René Redzepi: In His Own Words

REDZEPI: Well, I mean science -- There's a big difference in -- Science is good. Science is progress in a way. Machinery—there's nothing wrong with a machinery. A Blender is the same as a pacojet you know there's no difference other than it spins faster. And there's a big difference for me between machinery and chemistry and even some chemistry is natural. I'm not opposed to it. It's not something that's a big part of our cuisine, honestly it's not. For me El Bulli was not a molecular gastronomicy restaurant, it was about freedom. It was about seeing a place where, where, where, going to a place where everything is completely different from what you had in upbringing. All the books you were able to read at that point was only about French cuisine. You know, you have seen 120,000 ways of doing a foie gras terrine. With 120,000 different types of fruits accompanying with it. And the brioche and so on and so on. It's amazing. I love it. I love to eat it, but it's also good to see something different. And for me it triggered something into me. A sense of freedom, a sense of well what am I gonna do with my life, before that, I was gonna go back to Copenhagen at one point and do my version of French cuisine.

REDZEPI: While I was there, the grant, from millennia, he was there too, for a week and he didn't speak French or Spanish or anything, so I kinda helped him out and he was sous chef at French laundry and he told me about this restaurant and that was also something that immediately took my interest. This American chef. I was reading his book, "the coffee and donuts" all these ways that he incorporated the humor that perhaps, you know, em, people back then would say oh America, you know that's burgers and coffee and donuts, but he somehow made it—was proud of it, incorporated it into his world class cuisine that was, you know… I thought it was quite interesting, I wanted to see that. So I went there for a stage the year after at the French laundry. And that's also another big mark in my culinary life, to see his place, his organizational skills, but also as an American in a country where there were only French top chefs, really making his own path. That was so inspirational. You say—you know the competition, my first apprenticeship, experience in Spain, and experience at the French laundry, that all blended, melded together with your background suddenly there was just an opportunity to open a restaurant in this old warehouse that used to store goods from the North and then it all came together.

You realize your 32 years old. You're a baby. Do you look to the future and see yourself doing this for the next hundred years or do you just see the present? (Banter)

REDZEPI: Cooking or being at the restaurant Noma.

Cooking.

REDZEPI: Cooking is always going to be a part of my life, for sure, one way or the other. I don't know what else I should do. That's it. And this is what I do and this is what really I enjoy. And it's a pleasure that every night—for me, having a restaurant or cooking is about giving. Every night you're giving something. The experience of giving to people is quite unique and something I enjoy a lot. And you make people happy. That's also something that I enjoy a lot and right now, I believe that in our part of the world we also do make a difference, we are shaping something which is also quite, em, pleasing to be a part of.

Before 15 you were gonna be a plumber…

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