Rene Redzepi on ingredients and locality

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rene at Noma in August 2015. The entire interview was published in the Dolce Vita magazine, here I am publishing it in chapters. This is chapter 3. Read also introduction ,  chapter 1 and chapter 2.

Rene loves challenges. He created a culinary revolution, he changed the ways people perceive food. What was is/was the greatest challenge?

Rene Redzepi. Photo: HdG photography

The hardest part is still unsolved. The greatest challenge is to create strong supplier chains. Great ingredients are still a problem. Sometimes for example it’s easier to get a good onion from Germany than locally. It sounds unbelivable, but it’s true, even if we work directly with the farmers. It simply happens that farmers run short of something that we really need. So question which appears constantly is: what is really local?

Hamburg is only two and half hours away from here, so it is local. It is closer than Stockholm, which is on the other side more local on the cultural level.

We are recently much more flexible about locality than we were at our beginnings. Just think of the famous Danish bisquits: spices traditionally used – for example cardamom and cinamon – are not Danish and yet those bisquits are an old traditional product. So we started to be more flexible and now we use even chocolate. We never used chocolate before because I was insisting on local ingredients – that was to explore our terroir, to discover new edible ingredients and develop new ways to use them. Locality was a challenge to creativity. With limited ingredients you have to be much more creative. All this allowed us also to develop typical Danish flavours – flavours of nature and fermentation – and to show them to the world. When I visited Japan I saw that what we do is not a sprint but  marathon. There is still so much to discover and to work on …

Go to chapter 4.

By Andreja Lajh

Berries and greens soaked in vinegar for one year at Noma. Photo: HdG photography

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