It’s not all selfies and champagne showers over at Noma, the acclaimed Copenhagen restaurant that closed the doors to its original location a few days ago. As chef/owner René Redzepi makes his plans for what the next iteration will bring, he has announced new partners in the restaurant: restaurant manager James Spreadbury, service director Lau Richter, and dishwasher Ali Sonko. The chef also plans to gift pieces of the walls of Noma 1.0 to various staff members.
New partners: As we close the doors to the old noma, we also push towards the next rendition. We are almost positive we will open the doors to our new space at the end of this year. But, most importantly, we are here to tell you that noma in its new edition will have a handful of new partners. It gives me incredible joy to let the world know that our restaurant managers Lau and James, and our dishwasher, Ali, have become partners in noma. This is only the beginning, as we plan to surprise several more of our staff with a piece of the walls that they have chosen to work so hard within. This move is one of the happiest moments of my time at noma - best wishes René Redzepi
The partnership for the Gambian-born Sonko was particularly special to Redzepi. Berlingske reports that the 62-year-old has been a dishwasher since Noma’s start in 2003. At a party at the restaurant on Saturday night, Redzepi explained that “Ali is Noma's soul,” and noted that his father, like Sonko, started life as an immigrant in Denmark with a dishwashing job. Sonko also had the honor of taking the iconic metal Noma sign down from the building’s exterior:
The three new partners have some big plans to execute. First, Noma will be popping up in Tulum, Mexico — sort of a continuation of the pop-ups the team has done in Sydney and Tokyo. Then, of course, there’s Noma 2.0. The plan is to reopen in a different neighborhood, where along with a restaurant, Noma will also have an urban farm. If all goes according to plan, the opening could happen before the end of the year (possibly even this summer).