Noma's René Redzepi Discusses the Corona Effect on Restaurants

Noma's René Redzepi Discusses the Corona Effect on Restaurants
Lounge, Vegetable season at Noma 2.0, Photo Credit: Ditte Isager

The Danish chef, who is co-owner of the two Michelin-starred Noma, talks about the future of the food industry

Rupali Dean
April 10 , 2020
02 Min Read

It has been seventeen years since the launch of the first Noma and two years into its second incarnation with Noma 2.0, since René Redzepi put Nordic food on the culinary map of the world. We spoke to him about the restaurant world post the pandemic. What will it look like?

“It’s hard to imagine that we can go back to operating how we used to, just two months ago. While I believe people will be yearning to get out and spend quality time with each other, I do think that a 20-course meal is not going to be the first choice,” says Redzepi.

Chef René Redzepi

This is an atypical and thought-provoking time for us all. But no other industry is suffering more than the restaurant industry. Fine dining is not the future perhaps. The rules have changed, but the game is still on. Redzepi says there are many things to reflect on. “We have to discover a method to become more generous, and have our doors open to people so that we can all heal together. That sort of trend would be wonderful if that would continue. A more generous and spontaneous approach to restaurants. That could happen in the short term."

“I do believe in the longer term, 5-10 years from now, things will return to how it was. We could hope that after this period, we’ll have a more considerate approach to what we spend on, how we spend it, and in general, a much more appreciative outlook towards our environment, which is something that is truly a disaster of our time. The difference with COVID-19 is that it is in your face, whereas climate change is something we feel sporadically. It is maybe more compartmentalised in a way that you almost don’t see it happening even though it’s happening right in front of you. The long term trend for cooking should be an approach that takes in the climate and the environment into consideration. As for me, I hope other fine dining restaurants will come to the same conclusion. Restaurants should not give up right now, but ponder on what can be done...The truth is, possibly, a lot!."

A view of Noma 2.0

The original Noma was, without a doubt, one of the most significant restaurants of its time. With his food, Redzepi established a novel category of cuisine.

Redzepi’s far-sighted attitude led to Noma getting the title of 'The World’s Best Restaurant' in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Redzepi shut down the original Noma in February 2017. He relocated the restaurant to artsy Refshalevej Island, with Noma 2.0’s first service taking place in February 2018. Under the Best of the Best rules, the new Noma is a separate restaurant from its original location, and therefore received the 'Highest New Entry' award, debuting on 2019’s list at No.2.

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