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René Redzepi Responds to Jay Rayner (and Sam Sifton)

While in Lima for the Mistura Festival, René Redzepi did a lengthy interview with El Comercio in which he talks Noma, South America, and sustainability. The interview, curiously, is also one of the first forums in which the Danish chef responds to the accusations of fanaticism and self-promotion some have leveled at him and his colleagues in the wake of Mad Foodcamp and the signing of "The Open Letter to the Chefs of Tomorrow."

In the piece, Redzepi specifically calls out Jay Rayner for his recent criticisms of the G9, as well as New York Times critic Sam Sifton, who retweeted Rayner's article and started a discussion about the issue on the Diner's Journal blog.

The paragraph in question, translated:

I'm reading The Guardian article by Jay Rayner, and it's very bad. And The New York Times says that they are in agreement. They say that Gaston Acurio is only known by the cooks who work for him and things of that nature. There's a person sitting in England, who knows nothing about this, and they write something like that and it becomes "the truth" and a part of the world because it's on the Internet and it's printed on paper. One of the Times' greatest writers, Sam Sifton, posted the link to Rayner's article on Twitter, and it's so stupid, because no one knows the situation here [in Lima]. They can't write that. There's no doubt that the people here have successful restaurants and are creating businesses, but they also have a social commitment, and that's incredible.

The original text:

Estoy leyendo “The Guardian” el artículo del crítico Jay Rayner, y es muy malo. Y el “New York Times” dice que está de acuerdo. Dicen que Gastón Acurio es solo conocido por los cocineros que trabajan para él, y cosas así. Hay una persona sentada en Inglaterra, que no sabe nada de esto, escribe algo así y se vuelve parte del mundo y de la “verdad”, está en Internet, en el papel. Uno de sus grandes escritores, Sam Siftom [“Diner’s Journal”], publicó en su Twitter el link a lo que había escrito Rayner. Y es tan estúpido, porque nadie conoce la situación aquí. No pueden escribir eso. Aquí tenemos un grupo de personas que por supuesto tiene restaurantes rentables y están creando un negocio, pero también están comprometidos socialmente, y eso es algo increíble.

Among the other points Redzepi argues is that if what he and his colleagues are doing in Denmark is fascist, then what many chefs around the world are trying to do can be called just the same. He cites the Millenium Institute, saying, "to preserve and protect our planet and feed the poor we have to change our agricultural systems and make them local and organic. So, that means that one of the greatest research centers of the world, which includes 400 scientists, wants everyone to become fascist!"

But a newly published article in which Rayner cooks at Redzepi's Copenhagen home has prompted the duo to patch things up, to some extent. Rayner: B4 anyone raises it. no contradiction here. I am and remain a huge admirer of Rene's...He, however, may not be a huge fan of mine right now. Still though believe it's about context, tone and avoiding gesture politics." Redzepi: "Jay, you held my baby, you have strong points, your critisism is valid! I still love you! The beets were unforgiveble though:)"

· Chef del mejor restaurante del mundo quiere hacer su propia leche de tigre [El Comercio]
· All René Redzepi Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Jay Rayner Coverage on Eater [-E-]