If you thought Copenhagen’s culinary scene couldn’t get any better or more visionary, you haven't seen chef Christian Puglisi’s Farm of Ideas yet. Puglisi broke ground this spring in a tiny town called Lejre, 40 minutes outside of Copenhagen. The farm is already making quiet waves among people in the know—or anyone who’s gotten to try the fresh mozzarella at Puglisi's hit pizzeria, Bæst.
The mozzarella comes from Puglisi’s latest compatriots: a group of Jersey cows that arrived at the farm this August. The cows manage to elicit smiles from the no-nonsense chef and provide amazing, fresh mozzarella, but they have a larger purpose, too. They represent the whole raison d’etre of the farm: to cultivate sustainability and innovation in the food system.
Instead of importing mozzarella, Puglisi has decided to raise his own cows for milk. He’ll also use the by-product from the cheese making by turning whey into fresh ricotta, and maybe even use it for soda, too. When the cows are around 10 to 12 years of age, they’ll be used for meat, “an interesting by-product that you wouldn’t expect,” Puglisi says.
“It forces us to use all our resources,” the chef says of his decision to raise the Jersey cows. “It becomes a creative engine, because you need to deal with stuff—and that’s interesting.”
Puglisi is arguably Copenhagen’s coolest chef right now. The former Noma sous-chef owns Relæ, voted one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year; Manfreds, his more casual wine bar; and, of course, the game-changing pizza place. With the addition of the farm, he’s ascended to Dan Barber status; the big changes he’s making in his own kitchens could soon trickle over into the whole country, and quite possibly the world.
Comparing him to Barber might sound trite, but it’s actually a salient comparison, because Puglisi’s new farm is about more than growing great food for his restaurants in a sustainable manner. He wants to spur dialogue among chefs and farmers by hosting workshops, events and dinners that will lead to productive changes in the way the whole world grows, distributes and thinks about food.
“Instead of having Dan Barber do a dinner at Relæ, he’ll come with his farmers and do a workshop here, too,” Puglisi explains. Take one look at the farm, and you’ll see why.