How Noma Helped Bring Foraging Back Into The Spotlight

"Knowing your ABCs in nature, the flora and fauna, the patterns of the landscape, and the rhythm of the seasons is as important as learning how to read and write," Noma's René Redzepi, told the Washington Post. Humans have foraged for the majority of their time on this planet, hunting and gathering food found in natural environments (via Khan Academy). For Redzepi and the team, foraging has become instrumental to the ethos and success of the Noma brand. 

"Foraging is treasure hunting," Redzepi informed a New Yorker reporter. The chef described that at any given time, there are at least five foraged foods on Noma's menu. Also, 90% of everything served at Noma is collected from within 60 miles of the restaurant, and new team members are brought on foraging excursions before they start working in Noma's kitchen. Truly Experiences believes Noma's commitment to foraging is one of the reasons the restaurant is consistently ranked the world's best. But for Redzepi, his commitment to foraging isn't confined to his restaurant — it's a value he's promoted all over the world.

A forgotten practice made accessible again

CNN points out that foraging is nothing "new" and Noma certainly isn't the only restaurant incorporating gathered ingredients into tasting menus. Redzepi has played an influential role in making foraging popular again. In 2011, Eater poked fun at the number of articles written by food bloggers and culinary enthusiasts who traveled to meet Redzepi to join him on foraging trips; Redzepi himself traveled to London and Australia's Outback to take curious reporters on foraging tours. His passion has had an infectious impact on his team. 

"There's no more winning feeling in yourself than when you can take something from the ground and see it eaten from a guest's plate," Noma's forager and product manager Michael Fitzner Larsen told Shop Terrain. "It's the most rewarding thing." To encourage at-home chefs to get outside and look for edible ingredients, Redzepi launched an app to help people explore Danish nature (per Vice). If you search carefully, tonight's dinner seasonings might be hiding in your backyard.