. In 2016 when Noma had reached its peak, Redzepi decided to take the plunge and move Noma to a new location and reconceptualize.
After a 2 year-long closure, they reopened in 2018 – Noma 2.0 was born on the outskirts of Copenhagen, looking out onto the lakes of Christiania. Instead of being limited by city surroundings, the Noma restaurant now has a large piece of land where they invite their guests to journey through the seasons and see where the ingredients are grown.
The architecture is designed for movement and growth. Chef René has expressed that the glass and wood panelling can be easily moved and restructured to allow creative freedom and readjustment whenever he begins to feel limited or bored. In the summer season, the menu is simply centred around vegetables picked from the garden and handled with the utmost care. The reconceptualizing of Noma finally earned the restaurant three Michelin stars in 2021, and it earned the title of World’s Best Restaurant for 2021 once again.
Redzepi’s Culinary Journey
Over the last decade and a half, Chef René Redzepi’s career has been completely centred around his esteemed restaurant, Noma. However, the young chef began his food journey by working at a local Michelin star restaurant of the time called Pierre André and eventually began working at more well-known establishments like Jardin de Sens and Kong Hans Kælder.
Kong Hans Kælder had a huge impact on the creativity and innovative ideas that drove Redezpi straight into the success he accumulated. With a strong influence on “New Nordic” cuisine, Noma is most famous for its seasonal menu that heroes a singular theme that rotates throughout the year. This way of dining has a strongly Scandanavian feel, as the temperate and extreme weather conditions dominate what’s readily available to restaurants – something chef René picked up on during his early days working under other Danish chefs.
Redzepi also learned additional techniques of foraging and dedicating time and patience to seasonal growth patterns from where he grew up in Macedonia. He refers back to this time of his life fondly and expresses how his upbringing ignited his passion and commitment to incredible food that is mostly plant-based.
Redzepi’s Published Work
Many fans of the great Danish chef want to get an inside look into the revolutionary and undeniably creative mind of chef René, which is why he has a plethora of published books readily available for all those who want to take in the conceptual importance of seasonal cooking.
“Noma: a Guide to ferments” is a handy guidebook where Chef René talks about the age-old process of fermentation for sustainability and flavour. He goes on to express his love for these methods as they’ve assisted him in building the dishes at Noma restaurant. He takes inspiration from fermentation from all across the globe, not only from the Nordic region – in order to get the widest range of flavour profiles with the most amount of body.
The Noma cookbook titled “Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine” was named the most important cookbook of the year when it was released in 2010 by the Wall Street Journal. The cookbook is a beautifully curated hardcover filled with visual and written pleasures to tell a story about a cuisine that may often go unnoticed. It revolutionized how people view Nordic cuisine and will remain an essential work to add to any cookbook collection.
“A work in progress: A Journal” is a personal account of the esteemed chef and his experience in the Noma kitchen. He goes on to discuss the intimate moments of dedicating his life to Noma and how it has become far more than just a restaurant, but a revolutionary and transformative space. This is an excellent read for those who are deeply interested in the moments of doubt, success and bliss that come with creating a restaurant as important as Noma.
René Redzepi’s Accolades
Along with his restaurant being in the top 50 best restaurants in the world almost every year since its opening, René Redzepi has also won awards for his work as an individual. The James Beard awards bestowed Redzepi with the award for “Cooking from a professional point of view” in 2011, and again in 2014 for Photography in reference to his Noma cookbook.
In 2021, Noma 2.0 won itself three Michelin stars, a huge accomplishment for Redzepi and his team. Another notable award for Redzepi was being named in the Times 100 most influential peoples list of 2012, at the mere age of 34. He was named for his incredible efforts in the culinary world that have completely redefined the fine dining scene and have caused a ripple effect on the standard of great food being reliant on sustainable practices and seasonal produce, bringing to light a new age of cooking.
Sebastian is a former hedge fund trader who worked only to indulge his true passion – food.
He has dined at over 240 Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, savoring culinary masterpieces and understanding the stories behind them. He now advises restaurants on menu design, decor and holistic diner experience.