Hello reddit friends, this is René Redzepi, here to answer as many of your questions as time permits.

About me: I am a chef from Denmark, son of an Albanian Muslim immigrant and a Danish mother. I trained in many restaurants around the world before returning home to Copenhagen and opening a restaurant called noma in 2003. Our restaurant celebrates the Nordic region’s ingredients and aims to present a kind of cooking that express its location and the seasons, drawing on a local network of farmers, foragers, and purveyors. In February 2017, we closed noma in the space we called home for 14 years. In February 2018, we reopened noma in a new location in Copenhage and turned our focus even more on the seasons of our region which helped us to define three distinct menus throughout the year.

I am the co-author of the new book, The Noma Guide to Fermentation, along with David Zilber, Director of Fermentation at noma. It is the first book of a series called the Foundations of Flavour intended to share what we do at the restaurant and make it accessible for home cooks. I am also the author of Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine and A Work in Progress.

In 2011 I founded MAD, a nonprofit organization that brings together a global cooking community with a social conscience, a sense of curiosity, and an appetite for change. Each year we gather some of the brightest minds of the food industry to discuss issues that are local, global, and personal. On MAD’s website you can watch talks from all symposiums (for free) as well as all of our articles: www.madfeed.co. In August 2017, they launched VILDMAD, a program and app for people of all ages designed to teach everyone how to be a forager, and how to cook everyday meals with wild ingredients. This fall, they published the collection of essays You and I Eat the Same, the first book of the MAD Dispatches series.

I’m also married, and my wife Nadine Levy Redzepi and I have three daughters: Arwen, Genta, and Ro.

My Instagram is @reneredzepinoma

Proof: https://i.redd.it/9wcviil1qms11.jpg

Comments: 545 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

ReneRedzepiNoma339 karma

Thank you everyone for the comments and questions! You guys are great and I wish we had more time, but we have to get back to the book tour. Thanks so much!

tempest_36235 karma

What's your favorite simple recipe or foodhack that everyone should know?

ReneRedzepiNoma1171 karma

Something that we do at home, thats a specialty from my wife, is to take the idea of a carbonara, and replace the pasta with other ingredients. For instance, take one whole egg per person, whisk it with a fork, and to that you add 1 full tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese, and then in a pan, cook up some bacon lardons, a tablespoon per person, and then cook as many mushrooms in there as you feel like eating. Finally, once cooked, as you constantly stir the contents of the pan, pour the egg mixture in slowly, so that it slowly coats the mushrooms all over, as the heat from the mushroom gently thickens the egg sauce, like in a real roman carbonara with pasta. Finish with lots of cracked black pepper. It works great with mushrooms, but you can do it with carrots, cabbages, kale is particularly good too! Super easy and it works everytime.

inconsssolable225 karma

What's the most surprisingly tasty food you've ever eaten?

And all the best in your endeavours!

ReneRedzepiNoma522 karma

The first time I took a six legged orange creature between my fingers, and then sunk my teeth into it, i experienced a burst of lemon, orange and coriander flavor. Tiny orange ants from Denmark. Growing up in the west, bugs are taboo. But since then things have changed for us at the restaurant.

inconsssolable89 karma

I'd always heard the had a acidic, citrus-ey flavour, but I'm not that adventurous! If I can ask a follow up, have you ever used bugs in a recipe?

Thanks for the reply!

ReneRedzepiNoma199 karma

Oh yeah! All the time! In the new fermentation book, there a recipe for a grasshopper ferment. It turns into a potent rich liquid thats a cross between soy sauce and mole in flavor.

artie_effim178 karma

Rene - for home cooks - what are the most basic things that we can ferment that can raise our roofs? Also, so cool - you are one of my most favorite food celebs - opening in Freetown Christiania just sets it!!

ReneRedzepiNoma341 karma

Making pickles in brine (from vegetables that aren't cucumbers, say, white asparagus, or cauliflower, or salsify) is a simple and super rewarding ferment. Add lots of aromatic spices to the mix to make them even more impressive, green coriander seeds, say, or fennel pods, or edible flowers even! Roses, and elderflower are amazing additions. All you need is salt, vegetables, water to cover and a mason jar. Make sure the salt content of everything in the jar is about 3-4 percent and your set to ferment. We LOVE pickles at the restaurant. And thank you for the kind words!

almondparfitt174 karma

how do you manage a kitchen with so many different international cooks coming in and out? wondering if it's a challenge w all the different languages/backgrounds to manage as a team.

ReneRedzepiNoma686 karma

MEGA. I could leave the answer at that, but while it does feel like being in the movie Lost in Translation sometimes at work (there was an incident where I asked a Mexican chef for a cut of meat, then he asked the German chef for help, and that person asked a Norwegian to do it - a piece of fish came back) but all those problems are dwarfed by the fact that we get to learn and see different approaches to things.

canadian9867118 karma

Do you have a system in place for all of the different temperatures needed for different fermentation projects? I.E a specific grouping of rooms at different temperatures that maximizes the potential for projects? Living in a small apartment I am trying to maximize the space for as many projects as possible at different temperatures. as a second to this are there any projects that should not be grouped together?

ReneRedzepiNoma214 karma

We do! At the restaurant we have ten different temperature controlled rooms, some with humidity, for all our projects. The more variable your environments, the more control you have in fermentation. Some as hot as 60°C others as cold as 10°C. The one thing we try to keep separate from others more than most, is vinegar, as the acetic acid is volatile (meaning it floats in the air and can actually sour other products in the room). But if you have good venitaltion, don't worry so much.

crowd__pleaser97 karma

If you could open up a restaurant any where in the world, where would it be and why?

ReneRedzepiNoma370 karma

If I could close everything in Copenhagen, and my family was happy to move with me, I think I'd go somewhere in the vicinity of Merida in Mexico. People there are the kindest, the foods grown there are extraordinary, the culture mind boggling and the climate tropical.

Nakji87 karma

Hi René! There are a number of "usual suspect" foods such as daikons and cabbages that are very popular and versatile in fermented applications. While they're of course very good (daikon kasuzuke might be my favourite vegetable ferment), I'm curious if there were any relatively common foods that you've tried that stood out as similarly versatile, but just seem to be overlooked by your average fermenter?

ReneRedzepiNoma157 karma

Of course, its understandable to see things like cabbages in every book written on fermentation. But for us at the restaurant, honestly, we ferment a lot of plums (by lacto-fermenting them). Everything from the stone fruit family does well in this means. When they're finished, they're at once savoury and sweet. We love them.

zapman999975 karma

What was the first fine dining restaurant you tried and how old were you?

ReneRedzepiNoma357 karma

I was 19. I had spent every single dime I had, on taking a bus to Spain. I went to the Basque country, and I ate at Arzak. It had (and still does) 3 Michelin stars and it was one of those pivotal moments in your culinary life that makes you think to yourself "Wow, I know nothing".

CharlieAzzurro71 karma

Hi Rene. Did you have to overcome any food fears? The idea of fermented food is difficult for me.

ReneRedzepiNoma233 karma

Plenty! All my life. You encounter one food taboo after another. With fermented food however, I think that if just understand a bit more, you won't be afraid of it. Coffee, for instance, is a beverage that comes through fermentation, so is beer, and wine. Your croissant in the morning. We already love and consume fermented foods on a daily basis. A lot of people mistakenly think its only about funky flavors and smells. If you buy the noma book, start with lactofermented fruits and vegetables, its a good place to begin.

Snatched67 karma

What was the most difficult ingredient you had to deal with?

ReneRedzepiNoma216 karma

Fermentation wise? Definitely pig's blood. We tried to ferment it for years, and every time it would smell like death. David Zilber got the bright idea to try to remove the hemoglobin with a centrifuge, but even then, it was a big fat NOPE.

BesottedGoat55 karma

How do you approach unfamiliar ingredients?

ReneRedzepiNoma234 karma

I put them on a highway to my mouth!c :)

8Unlimited854 karma

What surprised you the most when you wrote The Noma Guide to Fermentation?

ReneRedzepiNoma108 karma

That we were actually in the process of writing a book people could use! That was a lovely realization that it was going to be a practical book. While I'm proud of the other two books we've done it feels good to make something people will actually use.

JackPoe43 karma

Aren't you in Seattle right now?

My boss missed your talk at the Egyptian!

As a growing cook, I have a dream of traveling around Europe with my girlfriend and learning to cook in several restaurants over the next 10-15 years. Would you consider this a feasible game plan?

ReneRedzepiNoma64 karma

No! We just landed in L.A.

sickdarkthoughts43 karma

What inspired the veg menu at Noma this past season? What was your favourite new ingredient you used for that menu?

ReneRedzepiNoma116 karma

We had a specific focus on the Balkan region, a region thats part of my upbringing. The cuisine of the Ottoman Empire. That proved to be a bit of a skeleton that we then built on. It was best manifested in the shawarma we made for the main course out of slices of truffles and celeriac.

Thewondersofcoldbrew31 karma

Will you ever have an entire menu that is based around "fermentation", like how you did a vegetarian menu earlier this year and currently doing game and forest?

Also, I am bummed that I cannot make any of the book tour events :( Good luck with the rest of the tour!

ReneRedzepiNoma116 karma

We already do! No matter when you eat at noma, no matter the season, or the dish or the day, there isn't a single mouthfull of food at noma that doesn't include some sort of fermentation. Fermentation is about creating building blocks. Its not just about sauerkraut or a single pickle. There are hundreds of things we've invented over the years. And sometimes, its as little as 1 drop of say, quince vinegar, that makes all the difference in a sauce. Fermentation truly is our lifeblood at restaurant noma.

chixfinga30 karma

Hello Chef As somebody who has looked up to you for along time I would like to know. What is it like to see your impression on the culinary world? Too see the cooks/Chefs that have worked with you to go on to do amazing things ? How do you keep humble and focused and the mundane day to day tasks that are so important in any kitchen?

ReneRedzepiNoma94 karma

Watching people succeed--sometimes because of their work at noma we're able able to nudge them over that hill--that's better than better than Michelin stars. Its all about people and giving them opportunities. That's the driving force in Copenhagen I think. People actually try to help each other out. We try all of us to have both feet planted in the underbrush. Entitlement and jealousy, those are things that ruin success and opportunity in my opinion.

mdrum429 karma

Hi Rene, it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to ask you a question. As a young chef, what made you realize that you needed to step out of your comfort zone and try new ideas? Was the food you were producing not your “style” or were you just getting bored of it? Did other chefs think you were crazy because of what you envisioned? As a young chef myself, I struggle to find which cuisine makes me happiest to make. I am attending the event tonight in LA to learn and very excited to be using the Noma Fermentaion book for years to come

-Michael Vera

ReneRedzepiNoma45 karma

I don't know! When you're young, you want to try new things. It wasn't enough to keep doing the things that had already been done. I wanted to figure things out for myself. That was my driving force. To tell you the truth, sometimes I don't even know how things happened, We just did it, like a gut instinct.

luvlettr28 karma

As a chef that explores the science of fermentation, does noma, in addition to your team of chefs, also has a team of scientists to help you along the way to identify or understand the science /biology that goes into fermentation?

ReneRedzepiNoma56 karma

Yes we have in the past. Dr. Arielle Johnson played a big part in our understanding of fermentation, and since then we've had researches working everywhere from Standford to Cambridge come spend time with us. The cooks in the lab however are pretty well read (even though they don't have degrees).

chefdrewbacca25 karma

Hey René! After the massive success of Noma in Mexico, are there any other places you’d consider moving Noma to?

ReneRedzepiNoma63 karma

We have lots of ideas but we don't want to say too much just yet. BUT... we like warm places. (We're already freezing our asses off in Denmark, we're not going to go somewhere else to do that too.)

Justanothernerd123417 karma

What's the most popular item on your menu?

ReneRedzepiNoma63 karma

Right now our menu is focused on game meats. One serving that's kind of "wild" for people at first, is a serving where we basically have all the off cuts of a wild mallard duck - a part of that serving is eating the freshly cooked brain, the size of a hazelnut - but people always end up loving it. Its definitely a moment on the menu.

noregularplay17 karma

What is your favorite ferment from the new book? I'm particularly interested in reading more about koji. I've made misos and shoyus before but I'm sure koji has way more potential!

Also send my regards to David, I love following his crazy experiments on Instagram so I'm very excited for the book.

ReneRedzepiNoma32 karma

One of the most amazing things in there for me, is the chicken wing garum. Its a flavor that everyone will like. And you can use it EVERYWHERE when you cook! (except for maybe your yogurt in the morning).

bakere0515 karma

My wife and I have tried to get into home fermented foods for years, but we always quit after a few weeks because the vegetables look and smell pretty potent- we just aren't brave enough to really eat them, though we do usually try them.

Are there tips you discovered that might help us embrace our fermentations instead of being afraid of them?

ReneRedzepiNoma49 karma

I'll say this, starting with fruits is a far more accessible entry point. Plums or apples or pears or berries all ferment extremely well. There are so many bad recipes out there, and with you're just a little off with your measurements things can go sideways. Read our book from start to finish and we guarantee you'll feel less afraid.

ladygagadisco14 karma

Hey Mr Redzepi! I got the chance to visit Noma this March and I loved the incredible hospitality and incredible food that I experienced. A couple questions!

  1. Do you have any advice you can give to beginner foragers in urban environments? I love your app Vild Mad, but it can be hard to get started!

  2. If I mail you my copy of “Noma: Time and Place”, would you be open to signing it? 🙃

ReneRedzepiNoma27 karma

It can be hard to get started. You have to take your time and study. Learning what is and is not edible. You can eat the wrong thing and... you know, die. Violent diarrhea ect. You have to put in the work, search online, and find someone that can help you. And be patient, you'll learn things over time. I always recommend people to take care.

And as for the book, how about you just come visit us in Copenhagen.