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‘World’s Best Restaurant’ Noma Is Closing in 2024

Chef René Redzepi now says the fine dining model on which he built an empire of 20 years is “unsustainable”

Rene Redzepi at Noma

Noma, the serial “world’s best restaurant” and three-Michelin-starred venue in Copenhagen run by chef René Redzepi, has announced that it will permanently close in 2024.

As first reported by the New York Times, the restaurant which pioneered the idea of New Nordic dining, and which has been responsible for the locavore, hyper-seasonal, high-acid cooking and Scandinavian minimalism that has dominated Western fine dining in the last decade and a half, “will become a full-time food laboratory.”

Here, a team will develop new dishes and products for Noma Projects, its e-commerce outfit; the dining rooms will open only for pop-ups, while Redzepi’s future roll will be closer to chief creative officer than chef.

It comes as Redzepi appears to have realised that the model on which Noma is built — an extremely labour-intensive and expensive operation, which relies on voluntary work and cheap labour — is no longer sustainable. The modern fine-dining model that he helped create was no longer viable, Redzepi told the New York Times. “Financially and emotionally, as an employer and as a human being, it just doesn’t work.”

The restaurant, which first opened in 2003 and which through its two main iterations has been named the “world’s best restaurant” a total of five times, only earned its third Michelin star in the autumn of 2021.

It will remain open for the remainder of the year, before the dining room closure and changes to the business are enacted in 2024.