World renowned chef René Redzepi has announced plans to close Copenhagen’s revered Noma restaurant, which is largely considered to be one of “the world’s best.” But that’s not the end of the line for this food paradise. Instead, Redzepi intends to reopen the restaurant at its new, expanded location, complete with its own urban farm. The plan is ambitious, particularly since the neighborhood of the new location is spray-painted, dilapidated, and seemingly long-forgotten.
New Year’s Eve 2016 will be the last night of service at Noma’s current locale, and Redzepi hopes to open the new and improved site in 2017. He says, “It makes sense to have your own farm, as a restaurant of this caliber.” The restaurant’s new home, to be located in the city’s Christiania neighborhood, has potential, he argues, from the scenic lake nearby to the expansive roof just waiting for a greenhouse. The 12-year Noma veteran will dig out the asphalt lot for garden space and is even considering growing veggies on a floating raft.
What is pretty poetic about the shift is that it is not due to a dwindling clientele or struggling finances. Rather, Redzepi envisions how the restaurant is ready for growth and progress, and how it will need more space and control over its ingredients to do so. Some seasoned farmers who work within this vision already caution Redzepi to remember that growing your own food leaves one very much out of control and at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Yet, it appears he and his team are up for the challenge, sticking to their roots of using seasonal and local ingredients and being quite creative with what is available. Earlier this year, the Noma crew jetted over to Japan to apply its food philosophy to local fare and was successful. This winter they will be heading to Australia for the same experiment, showing how daring and dedicated Noma is to its vision. How is Redzepi feeling about what’s to come? “It really, really, really, really makes me nervous,” he said. “I’m not afraid. But it does make me nervous.”
Images via Wikipedia