Chef and foraging demigod René Redzepi surprised the world earlier this week by announcing that he would shutter his lauded Copenhagen restaurant Noma at the end of December 2016. The chef noted that Noma 2.0 would open in 2017, but in a different part of the city, and it would feature an urban farm as well as a new, very seasonal menu format. He penned an essay for Lucky Peach explaining the decision.
Redzepi writes that organizing the restaurant's menu like a typical tasting menu was "somewhat impractical," especially in a place where "seasons change dramatically from barren cold to warm abundance." He writes: "The menu format more or less would stay the same... We haven't been able to transform as dramatically as the weather does." So, at the new Noma, the menu will completely change based on the seasons.
From January through April, when "very little from the earth is available," the restaurant will "turn to the ocean." There will be a range of fish and shellfish on the menu, as well as "hardy plants" from the restaurant's own greenhouse. Even the cutlery and plateware will "reflect an aesthetic of the cold ocean."
From May through September, Noma will become fully vegetarian. Redzepi writes that the new version of the restaurant will house a larger research kitchen to help make "potions, liquids, and new flavors that can lift even the simplest carrot to become the star" of the menu. And from the end of September through December, the restaurant will "focus on the forest," serving nuts, berries, mushrooms, and game animals. Redzepi notes that at Noma 2.0 he wants to focus on the "three distinct seasons, with a myriad of microseasons within each of them." Check out a video about the changes below: