The young and talented René Redzepi of the internationally acclaimed restaurant Noma in Copenhagen spoke to a sold out crowd of chefs and food folk at San Francisco’s Delancey Street Theater last night. Redzepi is touring around promoting his new cookbook, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine, and he discussed the early days of the restaurant when he and his team were blatantly made fun of for trying to create a modern Nordic cuisine with only local ingredients. “They called us seal fuckers,” he said. “They asked if we served whale penis.”
Now vindicated and having been named number one in S. Pellegrino’s annual list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World, Redzepi showed off some video dish demos of beach rocks with coastal greens, and eggs fried over hay and garnished with the low-lying greens a free-range chicken would eat — a dish he says puts the diner “in the mind of the chicken.” He invoked Schopenhauer who said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Today he says there are no limits to what they can experiment with at Noma, and that’s a great place to be. “Now we can serve reindeer balls or beaver snout if we want to and they will try it.”
Look for more about Redzepi’s tour, via Grub Street New York, as he heads to an event tomorrow night in conversation with Ruth Reichl and David Chang. Below, a video recently shot inside Noma, featuring an interview with Redzepi.
Earlier: Acclaimed Danish Chef René Redzepi to Preach to S.F. Foodie Faithful [Grub Street]