Noma - Part 3As I am at the end of my time here in Copenhagen I have been reflecting quite a lot on everything that has happened and everything that I have experienced with my friends and colleagues. It has been quite the emotional rollercoaster to be quite frank, saying goodbye to old friends and hello to newer ones. One thing that is for certain, is that I have loved every single second of this experience and never want it to end!
With Dani and I being now the longest servings interns at Noma we are held slightly responsible for teaching and training the new batches of interns into how we operate at Noma, by showing how to clean ants, to plating dishes, all the way to showing some how to weigh out ingredients. It gives what we do much more meaning, by discussing where we’ve come from personally, getting to know a person and then bringing what you’ve understood into your teaching techniques by either being more compassionate or giving them a push. I have been put on another section since my last blog post with me now being on Section 2 with some amazing chefs, Nacho Domenech, Alvaro Sanchez and Mega Paitung. The dishes that are on this section is the Reindeer Penis salad, a dish of Plum with pollen, elderflower, quince and parsley, a pumpkin, strawberry and cabbage dish, and lastly the oregano and mushroom dish. It is quite a hectic section with us going flat to the floor from 8am to 10pm, however it is such great learning of efficiency and organisation. For example, last Saturday we started at 7am to clean Reindeer Moss and did not finish until half eleven. The work ethic that is instilled into you over here is simply astonishing and makes me excited for what’s next.
With Copenhagen falling deeper and deeper into Winter and colder times, the ingredients we see change almost every week, for example instead of plums we use roast quince, more reliance on ferments and pickles, also the buying in of bulk ingredients such as pine for oils and vinegars. Compared to the Summer season it is a whole other world. During my time here, the projects have begun again. This is when the chefs are split into teams to create new dishes based on advice from the Test Kitchen, I really can’t say what they’re testing but it already looks incredible! There has been such a dramatic change in the social scene here in Copenhagen with more people meeting at each others houses or cosy cafes for a lovely hot meal or coffee rather than going to a bar or to a park. When I visited Hart only a few days ago it was an amazing view, seeing people wrapped up in blankets drinking tea or coffee chatting and just enjoying the vibes of Copenhagen in Winter. Since the 12th of November Christmas markets have been put up where you can buy delicious sugared almonds, mulled wine, beer (of course) and plenty of tasty food cooked over open fire. According to my room mates there’s a tradition of drinking mulled wine or hot chocolate and whiskey together whilst walking the Wintry streets of the city and taking in the sights. The fashion here is also quite amazing with people really embracing the cold by wearing massive coats, designer hats and honestly whatever goes and is counted as fashionable.
Noma has been a life changing experience in more than one way. I’ve learned so much about organisation, leadership, skill, hard work, drive, compassion and passion. I really believe since I arrived in Copenhagen I’ve been lucky enough to grow as a chef and as a person. Words don’t come close to describing what it means to me to have done this experience, met the people I’ve grown and worked with, and all the memories that have been made. Just pure gratitude. I really must say I’ve had the time of my life over here and I’m very excited and driven to get back here in the future for a trial in Noma or elsewhere.