Time And Place In Nordic Cuisine By Noma's Rene Redzepi

A formula for the world's best restaurant

Credited by many with the reformation and renaissance of Nordic cuisine, René Redzepi is the latest chef to be crowned a culinary legend. Many would commit unspeakable acts to eat the food of this philosopher-forager-chef at his acclaimed Copenhagen restaurant Noma. For those willing to eat vicariously, Redzepi's food is next best visited through his first cookbook published in the United States, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine.

This thickset tome goes beyond the set tasks of a cookbook, documenting the pristine ecology and geography of Redzepi's environs. The tour starts with a fold-out map reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are; from there, Redzepi chronicles the restaurant's evolution through diary entries and gorgeous records of his kitchen, farmers and foragers.

The book's beautiful full-page photographs of stone, flowers, sea creatures and vegetation capture closed habitats in tableau: milk ice and barley evoke an autumn field; sea urchin and elderberries create a churning spring shoreline. Recipes follow and are so cleanly composed that, for a moment, they almost seem replicable at home (but try finding isomalt and sea buckthorn at your local store).

Luckily, the recipes are merely a language with which to explain Redzepi's genius and impossibly beautiful compositions. They also serve to tempt us all to book a reservation to Denmark. But just in case you don't make it to Copenhagen, you can always lick the pages.