Noma, the world-renowned — and in many years, World’s Best — Copenhagen restaurant from masterful forager and chef René Redzepi, will close after a final service on New Year’s Eve 2016, a little over a year from now. In 2017, Redzepi hopes to be ready to reopen Noma, this time as an urban farm helmed by “a full-time farmer with a team.”
The new Noma will still serve food, but there will be an even more “fervent adherence to seasonality,” the New York Times reports. In the winter, when “the waters are ice-cold and some of the fish have bellies full of roe,” Noma will become a seafood restaurant. In the spring and summer, “the world turns green, and so will the menu,” the chef says.
If it sounds outlandish that the chef of what has been, and what might have been again, the best restaurant in the world, would want to close his groundbreaking restaurant, remember that Ferran Adrià’s elBulli held the title during 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 — only to be closed in 2011 and reestablished as the elBulli Foundation, an upcoming institution for gastronomic studies — though the seemingly monumental project is still in progress.
With the promise of “a new menu and a new mission,” Redzepi will also be following in the footsteps of Dan Barber, the New York chef whose acclaimed restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns is nestled in what might be the closest thing we have to the platonic ideal of the sustainable farm.
Amid all this change, the Noma team is also gearing up for an Australia pop-up inspired by the success of Noma’s brief interlude in Japan. When they return, the staff will ostensibly turn to the business of farming, on top of creating Noma’s next menu. “It’s like the Google of restaurants,” said pastry chef Malcolm Livingston II. “That’s what keeps it exciting: It stays fresh.”
As for Redzepi, he has no time to indulge in doubt. “I have yet to meet anyone who thinks this is a stupid thing,” he told the Times.