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Noma – Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine: book review

30 September 2010
Noma – Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine: book review

Noma - Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine By René Redzepi
Phaidon Press, £35
ISBN 978 0 7148 5903 3

For those of you that have been on holiday or living under a stone for the past two years, René Redzepi is the chef-patron of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, which has recently been given the title of best restaurant in the world.

Redzepi has a passion for wild food, foraging and using the finest produce from Scandinavia, and is at the forefront of reinventing Nordic cuisine.

I was fortunate enough to eat at Noma last year and it was one of the most inspirational meals that I had enjoyed for many a year. Redzepi has a lightness of touch, and champions true flavours.

His first book, Noma Nordic Cuisine, is now one of the most sought-after cookbooks for chefs in the know, as it only had a limited release, so it was a great thrill to be asked to review his second book, Noma - Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine.

The book explores in depth the history of the rise of Noma and Redzepi's philosophy behind the creation of his recipes. It tells of the way he "jettisoned his baggage" from the top restaurants he had worked in, and began to create his own light and unique style.

It is an informative read, with wonderful photography by Ditte Isager, and it was lovely to see some of the foraged ingredients used in different ways.

In particular, look out for the pork neck and bulrushes, violets and malt; razor clams enrobed in a parsley gel with mussel juice; and Redzepi's much-copied horseradish snow, one of the standout dishes I had, and can still taste today!

In short, this is a fantastic book that will certainly please Redzepi's fans, me included, and undoubtedly earn him many more.

If I have one quibble, it is the book's layout. To have to look at pages of titles, followed by pages of pictures and then to have to go to the back for the recipe doesn't really work for me.

By David Everitt-Matthias, chef-proprietor, Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham

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