Presumably because the Michelin inspectors have finally realized how shitty metal it is to serve a bird’s brain fried with tempura in your own skull, Noma has finally earned its third Michelin star.
The Nordic Guide 2021 published today with the press release citing the “strong connection to nature and its holistic approach” of the Copenhagen restaurant in creating “creative and complex dishes”. Restaurants that receive the three-star ranking usually fall into different categories for which Noma has always set an example: long tasting menus with well-thought-out drink pairs, strong front-of-house service and well-executed cuisine that is worth it theoretically worth it to travel around the world.
In Michelin parlance, two stars mean “excellent cuisine that is worth a detour”, while three stars mean “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special trip”. Trophy hunters and gourmets have long been making the pilgrimage to Copenhagen to dine in the traditional restaurant of chef René Redzepi.
Noma has held two Michelin stars for almost its entire existence – even after the celebrated relaunch in 2018 in a new location with a new, seasonally changing menu. This relaunch sparked a new string of reviews from critics in the US (who don’t usually travel overseas for their regular articles). Jonathan Gold from the Los Angeles times, Tom Sietsema from the Washington Post, and Pete Wells of the everyone flew to Denmark to make the changes and most of them raved about it. (During the pandemic, Noma briefly became an outdoor wine and burger bar, but reopened for full-service dining in July 2020.)
Speculation as to why René Redzepi’s restaurant eluded three-star status – after being on the list of the 50 best in the world several times and generally influencing an entire generation of gourmet chefs to research more closely what time, place and maybe even lichen? common to their cuisine – have become widespread over the years, with various Michelin folks making cryptic declarations like “It’s about the food” and “We are very strict and inflexible on our criteria”.
Over on Instagram, the restaurant posted a photo with the three Michelin stars with a long sentence that began: “The seemingly impossible has happened.”