From Crack Den to Urban Farm
September 14, 2015 9:21 PM   Subscribe

René Redzepi Plans to Close Noma, Reopen It as an Urban Farm. Mr. Redzepi, 37, the godfather of the New Nordic movement and the chef at Noma, arguably the world’s most influential restaurant at the moment, was standing outside what looked like an auditorium-size crack den. Used spray-paint cans lay in heaps amid the weeds of an abandoned lot. Street art covered the walls of an empty warehouse; inside, teenagers rumbled around on skateboards. “Welcome to the new Noma,” the chef René Redzepi said on a bright summer day. “This is it.”
posted by nightrecordings (24 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Basically: Whither Ferran Adria goest, so goes Redzepi.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:34 PM on September 14, 2015


I'm sorry, but..... "Crack den?"

How the hell did that get past an editor?
posted by schmod at 10:10 PM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, this place will be sustainable (ie: harvesting the food they grow), but certainly unaffordable, right?
posted by el io at 10:32 PM on September 14, 2015


I'm kinda curious how "abandoned" this place actually is (hi, skateboarding teenagers). The crack den remark bothered me because I've read other articles where starry-eyed hipsters "discovered" spaces where decidedly undesirable people were congregating and turned those spaces into their bourgeois fantasylands. What happens to the people who were using the space before? I'm not saying drugs and skateboarding are the highest and best use; it just hurts a little when people who aren't affluent are rendered invisible or like trash.
posted by mirepoix at 10:39 PM on September 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Basically: Whither Ferran Adria goest, so goes Redzepi.

I would have thought Dan Barber.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:56 PM on September 14, 2015


Jeez, people, the NYT framing is certainly weird, but the dude is planning an urban farm on an abandoned lot in Copenhagen. That seems pretty low on the list of things to be upset about.

And Ferran Adria is definitely not farming.
posted by ssg at 10:58 PM on September 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


If this is right outside Christiania, it's adjacent to the heart of downtown Copenhagen. Christiania, if you're not familiar with it, is a sort of semi-independent hippie commune that goes back and forth with the authorities on the legality of marijuana and other stuff.

So no, probably not some far-off abandoned warehouse, probably some place that's just been left to seed a little. I'd guess it's this long building here, based off the photos and description. Looks like a restaurant is right across the street.
posted by JauntyFedora at 11:05 PM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Crackheads don't build skateparks or write graffiti like that, and they don't live in Christiania.

I'm all for sustainable farming and eating and fine cooking, but this is coming off as bourgeois as fuck. This reeks of gentrification.

If someone came into the art/music commune that I lived in that worked worse than this and announced they were going to turn it into a gastronome's paradise just because it was next to a farmer's market I would have made the news by chaining myself to a bulldozer.

Not the least because we often made and invented food there that would startle world class chefs.
posted by loquacious at 12:25 AM on September 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


And I'm hoping there's some missed point to the article like cultural awareness, inclusiveness and/or training opportunities, but I have no idea why they would omit those details yet include "crack den" because what the fuck!?
posted by loquacious at 12:27 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


His plans are nothing if not ambitious. He will put a greenhouse on the roof. He will dig out the dank old asphalt lot and truck in fresh soil. He wants part of the farm to float.

“We’ll build a raft and we’ll put a huge field on the raft,” he said. “We need a full-time farmer with a team.”


And sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads to protect it all.
posted by three blind mice at 1:54 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


loquacious: "I'm all for sustainable farming and eating and fine cooking, but this is coming off as bourgeois as fuck. This reeks of gentrification."
It'll fit right in in the neighbourhood, then. I think JauntyFedora has the location right. The closest apartment for sale I can find (a couple hundred metres away) is four rooms, 137 m² offered at around a million USD.
posted by brokkr at 2:16 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and right across the harbour basin in the old torpedo boat yard: 4 rooms, 140 m², 1,440,000 USD. But then you also get your own yacht mooring.
posted by brokkr at 2:22 AM on September 15, 2015


...the godfather of the New Nordic movement and the chef at Noma, arguably the world’s most influential restaurant at the moment, was standing outside what looked like an auditorium-size crack den.

Oh snap. I was just talking to a friend and trying to bring up a textbook example of gentrification justified by bullshit.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:44 AM on September 15, 2015


"Marge, this isn't a food restaurant! It's a meth restaurant! A meth-taurant!!"
posted by Roentgen at 5:03 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Of course it isn't sustainable if it relies on a customer base of ultra-rich jet-setters.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:33 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sustainable, for economic values of the word, if not environmental.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:38 AM on September 15, 2015


overeducated_alligator: "Of course it isn't sustainable if it relies on a customer base of ultra-rich jet-setters."
Noma is well within reach of many locals (bearing in mind that Copenhagen in general is stupid-expensive by European standards). I have a few acquaintances that have eaten there on special occasions. The hard part seems to be getting a table.
posted by brokkr at 7:04 AM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am not an ultra-rich jet-setter but I consider Noma to be affordable as a one-time splurge for me. My biggest problem is being able to actually afford to get to Copenhagen itself.
posted by Kitteh at 7:31 AM on September 15, 2015


Basically: Whither Ferran Adria goest, so goes Redzepi.

They're doing entirely different things, and for different reasons. Juli Soler (the GM and co-owner of elBulli) once said he got into the business to say yes to people, and at millions of reservation requests a year he was having to say no too often. Adria said that he would stop when he felt his creativity had run out--and creating ~1800 completely new dishes, inventing new techniques, is a lifetime's worth of creativity. Closing elBulli to create the foundation/museum/research space was a pretty logical outgrowth of those attitudes and of what exactly it was they'd been doing since 1987. Research and innovation; in many ways the restaurant itself was secondary.

noma and Redzepi have, since about a year after they opened, been all about hyperlocality, foraging, and what they call 'a sense of place' in their cooking. Quote: " Lately he has been asking himself broad existential questions about what it means to be a local restaurant in the Nordic region. “What are we?” he said. “And how do we progress?”"

It's hard to get more local than growing your own food. And Adria has shuttered elBulli entirely; they may end up serving the odd meal here or there for charity or whatever, but they are done as a restaurant. noma is evolving.

And, yeah, noma's not that expensive, especially in its various contexts.

I do hope (vainly, probably) that they keep the graffiti though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:05 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Oh snap. I was just talking to a friend and trying to bring up a textbook example of gentrification justified by bullshit."

I didn't know expensive neighborhoods could be gentrified.
posted by I-baLL at 8:23 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Strange, just yesterday I was walking past noma and thinking that location isn't attractive anymore. Before the site of the restaurant was central, but a bit mysterious and very open. Now they've built condominiums and that bridge mentioned in the article right next by, and it has become very crowded.
JauntyFedora is right, I think - and crack den it is not - we have sometimes rented it short term for projects. It is also not Christiania. I have noticed a lively activity there recently. (I work halfway between this site and the current noma, and I am very involved in Christiania).
Redzepi is not at all a first mover here, urban farms/ urban gardening is trending in Copenhagen right now, with AMASS being one example and Østergro another. Actually, I don't think he is so much about being first at anything - rather he really wants to be best. Was this interview on the blue previously?
I've eaten there twice - and I love it. Once there was a really small pay for a job coming in, and I suggested that the client and I go out and eat instead. This was before it was famous, and just a lovely experience. Next time was also job-related, and it had become the best restaurant in the world (but not more expensive). It was more gimmicky but still a food experience and great fun to share with colleagues.
posted by mumimor at 9:59 AM on September 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Just in: Christiania welcomes her new neighbor (in Danish)
posted by mumimor at 1:59 PM on September 15, 2015


via John Birdsall on Twitter: "Re Noma: The weird saga of Vernon & Charlene Rollins, who in the 1980s, in Boonville CA, grew everything they cooked."
posted by larrybob at 8:23 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


For all its problems, Boonville's full of people realizing their culinary dreams- land of the the first microbrews I ever ran into, full-bodied wines that were on the sweet (= uncool) side. And less than an hour away (close by Mendocino County standards), Mendocino had the first "artisan" roasted coffee to be found in NorCal outside of North Beach in San Francisco.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:39 PM on September 17, 2015


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