Reneé Redzepi speaks to Skift CEO Rafat Ali onstage at Skift Global Forum 2017. / Skift Reneé Redzepi speaks to Skift CEO Rafat Ali onstage at Skift Global Forum 2017. / Skift

Why René Redzepi Needed to Close the Original Noma

Closing one of the world’s most influential restaurants might have seemed like a risky move but for René Redzepi it was something he had to do.

Copenhagen-based Noma had been in operation for 12 years attracting wild praise and taking the prize for Best Restaurant in the World four times, when Redzepi announced it would shut its doors.

About 18 months later it served its last meal and Redzepi and his team decamped to Tulum, Mexico to open one of his famous pop-ups.

A new Noma will open in 2018 and Redzepi says his decision to close the previous incarnation and travel to Central America were are all part of the same creative process.

“To me routine is the killer of creativity. It’s extremely comforting and very quickly you can be lulled into sleep by routine,” he said during an interview at the Skift Global Forum in New York.

While there is no fixed endpoint for Noma 2.0, Redzepi has created it with an eye on the future.

“We built the next Noma in a way that in ten years, if we want to do something else, it’s flexible,” he said.

The Tulum restaurant wasn’t the first time Redzepi had decided to move his restaurant to a completely new location for a short run, he had previously operated pop-ups in Australia and Japan, both of which were also aimed at recharging the teams creativity.

“The pop ups started because three years ago we decided that we were going to close the old edition of Noma to open a new place and we decided that because we were starting to fall into routine. It was starting to be a little bit too easy to just go to work,” he said.

“Looking into the future of moving into a new place, I was like, what if we just go to the new place and we do what we did before, how can we actually see fresh opportunity with the same stuff that we’ve been cooking with for the last 10 years. That’s why we did the pop ups.”

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