Will Noma get 3 Michelin stars? I need your help!

The Danish news paper Politiken has asked me to predict 2011 from a Danish and gastronomical point of view. One of the things I mentioned is that I believe Noma will get three stars in the Main Cities of Europe 2011 guide. When posting a link to the article on my Very Good Food Facebook page I immediately got a reply saying “I’m not sure Noma will get the three stars. Although they deserve it.”

Something in me wanted to reply right away and state my reasons why I feel the should. I had all my arguments lined up but then I hesitated. Perhaps it’s just me who is too emotionally attached to Noma that I cannot judge it without bias any longer.

But what do you think? What qualifies a restaurant for three stars in your opinion? And do you think Noma qualifies for three stars?

17 Responses to “Will Noma get 3 Michelin stars? I need your help!”

  • I’m not sure that Michellin will award 3 stars to a restaurant in Europe who do not serve foie gras. It’s too weird for a Frenchman 🙂

  • I suspect the real reason Noma didn’t get three stars last year, or even earlier, is that it has featured so prominently in the 50 Best Restaurants list and in other media. Michelin is famously contrary about ‘following the pack’. It is, for example, the reason many believe it took them 20 years to finally give Olivier Roellinger his third star. Those silly, stuck-up Frenchmen didn’t want to be seen to be giving in to pressure from other guides and reviewers.

    For what it’s worth, I do think René will get his third this year. After all, it would be virtually impossible for Michelin to maintain any kind of credibility when they are doling out stars by the galaxy-load to dives in Tokyo which have three seats and only serve beer, not to give it to Noma which is forging such an innovative, highly refined new path.

    But my hunch is that, once he has his precious third star – which he has made no secret of coveting – René will close Noma and return the stars a year or so later, before reopening somewhere more advantageous to him.

    Just a hunch…

  • Better than most Michelin 3 stars in the world.

  • Thank you all for your interesting views on w/n noma will get the third star. I very much appreciate it!

    Hey M. Engelbrecht
    Thanks for your sweet words and your contribution to the debate! Nice blog you’ve started there.

    JP, I hope to. 🙂

  • since the criteria for the third star is that the resturant should be worth a trip in its own i would guess so. but michelinguide is dated.

  • I completely agree with you that Noma deserves a third star. I’ve only eaten there once, when I was very luckily able to get a table on pretty short notice during a maths conference in Copenhagen, but I found the taste profile much more exciting and refreshing than any of the 3-star places in New York, which I try rotating through about once a year (not easy on a PhD student’s pay!). The service, too, was very pleasant and personable without being intrusive (which I really appreciated, since I was eating alone). It’s been over a year now, and I still frequently think of my meal – I’ll have to make a trip to Denmark with my wife just to eat there again!

    Btw, I was really enjoying your NYC reviews. Do you still plan on getting around to writing up some of the other places you mentioned going to?

  • From a publicity perspective, it will be great for the country and for Noma. But Seeing Noma full 3 months in advance shows that they don’t need them. I like that Michelin is not the only rating that people follows.

  • Ups, wrong link. This one is correct.

  • What a debate about noma!

    Since I made the comment “I’m not sure Noma will get the three stars. Although they deserve it” on your Facebook page it seems like people agree with you Trine – which is great.

    I do hope that noma get the third star. It will be great for noma, but also for many other restaurants in Copenhagen (and Scandinavia).

    Having said that I think that inspectors from Guide Michelin needs a few more years, before noma will get the third star. Nomas cuisine is new and innovative. The inspectors’ taste is somewhat “old-school” and therefore (maybe) not ready to understand the ideas of Mr. Redzepi and his team yet. But I do hope that they are coming around soon!

    If noma get the third star (and other restaurants in Copenhagen keep up) and can’t see how Michelin can avoid a Scandinavian Guide soon. Nordic food is the new black 🙂

    I love reading your blog Trine – keep up the good work.

  • Thank you everybody for your contribution! You seem to agree with me and that’s really great to see.

    BTW., I’ve heard that Michelin is supposed to visit a restaurant 30 with one year before they can warrant the third star. Does anyone know if this holds true or not?

    And oh, do you think that Michelin will ever make a Scandinavian Guide?

  • No question in my mind that noma deserves (and will get) three stars from Michelin. The food is beautiful, elegant, creative and delicious. The restaurant, while quite comfortable, is also luxurious enough to warrant a third star. The service is unique and charming. The only thing that gives me cause to hesitate at all is the fact that Mugaritz still hasn’t received its third star.

    BTW, AOC deserves at least another star too.

  • Intresting debate…and topic of course.
    In my opinion it’s so much harder for restaurants in Scandinavia to recieve starts in the big “bible” than the rest of the world.
    If you look at the cost of staff in these countries it’s so much more expensive to hire people in Sweden and Denmark than the rest of Europe for example.
    We can’t afford to have 18 cooks and 12 waiters at a place with 20 seats so we have to do and know it all.
    In my opinion Noma definitelty deserves 3 stars and so does Mathias Dahlgren and also Frantzén/ Lindberg in Stockholm.
    What these guys are doing has changed the scene in scandinavian cooking for years to come.
    I’ve also been to a couple of Michelin rated places around the world and it varies a lot. For instans London. I mean why does a place like Tamarind even have 1 star when they serve something worse than a local joint around the corner and they charge 1 star prices??
    This will always amaze me but I guess it’s something we have to live with because food is like music sometimes. Very individual…

    Thank you Trine for a very nice blog!

  • Michelin’s relevance is shrinking so quickly it is amazing. In my opinion, though it unquestionably deserves them, noma does not even need three stars.

  • After my latest and first visit to Noma, I definitely think they deserve a 3rd star (and AOC a second one).
    Noma is at the same level of l’Astrance, above Pierre Gagnaire, to compare with similar style of cuisine. Noma reminded me the experiences and the emotions I had with the dishes of my dear friend Marc Veyrat.

    There are many waiters indeed, but you see the five same guys during your meal. It’s a new kind of service and I appreciate it.
    I just missed the presence of René Redzepi. I really think the head-chef has to be in his kitchen and not in a meeting somewhere else. That’s what closing days are for.

  • Does Noma deserve three stars?

    Well, compared against some of the three-star restaurants I’ve tried, Noma is on par or better than most. I’ve tried Le Bernardin, L’Arpège, Pierre Gagnaire and Le Bristol, and only the latter was comparable to Noma – in fact, I found it better, although perhaps not quite as cutting edge.

    That a restaurant like L’Arpège with its close seating, bad acoustics, horrible (lack of) air conditioning and extreme prices get three stars indicate to me that Michelin inspectors look for something else. Despite all my misgivings about that place, they manage to serve both foie gras, lobster with truffles, mallard and other expensive ingredients as part of a single menu. My theory is that Michelin inspectors weigh expensive ingredients much higher than I do, because otherwise I have no explanation for those particular three stars.

    Noma (and other Danish restaurants) just doesn’t fit into that scene. Inspectors’ tastes may be changing slowly, but it’s anyone’s guess when (if ever) they’ll come around. If you’re expecting lobster, ice cold sea urchin may not convince you… I think it’s great that Noma experiments, but sometimes there’s just too much novelty. Sea urchin and a live shrimp from Isefjorden may be interesting, but lobster just tastes better.

    On top of that, Noma needs better waiting staff. There are too many waiters involved in serving a single table, and you often get the impression that when they tell you about a dish, it’s a litany learned by rote five minutes ago. Better educated waiters that focus on a few tables for the entire evening would be a much needed improvement.

    Does Noma deserve three Michelin stars? Yes, compared to other three-star restaurants, it certainly does. Could it be better? Yes, it could.

  • Well, if you look at michelin’s one discription of what is a 3 * restaurant, there shoul be no duobt that they deserve there last missing star. Importent chefs and normal people from al around the world have been traveling to denmark whit the main reason to dine at noma.

  • Of course they will ! michelin needs them more to be in their red book then they need them ! they should accept them for one year out of politeness then give them back really !
    The institution is falling apart if you ask me! TOO Many chefs have too many stars in too many restaurants and the stared guys are not even in the kitchen once a month !
    best wishes and keep up the good work

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