Noma, the ‘world’s best restaurant’, to close its doors in 2024 as fine dining model ‘no longer sustainable’

The founder of multi award-winning Copenhagen restaurant Noma has announced the venue’s shock closure – as he insisted the entire industry needs a rethink.

Noma, the three Michelin Star restaurant renowned as one of the best in the world, will cease trading by 2024. In a shock move, Noma’s founder, chef Rene Redzepi, wrote on his Instagram page: “Winter 2024 will be the last season of noma as we know it. We are beginning a new chapter; noma 3.0.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Redzepi appeared to acknowledge the fine dining model he helped create was no longer sustainable.

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With Noma’s tasting menu, which includes dishes such as grilled reindeer heart on a bed of fresh pine, and saffron ice cream in a beeswax bowl, coming in around £450 a person, this isn't’ a cheap night out.

Noma will close its doors at the end of 2024

That, plus the fact the restaurant is run in an extremely labour intensive manner may spell the end of Noma-style fine dining as we know it.

Redzepi said the long, gruelling hours, plus the amount needed to pay workers fairly, was not workable. He said: “We have to completely rethink the industry. This is simply too hard, and we have to work in a different way."

Scotland has ten Michelin Star restaurants, with some already rethinking their working week and offerings.

The Peat Inn in Fife announced it would no longer be running a lunch service due to staffing issues, while Anstruther’s The Cellar went down to a four-day working week in 2021.

Mette Brink Soberg, R&D chief manager of the world-class Danish restaurant Noma, working on a dish. Picture: Thibault Savary/AFP via Getty Images

Glasgow’s Cail Bruich operates on a long-booking schedule, where guests can book for slots within a three-month period. Glasgow’s other Michelin Star restaurant, Unalome by Greame Cheevers, offers guests an affordable lunch menu as well as longer tasting dinner menus.

Noma, which opened in 2003, blazed the trail for hyper-local, Scandinavian style dining that has been copied globally. The venue will become a full-time food laboratory as of 2025. Here chefs will develop dishes for Noma Projects, an e-commerce business, while the dining rooms may play host to Noma pop-ups in the future.

Noma gained a coveted third Michelin Star in 2021 and has been named the ‘world’s best restaurant’ five times, making it ineligible to win that title again.

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How has Noma influenced Scottish chefs and food?

An inside view of the Danish restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Picture: Thibault Savary/AFP via Getty Images

Foraged ingredients are a huge part of Noma’s dishes – a trend that can be seen more and more in Scottish restaurants.

Mark Donald, head chef at The Glenturret Lalique restaurant, worked at Noma. Mr Donald has consistently worked in award-winning restaurants, and ensured The Glenturret Lalique was awarded a Michelin Star just seven months after it opened in 2021.

Noma’s influence can also be seen in Ben Reade, who set up Edinburgh’s Food Studio in 2015. Mr Reade was the head of research and development at Noma’s food lab, and brought this science-meets-culinary-excellence to the Scottish capital when it opened for diners in 2018.

Pam Brunton of Inver also had a stint at Noma, the influence of which can be seen in the Argyll and Bute venue’s local and sustainable menu.

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