René Redzepi: In His Own Words

REDZEPI: It was. I still – It was back then when I was 15, because I remember we were dressing this plate, and you know, the chicken was there and I thought okay I'll slice it, it would be easier to eat. I didn't know that it is easier to eat and that's what they did in restaurants, you know, I just thought we'll slice it up and we helped a little bit. You can take it up and then we put the rice in a, in a, in a cup and then we put it out and there was a tower of rice, you know. And then, eh, my partner Michael, he was just about to put the cashew nut sauce on the meat and I said stop, because there was a perfect little space right there for the sauce and then we put the sauce there. And that's -- I was really like wow, where did that come from? You know, I've never had a reaction like that before, where I actually —what does it matter, you know? Well it does matter, I know now, but I didn't know where it came from. So I think that was a period where I thought okay, this is… I'm gonna see what can come out of this.

And it just keeps getting more and more exciting for you…

REDZEPI: It just gets more and more exciting and I, you know, in Denmark, when you become a chef you take an apprenticeship for 4 years in a restaurant, you don't go to school as such. Then you have 3 periods of 3 months in a school. So, I went to, back then the best restaurant in Copenhagen, a French place and you know, it was a whole new world and you know making puff pastries and making your own bread then. Cooking stock suddenly and all these, all these, all these things were just so new and incredible to me, and especially the innovation of it. That food is constantly changing as seasons constantly changing. A recipe, I know now, is just a very strong guideline, there can never be an absolute for this. You know… if it's a recipe from Denmark and you do it in America, on asparagus, the asparagus is different. It's gonna need more or less vinegar for sure in order to have this magic in it. And eh, I went there, I spent 4 years there and of course back then, France was, for obvious reasons, France was like the only place for high gastronomy and I wanted to go to France and I did. It went to a 3 star back then in Montpellier in '97. And em, I spent some time there and experienced how a 3 star French cuisine is. And while I was there, I read a paper in the French, some French paper about a restaurant in Spain, just across the border and that sounded very interesting. So I went there and I booked a table 2 weeks in advance and I did—that was to be world famous El Bulli restaurant. I ate there and there was a big, also clear mark in what has defined me. Because I was completely blown away back then I remember. This was something -- here was something I hadn't seen before. A chef that did his own thing. You know I was expecting to go to Spain to get French food. Not to get something so personal and something Spanish. Em, and it was a big inspiration, I applied for a job immediately, sent my resume, and all these things and when I got back a contract and I worked there the season after.

But you're so nature. And that's kind of science. So how did that… are you using that? How does that work?

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