Anyone Can Cook: Noma

Sure, anyone can cook. Anyone can make a plate of spaghetti or rice or ramen noodles.

But only one place cooks like Noma, the old warehouse-turned-eatery in Denmark that’s been named “best restaurant in the world” by Restaurant Magazine.

Jay Rayner, food critic and judge on the TV show “Top Chef Masters,” talks about Noma’s chef:

Redzepi, the 32-year-old chef at Noma, pursues a regional, seasonal agenda that is right on the cutting edge: if it isn’t available in the Nordic region, he won’t cook with it. The result is a very idiosyncratic style of food that speaks to concerns about the way a global food culture turns our eating experiences a uniform beige.

So what’s on the menu at Noma? Here are a few of the dishes they offer:

  • Burnt salsify and truffle from Gotland, milk skin and rape seed oil
  • Chestnut and rye, bleak roe and walnut
  • Cooked barley and birch syrup, herbs and frozen milk
  • Danish squid, pickled kohlrabi, beach herbs, parsley cream
  • Dried scallops and watercress, biodynamic cereals and beech nut
  • King crab, leeks rolled in hay ashes, breadcrumbs and mussel juice
  • Langoustines from the Faroe Islands, oyster emulsion and sea weed
  • Mackerel and grilled cucumber, dill and nasturtium leaves, with horseradish snow
  • Musk ox and smoked marrow, apple and beetroot
  • Ox cheek and endive, pickled pear and verbena
  • Pickled vegetables and bone marrow, herbs and bouillon
  • Pike perch and unripe elderberries, cabbage stem and watercress
  • Raw mackerel, gooseberry cloud, fennel juice and walnuts
  • Seaurchin ovaries from Limfjoden and malt, fresh cream and pickled cucumber
  • Short rib of beef and roses, beets and malt
  • Small potatoes and sautéed lobster lovage and whey
  • Smoked and pickled quail’s egg
  • Squid and white currants, cream and chlorophyll
  • Tartar and wood sorrel, creamed tarragon and juniper
  • Veal tongue and celeriac, veal breast and garden sorrel
  • Vintage potato and whey lovage and Prästost

My head is spinning just pondering all those exquisitely unorthodox flavors and colors and textures combined in inconceivably creative ways. Wonder what that looks like? Check out this review (or this one or this forum) for mind-blowing photos of these dishes.

What’ll it set you back? About $200 for the 4-hour experience, which includes seven courses and assorted wines. Kinda makes me think of it as a Broadway play that you experience not just with your eyes and ears, but with your senses of taste and smell and touch as well.

After some time reading up on this restaurant, I feel like I’ve been introduced to a whole new world, where eating isn’t just providing for my body’s needs in a pleasant way, but can become a profound form of art. Something that inspires us to appreciate the pinnacle of human creativity, and consequently appreciate the creativity of the One who dished up humans in the first place, who even now is planning the menu for a heavenly feast we’ve been invited to enjoy.

About Author

Ted Slater

Ted Slater is part webgeek and part wordsmith; he feels equally comfortable massaging code and editing prose. He gets plenty of opportunity to explore both interests as senior website developer with Liberty Alliance. Ted is a follower of Christ, husband to Ashleigh, and papa to Olivia and Ava and Savannah and Noah and Dorothy.

  • Ed Slater

    … in the past, preoccupation with gourmet foods was considered gluttony, the fifth of the “7 Deadly Sins” – but this raises that sin to number three or four….

    … see

  • Ted Slater

    Hm. You know, I don’t recall the “7 deadly sins” listed as such in Scripture anywhere. 😉

    From the article you reference: “being a gourmand is not a sin. Being a glutton is.” I have to agree. Just as it is no sin to appreciate good visual art, it is no sin to appreciate good edible art. 🙂

    This article is interesting, something I published while editor of Boundless:

  • Noma is the proof that when creativity and talent are paired at an exceptional level, the roof of world’s gastronomy is at reach. Interestingly, The rise to fame of Noma is also the triumph of a latest trend in world gastronomy: the focus on local ingredients.

  • Forgot to add: the $200 is quite a bargain, at this level of fine dining, I believe.

  • That place sounds amazing. And you’re right, dinners like that are like a Broadway play. You go more for the experience of tasting all these different flavors.

    I’ve just recently gotten into farmer’s markets and cooking with local ingredients. Feels like I’m finally doing more for my state than just paying taxes. And the food is so fresh. Puts my super-mart franchise grocery store to shame.