Noma’s victory at the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants last night is a triumph both for the Copenhagen eatery and for the awards, which were stuck in a rut, handing out first place each year to El Bulli.
Danish chef Rene Redzepi was there to collect the crown that had gone for the past four years to Ferran Adria for his establishment north of Barcelona. El Bulli has been in the top three every year since the awards were founded in 2002.
Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck has been the other big winner, coming first in 2005 and always making the top three since 2004. The U.K. restaurant came third last night, behind El Bulli. The only other winner has been the French Laundry, in 2003 and 2004. Noma, which seats 42 diners, was founded in November 2003.
The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants were named at a reception in London’s Guildhall attended by chefs and restaurateurs including Daniel Boulud, whose New York flagship surged 33 places to No. 8. The awards started as a magazine feature and have grown to international prominence.
Noma — which stands for Nordisk Mad, or Nordic Food — is housed in a converted warehouse by the waterside in the Danish capital’s Christianshavn district. Redzepi, 32, travels the region in search of ingredients and culinary inspiration for his seasonal menu. Noma entered the table at 33 in 2006 and had risen to third by last year.