Friday, October 1, 2010

Eating at Noma the # 1 Restaurant in the world, with a stop in London along the way!

For my birthday, the hubby said let's use up the air miles and go on a trip, how romantic, but not to be deterred I said London for the first leg of the trip and he chose Copenhagen for the next part. Yes, we booked this in the spring before Noma became #1 restaurant. Chef Redzepi's publisher Phaidon called and said guess what we're publishing Noma cookbook and we would like to bring Rene Redzepi to Toronto, and so a holiday now became part "work research" as of course we had to eat at Noma! Luncheon reservation secured off we traveled.

In London, Jamie Oliver and family welcoming their new son, Buddy Bear, managed to get on the front pages of the tabloids just in time before being bumped with the Pope's arrival........
We decided to forgo high dining in favour of doing the markets and every food shop we happened upon. Partridges food shop, near the Saatchi Gallery, we stumbled upon and well worth a detour especially on a Saturday when there was a wonderful farmers market set up in the plaza out front. Timmy's Pies were delicious, as were the Cumberland sausages. Neal's Yard Dairy also had a stall with too many cheeses, well there's never too many cheeses!

Raspberry Meringue from Ottolenghi
So Borough Market,(Brindisa Spanish foods), Spitalfields(Leons), Portobello, Brick Lane(street food stalls and the famous Biegal Bakery) with stops at three out of the four Ottolenghi in between. Whole Foods Market in Kensington was a site to behold of beautifully displayed seasonal, local products.  Apple season in full swing we decided to make different apple ciders our quest. The winner was Aspall English Cider made from Bramley and Cox apples, truly the best tasting apples around. Runner up was Copella Apple Cider pressed from Boxford Farm in Suffolk.
Biegel Bakery in Brick Lane

But the highlight  was the trip to Copenhagen and Noma. Located in a centuries old customs warehouse over looking the water where you can see Copenhagen's stunning new opera house.
Danish Opera House
Chef Rene Redzepi and Alison

Noma was a 27 "course" almost 5 hour lunch, no written menu. It was an incredible homage to locally sourced or foraged ingredients. Presentation of "courses" is mostly done by the chefs (35 of them in the kitchen, 17 nationalities) using a playful turn on platters and serving dishes, for example a weekend foraging trip had turned up beautiful stones which they used to serve. After a warm welcome at our seats the waiter said with an understated flourish - here is your first course and slid the flower vase into the middle of the table filled with edible flower, pea shoots and herbs!  The rest was a sublime 4+ hours of them asking us if we were full yet and us saying no, so the food parade blissfully kept coming. There was no sense that technology had come between you and the ingredients, such was the reverence paid to the food.

Chef Redzepi is an intellectually interesting man who is curious not just about cooking, but food in the context of culture, specifically Scandinavian culture.We had a long discussion on language which morphed into Chef giving us a brief history of Scandinavia. I cannot begin to tell how impressed we were and came away saying what an interesting person Chef was, beyond the discussion of food.

Nordic is a trend to watch - (in all facets not just food), and Rene Redzepi will lead the vanguard becoming an international celebrity and you can see him on October 9th as The Cookbook Store hosts Rene for an onstage interview, Q & A and book signing.

Chef Rene Redzepi in Toronto exclusively
with The Cookbook Store
Saturday October 9th, 12:30pm
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. West
Tickets $65, includes copy of the cookbook Noma
Available only through The Cookbook Store

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