Thursday, May 3, 2012


The annual World's 50 Best Restaurants list was just released. Sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Aqua Panna and organized by Restaurant magazine, the restaurants are chosen by The World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy, comprised of 837 members who are culinary experts! According to their website, they divide the globe into twenty-seven areas. Each of these areas has a chairperson who picks a voting panel of thirty members.

And for the third year in a row, the top honor of The Best Restaurant In The World goes to René Redzepi's restaurant noma (yes, it begins with a lower case "n") in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Redzepi's approach and philosophy are beautifully summed up in noma's mission statement on their website:
"At noma, we wish to offer our personal rendition of Nordic gourmet cuisine with an innovative gastronomic take on traditional cooking methods, fine Nordic produce and the legacy of our shared food heritage. Moreover, we regard it as a personal challenge to help bring about a revival of Nordic cuisine and let its distinctive flavours and particular regional character brighten up the world.

noma is not about olive oil, foie gras, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. On the contrary, we’ve been busy exploring the Nordic regions discovering outstanding foods and bringing them back to Denmark: Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox, berries and water. In much the same fashion, we continue to look out for new sources of inspiration in Denmark – and in the rest of the Nordic countries as well – to ensure reliable sources of top-quality produce. This goes for very costly ingredients but also for more disregarded, modest ingredients such as grains and pulses, which you’ll taste here in new and unexpected contexts.

Above all, we want to be thorough in all that we do. We pay careful attention to the qualities of our culinary heritage, but we also aim to create something brand new. We want to explore the potential of milk and cream in modern cuisine and develop new takes on well-known and less well known types of cereal grains. We comb the countryside for berries and herbs that others would not bother with and work with foods that aren’t part of any system of formalised cultivation and consequently cannot be obtained through ordinary channels of distribution."

Above: a dish of glazed reindeer tongue and topaz apple.

Above: dried scallops and grains mix with watercress and seaweed.

This interest in foraging for truly local ingredients makes for a fantastic, stunning meal full of unusual tastes. Currently, noma's website lists a sample 20-serving menu:


Celeriac and unripe sloe berry
Gooseberry and douglas-fir

Brown crab and coral
Egg yolk and herbs

Dried scallops and beech nuts
Biodynamic grains and watercress

Limfjords oyster and air onion
Unripe plums and buttermilk

Cauliflower and pine

Pike perch and cabbages
Verbena and dill

Pickled vegetables and bone marrow
Browned butter and parsley

Roasted turbot and bitter greens
Celeriac and mushroom

Pear tree!

Brown cheese and sloe berries


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