Rene Redzepi’s parents were immigrants from Macedonia; his father washed up and his mother was a cashier in their adopted country of Denmark. Every summer his father would take Rene back to their home country to forage for wild chestnuts, wild vegetables and fruits. Rene was a daydreamer, did badly at school and didn’t know what to do in life. On his last day of school each pupil was told to bring in a dish. Rene made and brought in a Macedonian recipe.
That was it – he wanted to be a chef. But there was a big problem. In Denmark vegetables are seen as garnishes not real food. The challenge was how to find his own voice in cooking… where he could go back into his imagination every day to re create the smell and flavours he remembered from his childhood. With years of tears and sweat and disillusion he did it. Each dish he creates is painstaking: “It takes years of practice and months and months to work on one carrot dish”, he said. But it has been worth it. Noma has reinterpreted Nordic cuisine and has won the best restaurant in the world award four times.