Today noma hosted the first MADMonday in their staff restaurant. MADMondays are a new initiative from the MADSymposium team around René Redzepi. Redzepi had opened the doors to his über-hyped restaurant’s staff area and invited everyone in to discuss creativity led by a panel of cooks and and other creative minds.
Copenhagen is (still) cold and dark so it was wonderful to be greeted with a steaming bowl of chicken and vegetable soup upon entering noma. Wonderfully casual, no fancy pants hors d’oeuvres today (but with a lemony twist, yummy!)
Also I was expecting press, food- and non-food celebs and smart hang arounds. There were some of all these types but mainly the crowd was dominated by young and casual people and René and his people created an atmosphere that made everyone feel at home and the audience at ease to ask questions. Rasmus Kofoed with his (?) young kid in his arms, plastic bowls and spoons, wooden benches.
On those benches we spent more than an hour with René and his four guests, the Danish writer Knud Romer, chefs Paul Cunningham and Erwin Lauterbach and artist Tal R. They all spoke about what creativity means to them and their work. Like how restrictions and scarcities of fresh produce force you to use what you have at hand and make something out of it. Or how being in a dark black hole forces you to rise and think out of the box. How stealing ideas from others is not just tolerable but often the only way forward (well at Dante Alighieri’s times it even was a virtue…).
The noma people were wonderful hosts who kicked us out in the end (“get out of here, we need to clean up” René told us when finishing) and gave us a cookie and a beer on the way.
Copenhagen is the place to be in the food world right now René rightly said. He knows that these times may be over very soon but he does his share to keep creativity going with this kind of events. Thanks for sharing and inviting, René!
If all the creativity talk leaves you with an urge to get out and into the kitchen, here is a challenge for you. Come up with a recipe including some of these ingredients from the shelves of the noma staff invention area (palm skin!!???).