World’s 'Best Restaurant' chef René Redzepi to speak at Yale

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René Redzepi

In a talk titled “Love Stories,” René Redzepi, the internationally renowned chef of the “Best Restaurant in the World,” will speak about his long romance with food on Monday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m. in Rm. 102, Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St.

Among the topics Redzepi promises to cover in his lecture are: “How the love for chicken made me a chef. How I came to love rotting seaweed, and the unlikely love story with a very old carrot.”

Redzepi is celebrated for creating and promoting the locally sourced Nordic cuisine served at NOMA, the restaurant he co-founded in a Copenhagen warehouse in 2004. In 2010 and 2011, NOMA was named “Best Restaurant in the World” by Restaurant Magazine, and in 2008 Redzepi’s culinary genius also earned him, at the age of 33, the title “International Chef of the Year” from the Spanish food magazine Lo Mejor de la gastronomica.

Eschewing many of the defining elements of Mediterranean cuisine, such as black olives, olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes, Redzepi instead uses ingredients and dishes that are indigenous to his native Denmark and Scandinavia generally: Among them, Iceland Skyr curd — a staple of the Viking diet — halibut, Greenland Musk Ox, native cereals and grains, and indigenous berries, plants, and herbs found in the region. The chef cooks with beer and ale rather than wine, and his menus pay homage to regional traditions for preserving food: salting, smoking, pickling, grilling and drying. Because many of the ingredients favored by Redzepi are not cultivated, foraging for wild food sources is also part of the NOMA mystique.

“I had the good fortune to eat there before it became ‘so famous,’ and I can assure you that we failed after the very first bite to find any topic of conversation that could be half as exciting as the food before us,” writes Jim Scott, co-director of the Program in Agrarian Studies, which is hosting the Yale visit by the award-winning chef and food guru.

The talk is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

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