René Redzepi: In His Own Words

REDZEPI: I've always been told by my father even though he's a practicing muslim that we had to do what came naturally to us and It's impossible to escape pork in Denmark. I mean there's 5 million people in Denmark and there's 46 million pigs. So—have you ever heard the term Danish bacon? (Smiles) Because we grow a lot of porks—or pigs in Denmark and I ate pork as well when I was a kid.

At 10 years old you had your first sip of coca cola, but it didn't affect you, you didn't become like…

REDZEPI: No. No, not at all. I think these things are an acquired taste, and if you're not used to it, you're not gonna like it, but if you're only used to that, you're not gonna like other stuff, somehow, I think. You know so for instance, if you're used to eating a lot of fast food and perhaps drinking a lot of coke and all the other things, if you suddenly get a bite of any carrot that's grown by the best farmer for carrots of the best seed in the world and the best soil, perhaps you're not even gonna like it, you know? So, it's still not something that I have in my life. (Laughs) Coca Cola and so on. It's just very sweet. It doesn't taste of anything, it's just sweet.

You were saying Americans are more accepting of European chefs. Explain that to me… what do you feel that's different here? When it comes to the fact that you are very popular in Europe and then all of a sudden, everyone wants a piece of you here. What's the difference that you feel? Have you tried to gain acceptance here?

REDZEPI: No, I never tried. I've never tried searching for acceptance or I mean you don't have time for it when you work as a chef. You work, you're constantly working and I don't know what happened, it just seems that suddenly, er em, suddenly, a lot of countries, they woke up since we received this award, and perhaps—it's interes—I can understand that it's interesting. Most people would expect that if there is to be a world's best restaurant, you know it's a difficult thing to say that there is a world's best restaurant, but if there is to be, then it has to be from France or Spain or Italy or New York. One of these big cities where, where, where you know the or countries has either the money or the tradition. Not Denmark, you know, Denmark is known for design and towers and Hans Christian Andersen and Lego, not for food you know? We're known for that we have George Jensen silverware, Royal Copenhagen plates and the best crystal, and so on, but we have nothing to put on it. And em, and therefore I think it's quite surprising and perhaps that's why, perhaps that's why we haven't been so recognized before because people thought perhaps it was just some curiosity, could it really be the truth? Now, suddenly, we've been voted as the best and so now, I think people are really looking into this story and perhaps thinking well if it can happen in Denmark it could happen anywhere and there's something to look into. How did we do it?

What about the pressure now? Is it any different than before? I bet you're booked for the next 3 years.

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