How does one of the best chefs in the world keep from falling into the routine of his own success? By challenging the notion of a restaurant, tirelessly iterating on new ideas, and working hard to push himself well out of his comfort zone.
— Kristen Hawley
René Redzepi, the co-founder and head chef of one of the world’s more famous restaurants, is a product of his time, finding success and opportunity in the technology platforms and inspiration in the changing world.
“We’ve had incredible success that 50 years ago would take decades,” he said during an interview at Skift Global Forum in New York, referring to the speed at which food news, culture, trends, and ideas spread globally.
But though he’s found great success in the industry, he continues to push the envelope further, challenging the concept of what a restaurant can be and working to change the game. “To me routine is the killer of creativity. It’s extremely comforting and very quickly you can be lulled into sleep by routine,” he continued.
Noma, his Copenhagen-based restaurant, is scheduled to reopen in its newest location this winter. In its 14-year run, the restaurant has been named best in the world four times (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014). Redzepi has also staged pop-ups in Tokyo, Australia, and Tulum, Mexico, flying his staff and their families to the foreign locations to build a localized Noma, shutting the restaurant after a short run. “Being a part of a system instead of a spectator is so amazing,” he said, referring to the way he and his staff immerse themselves in the local culture during pop-ups.
The new Noma, which will open to the public on February 1, will initially feature a seafood-heavy menu through the end of May. “In the cold months when few things grow, high season is in the oceans,” reads a post on the restaurant’s site. “Weird shells, deep water seaweed, the eyeball of a cod, slivers of fresh lobster – we’re not sure yet what we will serve, but it is certain that the menu will be based around seafood.”
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. “How can we see fresh opportunity with the same ingredients we’ve been cooking with for ten years? That’s why we did the pop-ups.”
Watch the entire interview above. Or consider reading more coverage of the Skift Global Forum.
At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.
Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.
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