World-famous restaurant Noma to close, citing ‘unsustainable’ model


Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant that has racked up three Michelin stars and the mantle of “world’s best restaurant” for its hugely influential cuisine, will close in 2024.

Chef and founder Rene Redzepi said the labor-intensive amount required to produce the restaurant’s hyperlocal, painstakingly crafted dishes — much of which has fallen to interns and lower-paid workers — is no longer sustainable. “Financially and emotionally, as an employer and as a human being, it just doesn’t work,” he told The New York Times, which first reported the planned shutdown.

The restaurant will eventually turn into a “giant lab” that will host pop-ups and/or temporarily open for a season, as well as develop products for the company’s e-commerce arm. “Serving customers will always be part of who we are, but being a restaurant will no longer define us,” read a note to customers on the restaurant’s website welcoming the new incarnation as Noma 3.0. “Instead, much of our time will be spent exploring new projects and developing many more ideas and products.”

Sea snail broth and kelp ice cream: the new Noma tastes of the future

Founded in 2003, Noma was initially dismissed by some critics as a “fat restaurant” for relying on Nordic ingredients, but quickly gained acclaim, hailed as the creator of understated “New Nordic” cuisine. but exciting. It has been named the world’s best restaurant five times in the past 11 years and received a third Michelin star – the province of only a handful of restaurants worldwide – in 2021. The award, for those with enough fingers quick to score a reservation, is at least $500 per person.

Dining there was as much about the experience as it was the food, which included reindeer and stuffed greens. The restaurant is set amongst wild gardens and greenhouses with dedicated barbecue and fermentation rooms. The 40-seat dining room can be decorated with fish skeletons or dried seaweed; multi-course meals end with the presentation of a menu.

Over the years, it has transformed several times. He passed away in 2015 for a five-week pop-up in Tokyo, and again a year later for stints in Sydney and Tulum, Mexico. It reopened in 2018 in Copenhagen, with Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema saying the new iteration was “a rare chance to rub shoulders with a true visionary”.

“It soon becomes apparent that we are eating the future, so influential is Redzepi’s thought process that his dishes are copied at internet speed by chefs around the world,” Sietsema wrote.

Tom Sietsema’s Autumn Restaurant Guide

During the pandemic, it closed and temporarily reopened for burgers and wine served at picnic tables.

Redzepi and his operation have come under scrutiny, including for their use of unpaid “interns” (Noma reportedly began paying them in October). The chef himself admitted in a 2015 essay that he had been a bully to a boss who yelled and ‘pushed people’, and since then says he has been in therapy to manage his anger.

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