For the third year running, Noma, in Copenhagen, has taken the top position in the annual list of the world's 50 best restaurants. Chef Renee Redzepi, already cited as one of the 100 most influential people on Earth, is credited with using his meticulous attention to detail to bring Nordic food to the forefront of world cuisine.
Noma's website sums up the restaurant's philosopy:
At noma, we wish to offer our personal rendition of Nordic gourmet cuisine with an innovative gastronomic take on traditional cooking methods, fine Nordic produce and the legacy of our shared food heritage. Moreover, we regard it as a personal challenge to help bring about a revival of Nordic cuisine and let its distinctive flavours and particular regional character brighten up the world.
Noma is not about olive oil, foie gras, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. On the contrary, we’ve been busy exploring the Nordic regions discovering outstanding foods and bringing them back to Denmark: Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox, berries and water. In much the same fashion, we continue to look out for new sources of inspiration in Denmark – and in the rest of the Nordic countries as well – to ensure reliable sources of top-quality produce. This goes for very costly ingredients but also for more disregarded, modest ingredients such as grains and pulses, which you’ll taste here in new and unexpected contexts.
Above all, we want to be thorough in all that we do. We pay careful attention to the qualities of our culinary heritage, but we also aim to create something brand new. We want to explore the potential of milk and cream in modern cuisine and develop new takes on well-known and less well known types of cereal grains. We comb the countryside for berries and herbs that others would not bother with and work with foods that aren’t part of any system of formalised cultivation and consequently cannot be obtained through ordinary channels of distribution.
We do our own salting, smoking, pickling, drying and grilling. We also prepare our own vinegars and make our own eaux de vies. And we use state-of-the-art kitchen appliances and techniques, of course, since we are just as concerned with the textures of our food as any other world-class restaurant.
Where others use wine in their sauces and soups, we consistently use beers and ales, fruit juices and fruit vinegars for freshness and flavour. When in season, fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and wild plants play a prominent role in our dishes. Consequently, greens take up more room on the plate than is common at gourmet restaurants.
We feel that the cooking at noma is fairly ambitious but then again, Nordic cuisine must possess a certain purity, an essential simplicity, and we firmly believe that the Nordic cuisine has significant health benefits to offer as well. All these values are reflected in our menus, in the composition and presentation of each dish and in the planning and preparation that underlies it all.
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