The Hidden Meaning Behind Noma's Name

With impossible-to-get reservations, innovative cuisine, and a disruptive approach to fine dining, Noma is one of the most storied restaurants in the world. An iconoclastic concept known for its use of foraged and alternative ingredients, Noma works to change the relationship between chef and diner through an integrated service style where chefs serve guests directly, which creates an immersive experience.

The New York Times revealed that after the original New Nordic cuisine-focused Noma closed its first location in 2017, chef and owner René Redzepi opened his expanded Noma 2.0 campus the following year in Christiana, a sector of eastern Christianshavn, an island community in Copenhagen. Lonely Planet calls Christiana, which was founded by squatters in 1971, a non-conformist, self-governing social experiment allowed by the Danish government. Perfectly situated, the new Noma is a multi-structure, modular commune firmly rooted in seasonal Scandinavian culture. The restaurant's new look features pristine Scandinavian design, including polished blond wood, artisanal tableware, vintage crocks and canning jars filled with pickles and preserves, and a minimalist décor.

What's in a name?

René Redzepi honed his artful craft working for restaurants in Copenhagen and developed his exacting standards at one of the best restaurants in the world, El Bulli, under the tutelage of Ferran Adrià. Next, he worked for Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in California before returning to Copenhagen to open the globally-acclaimed Noma at the age of 25, reports CNN Travel.

Upon returning to Denmark, Redzepi drafted the ten-point New Nordic Manifesto along with chefs from across Scandinavia to define and establish a new standard for Nordic cuisine. Redzepi is the author of a number of renowned books filled with his musings and recipes, developed over decades and inspired by his many pop-up restaurants and his work at festivals like Copenhagen's MAD Symposium. His approach to food is Promethean; he propels his creations and his colleagues toward stratospheric realms. Restaurant Magazine crowned Noma the the world's best restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2021, and the restaurant finally received its third Michelin star in 2021.

An accomplished writer, Redzepi is certainly adept at linguistics and wordplay. To that end, per Insider, the name of his restaurant is a fused abbreviation of "Nordisk," the Danish word for Nordic, and "mad," which translates to food. The moniker illustrates the essence of Redzepi and his culinary gift to the world.