When Eater editor Gabe Ulla told me he needed to talk to me last fall, I knew it meant bad news. “If you’re leaving us to go to Bon Appetite, I’m going to kill you,” I said.
“Actually, I am giving notice,” Gabe said, “but to move to Copenhagen and work for Rene Redzepi at Noma.” Alrighty then. Probably the best giving of notice in work history, nbd.
Rene and the Noma team run the annual MAD Food Symposium, this year’s edition of which just wrapped up in Copenhagen. It post-dated our trip by a few weeks so we couldn’t make it, but they probably wouldn’t have let us in even if we could have: for 300 available seats, this year MAD received over 5,000 ticket requests. (Eater’s Amy McKeever made the cut, however, and covered it extensively for the site, if you’re interested.)
When I spoke with him early in the summer, Gabe was in a frenzy getting ready for MAD, which he’s overseeing. What Gabe could do for us, though, was get us a reservation at Noma. Which we walked up to, through the streets of the neighborhood, with Gabe, who left us for his office and pointed us in the direction of the front door. Where, out front watering the greenery, stood Rene Redzepi, who greeted us with a hearty handshake.
What follows are some of my photographs from the meal, which stretched to 20-plus courses. The first dozen or so were the small bites, followed by more substantial dishes. The menu, given the season, used very little meat; our extensive wine pairing featured only white wines. The names below are Noma’s, from the menu they gave us as a take-away.
Peas and radishes.
Flatbread and wild roses.
Burnt onion and walnut.
Blackberries. (My favorite course, seemingly just berries in a briny broth. Sensing my excitement, Lindsey sternly advised me, “Do not try this at home.”)
Butternut squash and caviar. (Equally unreal.)
Beef tartare and ants. (Note expression. Proved delicious.)
Turbot and nasturtium. (Final savory course.)
After the savories, they encouraged us to take a stroll outside, along the waterfront. Talked to a professor from Cornell unsurprisingly thrilled to be dining at Noma. Then it was back inside for dessert, and a tour of the establishment and the mad scientist labs they’ve got going out back. (The arms race between the world’s top kitchens is honestly a bit terrifying.)
Thanks to Gabe, Rene, and the Noma Team for an unbelievable evening. Given fair winds and following seas, we’ll be back.