The best restaurant in the world Noma will close due to unbearable working conditions
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After numerous scandals, the restaurant has been in the restaurant since last year started paying interns, but this increased the cost of the restaurant by 50 thousand dollars a month.
Finnish chef Kim Mikkola, who has worked at Noma for four years, said creating fine dining tends to be abused.
“The whole suite is built on someone's back. Someone always has to pay ” said Mikkola, who opened his own restaurant after an internship in Copenhagen. True, his establishment is more democratic and serves sandwiches with fried chicken.
In addition to working conditions, the restaurant and Redzepi have been criticized for their attitude towards employees. In 2015, he himself admitted that he was often rude, although he tried to be more restrained.
“In an ideal restaurant, employees would work four days a week, feel confident, secure and creative. The problem is how to pay them enough to afford children, a car and a house in the suburbs,” said Redzepi.
Namrata Hegde, 26, who graduated from culinary school in Hyderabad, India, has been training at Noma since 2017 for three months. She made beetles from fruit skins. Beetles are served to guests in wooden boxes.
She said that this was her only job. She collected bugs with tweezers and it taught her how to be quick, quiet and organized, but did not teach her how to cook. “I didn't expect to only use a knife a couple of times a day, or to be told I didn't need a tasting spoon because there was nothing to taste.” – the girl confessed.
Hegde said that the junior chefs she helped forced her to work in silence, Redzepi himself rarely appeared in the kitchen and she was forbidden to laugh.“I thought the internship was for learning and also to contribute to Noma's success. I don't think such a toxic work environment is necessary for the job,” she said.
A Noma spokesperson stated that all restaurant workers are required to perform repetitive tasks and that Hegde's report “does not reflect our job or the experience we want our interns or anyone on our team to have.”
Danish activist Lisa Lind Dunbar, a restaurant industry veteran from Copenhagen who did not work for Noma, noted that a code of loyalty among Noma alumni, including chefs at many of Copenhagen's top restaurants, prevents restaurant workers from talking about working conditions, sexual harassment and other issues.
“It's the mafia mentality, and he's a don. Nobody challenges him publicly or privately,” she said of Redzepi.
The restaurant said that this is an inaccurate wording, and Redzepi himself admitted that there were problems in his restaurant and tried to fix them.
After closing for visitors, the restaurant will turn into a food laboratory: they will come up with new dishes there, as well as prepare goods for the Noma Projects online store. Sometimes the restaurant will receive guests. Redzepi himself will continue to work, but rather as a creative director than as a chef.
The Noma restaurant opened in Copenhagen in 2003. Noma is an abbreviation of nordisk (northern) and mad (food).
They served reimagined Scandinavian cuisine using local produce. The menu included such original products as lichens, spruce twigs, local forest herbs, bone marrow and duck brains. Among the hits of the restaurant were: roasted reindeer heart on a pillow of fresh pine and saffron ice cream in a bowl of beeswax. The tasting menu cost at least $500 per person.
Over the past two years, the restaurant has received a third Michelin star, and also topped the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world for a record fifth time.
But even when Noma closes, there will still be Geranium in Copenhagen, which last year won the best restaurant in the world and was awarded in London.