Erik Olsson

Noma’s masterchef talks favorite European food destinations, the most underrated cuisine, and the meal he’d cook to impress women.

April 21, 2015

Yesterday René Redzepi, widely considered the best chef in the world, took to Reddit to answer the internet’s questions. The result is an amazingly candid interview, wherein the Noma co-owner talks craft beer, poached eggs, and why his dishwasher is the best on the planet.

On European food destinations:

“San Sebastián, as a destination in and of itself, it needs to be tried. […] Then there's also La Boqueria Market in Barcelona. Wine bar hopping in Paris (there's a real boom of small fresh wine bars popping up), kick the experience off at Chateaubriand or Verre Vole with a lunch or dinner and have them recommend the next places- have them pass on the baton (it's a good way to travel, by letting the locals decide).”

On the emergence of craft beer:

“It's a phenomenon that I personally really like, to see a bigger range and diversity of beers.”

On his top three flavors/seasonings/herbs:

“I really can't choose just one two or three, as every season I seem to have a favorite just for that period. Right now it's definitely ramsons (the mild flavor of green garlic is a favorite).”

On the most underrated cuisine:

“Mexican! Mexican cuisine to me is on par with the 'classic' greats-- French, Japanese, Italian... but unfortunately it's often viewed instead as quick, cheap eats. I find that to be wrong.”

On finding the closest thing to Noma in North America:

“I'd have to say that it's probably Willow's Inn on Lummi Island. Not just Blaine worked here but because he's tapping into the Native American knowledge bank, which I personally think is an untapped resource.”

On the greatest experience of his life:

“The trip to Japan. […] Being together with the team so intensely was inspiring and touching- even when I think of it just now I get the chills.”

On whether he puts vinegar in the water when poaching an egg:

“Yes I do!”

On Gordon Ramsay:

“Yea he was here, he hated it. But he was nice about it :)”

On his dishwasher, the “best in the world”:

“Our dishwasher is the happiest person I know. Besides that, he's about 55, and his name is Ali. My own father is 57 and his name is Ali too! For half his life he was also a dishwasher, so Ali (our dishwasher) has really become the father figure of the restaurant. He does help out in the kitchen but mostly he's busy keeping everything clean and tight and making everybody smile.”

On his mother:

“I love my mother more than anything, but she was raised in post-war protestant Denmark and unfortunately great cooking wasn't a thing back then. My father did all the cooking though, and he was damn good!”

On the meal that will “impress the ladies”:

“Lasagna.”

On whether a hamburger is a type of sandwich:

“Well is pizza a pie?”

Amy Schellenbaum is the digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @acsbaum.

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