Cookbook Profile

Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine

by René Redzepi

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine
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Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine provides the first insight into the food, philosophy and creativity of René Redzepi and his innovative Copenhagen restaurant, Noma.

At the 2010 World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, René Redzepi was crowned king. After four years of dominance by Spain's famed El Bulli, a relative newcomer, Noma of Copenhagen, a 12-table restaurant that favors sheep pelts on the back of its chairs instead of white tablecloths, was voted the #1 World's Best Restaurant. It was a rare "rock n' roll moment," where 32-year old chef/owner Redzepi claimed one of cuisine's highest honors, and set the culinary world abuzz.

Bringing "new Nordic" cuisine to the world stage, Redzepi represents a new generation of young chefs, shaking the foundations of haute cuisine. With an uncompromising approach to local, seasonal and wild (often foraged) ingredients, nothing goes on a plate at Noma unless it's indigenous to Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden. Guests are constantly reminded of "time and place"—as they dine on plants and products absent from most luxury restaurants. You won't find foie gras, tuna tartare or olive oil, instead it's musk ox, axel berry shoots, pickled quail eggs, burnt hay, and cloud berries.

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine offers readers a behind the scenes look at Noma featuring over 90 original recipes, pull out maps of the Nordic region, original writings, and 200 beautiful color photographs that transport readers to the unique harsh but fertile natural environment of Redzepi's backyard.

The images are organized organically by color and mood—from white to grey to green and blue and purple to black—and include a full-page photo of every dish, including Vegetable Field, King Crab and Leek in Ashes, Dover Sole and Green Strawberries, Beach Cabbage and New Potatoes; Blueberries Surrounded by Their Natural Environment, Oxtail and Dark Beer, Apple and Jerusalem Artichoke; and Over-Ripe Pears and Malt Oil, Skyr and Wild Chervil.

Redzepi has three professional foragers on staff at Noma, and most often, as head chef, it's he himself who is up to his knees foraging for wild produce. In the bleak winter months, when he must pickle, air-dry, cure, smoke, and research his way around the issue (he also has two Danish food historians on staff), the restaurant's emphasis on foraging and seasonality is extremely challenging. "We can find almost nothing," says Redzepi in the book. "And yet, (as springtime approaches) in the woods around Copenhagen and even in the town gardens, wood sorrel, garden sorrel, chickweed and nettles are appearing. You just have to know where to look."

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine begins with a foreword by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, followed by exclusive excerpts from Redzepi's diary from the period leading up to the opening of the restaurant in 2003. He describes his "first voyage of discovery in search of new produce" when he visited the Faroe Islands, and tasted crowberries, raw horse mussel, reindeer and roseroot, for the first time.

The book also features essays by Redzepi describing his relationship with nine of the restaurant's closest collaborators and local producers, including Susanne Grefberg of Gotland, Sweden (for berries, Swedish Blue ducks, wild truffles) and Tag Ronne from Hereskovkby, Denmark (birch sap, bark, rowan shoots). There are 60-70 people in Noma's vast network of suppliers across the region—from hobby farmers and backyard growers to foragers and fisherman.

About the Author

René Redzepi was born in 1977 in Copenhagen to a Danish mother and a Macedonian father. Drawing on his unique cultural heritage, he has been widely credited with re-inventing Nordic cuisine. In 2003, at the age of just 25, after already having worked at both El Bulli and The French Laundry, Redzepi became head chef, co-owner and co-founder of Noma (from NOrdisk and MAd, meaning "nordic food"). In April, Noma won the #1 World's Best Restaurant at the 2010 S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards. He lives in Copenhagen, with his wife and daughter.


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This page created April 2011