René Redzepi Transcript

René Redzepi is the renowned Chef of the restaurant ‘Noma’ with numerous accolades and 3 Michelin stars. He has been in the world of cooking for 30 years now, and he states that he entered into the world of spices, herbs and exquisite tastes by accident.

The Early Days

His first encounter with being a chef was unconventional and was the by-product of a specific rejection after completing the ninth grade in his hometown, Copenhagen. His teacher told him that he would not meet the demands of High School and that the only viable road ahead of him was acquiring knowledge in a particular trade or art.

Mr. Redzepi followed the steps of his then-best friend Michael, and he enrolled in cooking classes. He had never envisioned himself as a cook, but the competitive structure of the early lessons provided the edge that Mr. Redjepi craved.

How to build the World’s Best Restaurant?

First and foremost, a restaurant should adapt to the changes in the marketing sector. The prevalence of social media and iPhones has created a new paradigm in advertising, and every business should follow the latest trends.

The restaurant has four separate kitchens, which are the following:

1) Preparations Kitchen: In this type of kitchen, the personnel prepare all the necessary ingredients constituting the exquisite dishes.

2) Main Kitchen: This kitchen is where all the cooking sensations derive. These cooking sensations are the enthralling tastes and flavors that emanate from the processes of roasting, frying and other cooking techniques.

3) Service Kitchen: The service kitchen is where all the last-minute preparations occur.

4) Test Kitchen: Skilful persons in Gastronomy taste new dishes in this kitchen.

Mr. Redzepi’s restaurant has an innovative method of selecting the proper ingredients for a quality dish. The team of the restaurant has established a Fermentation Lab, where they indulge in the magic of bacteria, molds and yeasts.

Some species of the above microorganisms are responsible for forming numerous foods and flavours. The combination of some of these species can derive new exciting tastes and dishes, and the adept personnel of the restaurant is always ready to rise to such a challenge.

Furthermore, the restaurant has appointed a team of selected professionals, such as foragers, who provide the freshest berries daily. There are also Kitchen Managers, Purveyors, and even a carpenter who provides his wooden chairs and tables expertise.

What Is Exactly a Michelin Star?

The flawless organization and the quality of Mr. Redzepi’s restaurant are evident with the acquisition of three Michelin Stars. A Michelin Star is a part of an evaluation system of restaurants and chefs, granted by a panel of food professionals. These food professionals are cooks, chefs and journalists, who have five votes to determine the winner.

According to Mr. Redzepi, a Michelin Star is the golden standard of restaurant judgment. The restaurant is unaware of the votes of the food professionals as they come unanimously in the restaurant to ensure the validity of the process.


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The Story So Far

Mr. Redzepi recalls that when he was a sous chef, most Head chefs were constantly angry and agitated. This behavior stemmed from the origins of the kitchen organization, which was the French Army.

The highly acclaimed Chef describes this behavior as “management by fear”, which is detrimental in the long term. Mr. Redzepi vowed not to engage in such management, but the fear of not succeeding and succumbing to mistakes is always there.

He realized that these outbursts of anger from his former employers were the product of the enormous pressure of the profession. Mr. Redzepi also had to face the inexperience of managing a restaurant, and this pressure piled up.

He tried to gradually change his attitude towards managing this pressure to be more productive and cooperative with his employees. With the facilitation of therapy, coaching, books and the actual implementation of minor changes, he decided to delegate some crucial tasks.

Mr. Redzepi comprehended that there is a tool for every task and a task for every tool. Therefore, he delegated tasks according to his employees’ aptitudes and personalities. This strategy was really successful and enhanced the team spirit within his restaurant’s ranks.

How to Withstand the Pressure of the High Expectations from Clients?

The stressful environment of running a restaurant alongside the continuous delivery of top-quality services can deteriorate the mental and physical health of a Chef and his personnel. Therefore, employing effective strategies to counter this phenomenon is paramount for longevity in this field.

The strategies of Mr. Redzepi are the following:

1) He ensures that he has brain space, aka time to think. He achieves this primarily through hiking.

2) He frequently communicates with his mentor, a person he admires. The advice he takes from him is valuable, and it can be abridged in the following motto: “Learn, renew, and you have to learn to be happy with being second best”.

Furthermore, Mr. Rezepi proceeded to changes in the working environment that bonded the group members and facilitated the collective effort. Some of these changes were the following:

1) The introduction of music in the kitchen

2) The establishment of a canteen for the team, where they enjoy their meals and communicate.

3) The introduction of the concept ‘Saturday Night Projects’. In this concept, each group member presents a project each Saturday. This innovation significantly bolsters creative thinking and promotes potential breakthroughs.

The Concept of ‘Test Kitchen’ and Its Financial Potential

These potential breakthroughs are tested in the Test Kitchen of Mr. Redzepi’s restaurant. The target is the best combination of flavor and deliciousness, and every year, the team yearns for a new challenge. A challenge that does not guarantee huge profits, though, as the average profit of the restaurant is 3 % in 20 years.

In Wrapping Up

Mr. Redzepi states that the restaurant trade does not elicit high profits. It delivers the unique experience of creating enthralling dishes and an excellent client environment. In Mr. Redzepi’s words, “the profit is the experience itself”.

Furthermore, Mr. Rezepi believes that success is incredible but somewhat limiting. Outside circumstances, such as the pandemic, can derail your route. But, with a dedicated team and a clear vision, the journey and experience are all that matter in the end.

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This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Workplace is a business communication tool from Meta. Think Facebook, but for your company.

It’s part of Meta’s vision for the future of work. A future in which we’ll all feel more present, connected and productive.

Start your journey into the future of work at