5 p.m. Oct. 24, Linsley-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St., Room 102.
Ah, Copenhagen. No, it's not the place with all the marijuana cafes. (Close, though.) No, it's not in Sweden. You know, Copenhagen. Home to Legoland, the Carlsberg brewery, Hamlet, the Little Mermaid statue, and ... the best restaurant in the world?
According to several media outlets that are in a position to dispense such accolades, yes. Noma holds two Michelin stars. It's been named the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine and San Pellegrino.
So why should you care about some restaurant in Copenhagen? Because Noma didn't become the best restaurant in the world by serving foie gras, truffle oil, and saffron. It got there by serving things like quail eggs, herring, langoustines, and thinly sliced dark rye bread. Chef-owner René Redzepi also doesn't just source his ingredients locally. He even goes so far as to forage them himself.
And the restaurant prepares these sometimes hyper-local ingredients through a combination of molecular gastronomy (e.g., foam, nitrogen, etc.; Redzepi worked in the kitchen at Barcelona's famed El Bulli before starting Noma) and more traditional Nordic food preparation techniques — like smoking, drying, and pickling. The restaurant's name is itself a portmanteau of two Danish words "Nordisk" (or nordic), and "Mad" (food).
So why should New Haven care about what happens in a converted warehouse in Copenhagen (which isn't even the city where you can smoke pot)? Well, it's simple. New Haven positions itself as a food mecca for the New England region. And a hefty portion of our local economy rests on the foodservice and hospitality industry. Close to 15% of the area's population finds work in restaurants. And restaurants generate a tremendous amount of revenue.
Just like Noma, New Haven's best restaurants emphasize fresh before fancy. Places like Caseus, Bespoke, Miya's, 116 Crown, and others present innovative cuisine by connecting to local food sources. And there are more of those in New Haven than we can shake a stick at.
Like the Yale Sustainable Food Project, who brought Redzepi here to give a talk on Monday, October 24, as part of National Food Day (which should be every day, really.) He'll be speaking at Linsley-Chittenden Hall (63 High St.) in room 102 at 5:00 pm.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times