Noma, New Nordic Food and Modern Latvian Cuisine

Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen has been named the best restaurant in the Nordic Region, beating off competition in the final round from Mathias Dahlgren (Sweden), Bagatelle (Norway), Dill (Iceland) and Savoy (Finland).

Noma, which is an abbreviation of "Nordic food" in Danish, has been one of the most succesful restaurants in the world in recent years.  

Run by its head chef René Redzepi, the restaurant has two Michelin stars and has also been named the third best restaurant in the world.

René Redzepi actively promotes Nordic cuisine, both at Noma and in his capacity as an ambassador for the Nordic Council of Ministers' programme New Nordic Food, which promotes Nordic food culture and gastronomy as well as design and tourism associated with food. The programme drew to a close at the end of last year but received a new mandate until 2014.

Kaspars Jansons, chef of the Hotel Bergs restaurant in Riga, spent almost a month at Noma as part of his experience exchange within the NordProLink program. Here’s an excerpt from his interview:

- It is a chef’s dream restaurant in all respects, be it the manner of work organisation, its performance, or serving. It’s like a perfect clock mechanism where 12 cooks are involved! No external factors are allowed to distort the perfection of the final result. It is ensured by the impeccable daily routine, high standarts of individual responsibility and prestige.

- What you get at Noma is rather a whole new concept, where the main emphasis is put on treating Scandinavian food products in an innovative way with the help of the newest technologies. The chefs are trying to highlight all the uniqueness of Scandinavian products and their taste. Ecological produce and local farming are particularly accentuated.

The New Nordic Food initiative served as an inspiration for the Latvian Chef’s Club. In autumn 2009 it founded a similar movement called Modern Latvian Cuisine. With the help of specifically selected 10 basic principles, or a so-called manifesto, Latvian chefs are encouraged to use Latvian products. Particular attention should be paid to choosing seasonal, ecologically grown and environmentally friendly high-quality ingredients, as well as to promote Latvian cuisine internationally and to lay foundation for new culinary traditions.