Foraging superstar and chef René Redzepi is closing his famed Copenhagen restaurant Noma, which has been named the best restaurant in the world multiple times. According to the New York Times, he plans to reopen Noma in 2017 "with a new menu and a new mission." A major pillar of the new business will be an urban farm with the restaurant at its center, much like chef Dan Barber's Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. Redzepi notes, "It makes sense to have your own farm at a restaurant of this caliber." The new Noma will relocate to Copenhagen's "freewheeling Christiania neighborhood," to an abandoned lot where empty warehouses and plenty of graffiti decorate the landscape.
This is the future of René Redzepi's Noma
Unsurprisingly, Redzepi's plans are ambitious: He wants to build a greenhouse on the roof of the new Noma, he will "dig out the dank old asphalt lot and truck in fresh soil, and he wants a portion of the farm "to float." Plus, he plans to hire a full-time farmer to lead a team.
So why make such drastic changes? The original restaurant's rent has not increased and "business remains brisk." Redzepi says that the time is right for a "dramatic evolution" of a restaurant that he has led for 12 years. He wants to continue to progress and shake things up.
In addition to the Noma revamp, Redzepi has another large project on the horizon. For "the first time in his career," he is partnering to open a second restaurant. (Though he isn't a partner in the restaurant, Redzepi recently helped former Noma pastry chef Rosio Sanchez launch a taqueria in Copenhagen called Hija De Sánchez.) It will open in Copenhagen and will be much more casual than Noma. Chef Kristian Baumann, who is currently in the kitchen at Noma, will helm the new restaurant. And chef Trevor Moran will leave Nashville's Catbird Seat to return to Noma — where he worked for four years — to "help lead the next wave."
At the new Noma Redzepi plans to eschew the "predictable progression" of a tasting menu in favor of a "reverent adherence to seasonality." In the fall, the menu will focus only on dishes made from wild game and "foraged autumnal ingredients." In the winter, Noma will transform into a seafood restaurant. And in the spring and summer where "the world turns green," Redzepi says that Noma will "become fully vegetarian," with most of the produce coming from the restaurant's farm. Noma will shutter after service New Year's Eve 2016.