Rene Redzepi is a Danish celebrity chef of mixed Macedonian-Danish descent, still young and ambitious. The 39-old cook is known for reinventing the Nordic cuisine since he was the first chef to develop the New Nordic Cuisine principles that have been growing rapidly since the 2000s. He put his particular emphasis on using local, seasonal ingredients, benefiting from Scandinavia’s soil, water, climate, and nature. His motto is “purity, simplicity, and freshness” which he adheres to while working with traditional Scandinavian recipes.
Rene’s influence on the international cooking scene is enormous, his 2 Michelin stars restaurant “Noma” is a must-visit tourist destination in Copenhagen. Redzepi doesn’t hesitate to use weird, at first glance, ingredients, such as musk ox’s meat or moss. At the same time, he works with local seafood and different kinds of berries.
Redzepi started his cooking path in 1993 at Copenhagen’s Restaurant Pierre André. Then he moved to France to work at the 3-star Le Jardin Des Sens in Montpellier. After that he gained extensive experience, working at such honoured restaurants, as Ferran Adrià’s acclaimed El Bulli in Rosas, Spain; Thomas Keller’s 3-star Michelin restaurant The French Laundry; and lastly, being employed as sous chef under Chef Thomas Rode Andersen at Copenhagen’s famed Kong Hans Kælder. Noma opening in 2003 followed this challenging career path.
Since the opening of Noma, Redzepi has received many awards for his work at it. Since 2005, Noma has been uninterruptedly rated as the best restaurant in Copenhagen. I believe, Noma totally deserves it. The restaurant gained its first Michelin star in 2005, the second one was granted in 2007.
Signature dish: Pork skin sandwich
For the pork skins
- 2 pieces pork skin (each approximately 3x7cm/1¼x2¾in)
- 1 tbsp brown butter
- oil, for frying
- 1 lemon, zest only
For the Marmite glaze
- 50g/1¾oz Marmite
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- lemon juice
For the white cabbage
- 7 large white cabbage leaves
- Marmite glaze (from above)
- oil, for basting
For the seasoning
- 6 slices of a tart apple, such as Granny Smith
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 8 lemon verbena leaves (each about 5cm/2in long)
- sour pickles
- For the pork skins, remove all the fat from the skins and place in a vacuum-pack bag with the brown butter and seal the bag. Cook in a steam oven at 80C/175F steam for 10 hours.
- After 10 hours, reduce the oven temperature to 65C/150F and the moisture to 10%. Alternatively, heat your oven to the lowest possible temperature and place a roasting tin half filled with boiling water on the bottom shelf.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment, remove the pork skin from the vacuum-pack bag and spread it on the lined baking tray. Cook for another 8-10 hours, or until completely dry. Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.
- Heat the oil to 190-200C/375-400F in a large heavy-based pan (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.). Add the dried pork skins for approximately 15 seconds until they puff up. While cooking, use two pairs of tweezers to prevent the pork skins from curling (CAUTION: wear oven gloves and take great care not burn yourself while using the tweezers. Alternatively use cooking tongs). Place on kitchen towels to allow any excess oil to drain off. Season the pork skins with salt and lemon zest.
- For the Marmite glaze, add the butter, Marmite and 25g/1oz water to a large pan. Pulse with an immersion blender until lightly emulsified and season with a little lemon juice, to taste.
- For the white cabbage, brush the cabbage leaves lightly with oil and grill on a very hot barbecue until caramelized on both sides (alternatively, place under a hot grill). Cut them to the approximate shape and size of the pork skins and warm through in the Marmite glaze.
- To serve, place a piece of cabbage on one of the puffed pork skins, followed by three apple slices, a little lemon juice, four lemon verbena leaves and a little salt.
- Layer the next five cabbage leaves, then the remaining apple slices, lemon verbena and a touch of lemon juice. Top with the last cabbage leaf and the second piece of puffed pork skin. Serve with a small bowl of sour pickles.