There’s a reason that Noma sits atop the list of the world’s best restaurants, and has done so almost since its inception 20 years ago. Every bite, every dish, every course, every menu surprises, delights, challenges, startles, and deeply satisfies in a way that’s unique in the world of dining. As Pete Wells wrote recently, in praising Noma’s flavors, “sauces are administered so subtly that you don’t notice anything weird going on; you just think you’ve never tasted anything so extraordinary in your life.” In The Art of Noma, René Redzepi digs deep into the creation of 100 classic Noma dishes that exemplify the restaurant’s magic.
The Art of Noma is about true seasonality, from game in the fall to just-picked peas in the summer. It is about using local ingredients, and only local ingredients, to build a cuisine that is profoundly situated in its place and culture. It is about transforming the ordinary—a mushroom, a chicken wing—often through fermentation, to develop haunting, memorable flavors. It is about composing a plate that delights the eye as much as the palate, whether the tromp l’oeil of a “flowerpot” chocolate cake or the dazzling mandala of flowers and berries. It is about pushing the boundaries of what we think is edible—ants as seasoning, a live shrimp that explodes with the essence of the North Atlantic. And it is about following an uncompromising vision of what a meal can be, arguing, with every dish set before the diner, that food belongs in the pantheon of arts like painting, music, poetry.
For foodies, for chefs, for art lovers, and for the kind of reader who is compelled by the ephemeral yet thrilling idea that sometimes, yes, one person can change everything, The Art of Noma is the gift book of the season.