This week in The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Noma’s chef René Redzepi talks about the “avalanche of disaster that was 2013" (when Noma lost the top spot in San Pellegrino’s restaurant rankings, his restaurant policy of “trash cooking": nothing gets thrown away, if possible; and the inimitable “cocktail of people” that make up his team, both at Noma and MAD, his carefully cultivated international network of "chefs, cooks, and farmers with an appetite for knowledge."
“It felt like standing outside on a perfect, clear day and suddenly being beaten to the ground by hoodlums,” Redzepi said of the loss of distinction as the World’s Best restaurant.
“People were acting like it was the end of Noma,” says Redzepi. “But you know what? I wouldn’t want to be without this motivation. I told my whole team I wouldn’t want to be without this tremendous and inspiring push. Sometimes you need a bit of anger towards the world.”
In April 2014, Noma regained its top spot, to which Redzepi responded, “of course I don’t consider Noma to be the best in the world. Is the color red best in the world this year?”
It was his anger that helped Redzepi realize that his own influence was too great. “Redzepi forages; the world forages,” in the words of The Wall Street Journal.
To that end, the Noma team is currently in Japan, throwing themselves into new challenges and avenues for innovation, and Redzepi is in his comfort zone of what Roy Choi calls “uneasy and at unrest.”
Since January he has developed 90 new recipes and is contemplating making the most of his restaurant’s compost by giving it as a gift. “I’m thinking of sending guests home with a bag of that soil,” he tells The Wall Street Journal, “so our food can help them grow their own food.”
The chef is thinking now about opening a second restaurant in Copenhagen — “everyday food, done extremely well” — which will presumably happen after he returns from Japan.
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.