Noma: My Perfect Storm Blu-ray Review
If you’ve ever heard the old saying “Be careful what you wish for…you may get it,” then you have something in common with chef and restaurant owner Rene’ Redzepi. When we first meet him he is beaming from ear to ear as his restaurant, NOMA, is named the number one restaurant in the world for an amazing third straight year. Where else can you go from there?
Originally from Macedonia, Redzepi came up with a concept to open a restaurant in Copenhagen that only served “Nordic” cuisine. Not just the dishes themselves, but all of the ingredients had to come from the region. In Redzepi’s reasoning, cucumbers grown in the cold soil of Denmark have a more distinct flavor then ones grown in Spain.
As the restaurant begins to gain notoriety, it is Redzepi’s vision that keeps things interesting. One rival chef notes, “he’s not cooking supper anymore…he’s changing the world.” Whether having a man forage the forests for mushrooms or sending a worker out to collect live ants, Redzepi keeps to his promises to only feature the items that are seasonal to the region. As the restaurant earns a coveted third star and begins appearing on the world’s best lists business begins to boom. Where at one time a passing waiter might answer the phone for a reservation the restaurant’s web site is now continually crashing as people from all over the world try to get in for a meal. And as they only serve (45) sittings at lunch, with another (45) for dinner, you can imagine the length of time you need to wait for a table.
Of course, like in every success story, sudden tragedy strikes. After a featured menu item which features mussels is served, 63 diners are afflicted with Norovirus. In the states, Chipoltle has managed to survive in spite of this happening several times over the past year. For NOMA it is almost a death knell. New things are tried and slowly the restaurant gains back its reputation. However, after three years on top they are dropped to number two on the world’s best list. And while for most of the film Redzepi has maintained that the world ranking does not matter to him, it is obvious that his pride has been hurt and he demands more of both himself and his staff to ensure a better showing.
I found the film quite interesting, even if I’m not the perfect audience for it. I am a steak and potato kind of person and to me a few leaves with a jelly sauce on a plate is not in the remote sense appetizing. A few years ago, when I was in Washington D.C. doing some research for a book I had dinner with a couple that were a part of the story. I have no recollection of what I had but I can tell you this: dinner cost me around fifty bucks…and I went to McDonalds after we said our goodbyes!
If the inner workings or a restaurant are something you find interesting, or if you are a “closet” chef, I think you will enjoy this film. Keep some popcorn nearby. It will make you hungry.
Video: Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, the film makes great use of the various brightly colored dishes served at the restaurant. The outdoor shots of the Nordic landscape are post card pretty.
Audio: The soundtrack is delivered in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1. Even though the film has been shot in Denmark, the majority of the subjects speak English. The dialogue is delivered loud and clear.
Deleted Scenes (10:44): Three deleted scenes are included; “René Redzepi Coming to Noma,” “The Butter Maker Family” and “The Eggs.”
Testing the Menu (20:51): A delicious look at some of the more creative dishes, including Fermented Gooseberries, Kohlrabi in Kohlrabi, Flat Bread with Grilled Roses and Making Flat Bread with Grilled Roses.
Noma Cuisine Gallery (2:42): Like a digital menu. Be our guest!