How an army survival guide inspired a chef’s quest for culinary and health excellence… by Jordan Anthony-Brown
Culinary inspiration can come from all types of places. A cookbook. An old family recipe. A trip abroad.
For Rene Redzepi, it came from a Swedish army survival guide.
It’s this inspiration that’s enabled Redzepi to build what is, by some measures, the best restaurant in the world (second best now, but unless you’re Ricky Bobby, that’s pretty damn good). And oddly, despite the success of Noma – the culinary gem of Copenhagen – the Danish view that food is a source of sustenance (not pleasure) led to some early criticisms of Redzepi (he was once called a “seal f*cker”). However, he’s since brought culinary glory to his native Denmark – a country not typically known for its food culture.
Redzepi’s chance encounter with the survival guide inspired his unique culinary philosophy; one not just focused on cooking, but also on conscious consideration of how ingredients are gathered and acquired, and where they’re acquired from. He is a heavy proponent of foraging, and eating in an environmentally sustainable manner; particularly doing so locally to highlight the richness of your own surroundings – as he’s done in Denmark. Through this philosophy, he’s hoping to teach more people to become ardent explorers of the edible world, and responsible consumers of food. Because everything is more delicious when you feel good about what you’re eating, and how it got on your plate.
Take a look at the video to hear more from the chef in his own words. And check out those wild onions growing in your backyard – they might taste great tossed with some fresh pasta.