To start our series we discuss the Noma chef's childhood influences in Copenhagen and Macedonia
In our series "At the Chef's Table," we take a look at the careers of some of the greatest chefs in the business. In this month’s installment we are profiling René Redzepi of the internationally acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen. The chef, whose restaurant is currently ranked number one on San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list, sat down with us recently at his restaurant in Denmark.
In part one of our series we discuss Redzepi’s childhood influences growing up between Denmark and his father’s native Macedonia. He described his summers as being different from other children from Denmark. "When I was a kid I used to hate when we went to Macedonia," he said. "Everybody was going to Italy had all these lovely memories... and we were going to Macedonia, we were going to sit on the floor, we were going to eat with our hands. If we were going somewhere it was going to be on a horse. I always felt inadequate as a child that we were going just to Macedonia again and into this very rural area. You know, you slept in the same room that you lived in and ate in... My family were farmers. They worked the land, we lived at the edge of a mountain."
But he does have distinct food memories from that time in his life that he feels influence him today. Redzepi recalled, "One of the things that I used to love, my all-time favorite was us, the kids, going up to the mountain in the fall season, harvesting the chestnuts. And then the next morning we would wake up. I’d hear the crackling of the fireplace and my father, he was toasting chestnuts. And then 30 minutes later my aunt she would come in with fresh milk that she’d just taken, and then we’d have that for breakfast... and that’s one of those food memories that never disappeared."
For more from Redzepi, including what lessons he learned from his father and how he learned to respect animals and products as a young child, watch the video above. And look out for part two coming next Monday!