Noma, Rated the World’s Best Restaurant, Is Closing Its Doors

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Mr. Redzepi, who has long acknowledged that grueling hours are required to produce the restaurant’s cuisine, said that the math of compensating nearly 100 employees fairly, while maintaining high standards, at prices that the market will bear, is not workable. “We have to completely rethink the industry,” he said. “This is simply too hard, and we have to work in a different way.”

The chef David Kinch, who last week closed his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Manresa, in Los Gatos, Calif., said, “the last 30 years were a gilded age,” when ambitious restaurants multiplied and became less formal and more exciting. His casual restaurants will remain open, but he said fine dining was no longer something he wanted to do himself, or to inflict on his staff, calling the work “backbreaking.”

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a strong counterpoint to the preceding eater article:

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I had just put that article aside to read after Ken from Now Serving posted it on his Instagram story.

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I don’t know enough (anything) about the finances of running any type of restaurant, but here are my thoughts from the Vox article (and I often find the “Future Perfect” section to be far more interesting and education than most of the “regular” section of that site…):

If we are looking at chefs as artists, then I don’t actually know if Noma’s closing “means” much, in the sense that art is always evolving and there will also be up and coming artists waiting for their time to break through.

I don’t think the idea of restaurant led by a singular, obsessional vision is “going” anywhere. It’s “just” that it may fall out of favor. Fewer of them may exist (esp clustered in areas that can’t sustain them w/ the local population alone). But there’s always going to be SOMEONE who wants their restaurant to be the highest expression of themselves and is able to actually make it happen (if perhaps only briefly). And there will always be a part of the population that responds positively to that.

“[K]nowledge of fine food” may fall out of fashion as “clear mark of cultural status.” And I might be kind of okay w/ that, especially, b/c I find food as a form of elitism to be kind of gross and icky.

Is this all sad? I don’t know. One of the articles talks about Redzepi being restless. I imagine that, like a lot of artists, lots of chefs can be restless and would want to move on to something else, at some point (but perhaps feel trapped by the hype and expectations they have created).

If Redzepi is closing Noma b/c he thinks it’s better for his emotional health (and if other chefs do the same thing for the same reason), can it really be considered “sad” that they are doing what they feel is in their own best interest?

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