- Noma was named the best restaurant in the world multiple times.
- In 2016, head chef René Redzepi shut the restaurant down, re-opening in 2018.
- His goal, he said on an episode of “Business Insider Today,” was to help his team break out of routine and stimulate creativity.
- Sous chef Mette Solberg said that, now, the team spends at least two weeks brainstorming before making any dishes.
At the end of 2016, Noma – the Copenhagen restaurant that had been named, multiple times, as the best restaurant in the world – shut down.
The restaurant, which has two Michelin stars and is known for serving seasonal ingredients found in the Nordic region, had recently slipped from its No. 1 spot. Head chef René Redzepi was ready to shake things up, in an effort to improve the Noma experience.
In February 2018, Noma re-opened in a new space, not far from the original location, on the site of an ex-military warehouse, Lonely Planet reported.
Redzepi spoke to Business Insider for an episode of “Business Insider Today,” and explained why he took such drastic measures. “I was getting a bit annoyed with how we were working,” he said. “I felt the routine was sort of stifling us, and we should probably be looking for a new place to see if that could give us something.”
That reflection sounds similar to something Redzepi told Smithsonian.com in 2013, about his takeaways from keeping a journal on Noma in 2011. “The conclusion was let’s just play around again, be fearless. There’s nothing to lose; don’t get attached to the thing,” Redzepi said. “That’s the most important thing I got out of it-just being open to breaking the mold that made your success.”
Today, Noma has three seasonal menus, focusing on vegetables in the summer, seafood in the winter, and meat in the fall. Each seat costs roughly $340.
The team at Noma spends at least two weeks brainstorming before making any dishes
Mette Solberg, sous chef at Noma, shared the new method of operation at the restaurant with Business Insider.
First, they brainstorm as a team about what could be “fun” to put on their menu. “We always have at least a couple weeks where we’re not actually putting things on a plate and trying to make dishes, but where we’re just sort of investigating all of these crazy ideas that we have.”
Critics have published largely raving reviews. Josh Lee wrote in British GQ: “It’s then in the taxi back home when the reality hits. Noma is back. It’s better than last time. It makes the old one look amateur in comparison. When you thought Noma couldn’t out-Noma itself, it’s gone and done just that.”
Unfortunately for the team at Noma, Eater reported that the restaurant opened too late to be considered for inclusion on the 2018 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
But Redzepi told Business Insider that, if you approach your work only with the goal of being No. 1 in the industry, “you won’t last long in this trade.”