Over the weekend, I went to Copenhagen. Primary reason for the trip was to go worship at the temple of Noma, a two-Michelin-starred modern Danish/Scandinavian restaurant.
And what an experience it was! I'm not a food blogger by any means, but this dinner was an experience beyond food.
We got there at 630pm, worked our way through the food and wine and eventually finished eating around 1230. The food was exquisite. The flavours were clean and showcased the ingredients (all sourced in Scandinavia) beautifully, whilst every dish delivered some element of surprise/excitement. We then got a kitchen tour by the wonderful Pontus (sommelier and part-owner of Noma) - "dez eese the Pacojet room..." and some how got convinced by Pontus to stay for a nightcap. One glass of whiskey and one story about "textbook-style crawls on wide-screen" by one very drunk sommelier later, the rest of the chefs had finished cleaning up and joined us for drinks. Before we knew it, it was 430 and one very tired waiter decided to throw us out. 10 hours!
I wrote the following email to thank the Noma team for the amazing experience I had:
"Dear Noma team,
I had a really amazing time on Saturday night, thank you so much for letting me share in the Noma experience. Many top restaurants strive for perfection and lose their soul in the process, but Noma manages to deliver a sublime experience (atmosphere, food, wine, service, everything!) while speaking from the heart. (Not to mention a surreal experience when Pontus starts telling you about his "textbook crawl on wide-screen"!) The ten hours we spent there were for me, one of those rare experiences in life where you're completely in the moment, forgetting where you came from and where you will go next. Thank you so much and I hope to see you all again.
Noma for me was much more than just a meal. It was about the streamlined yet warm decor, the welcoming and friendly service, the food as mentioned before, the wonderful bio-dynamic wines, the company and of course, getting to hang out with the chefs. It was an experience in which I lost myself; I was totally in the moment. Every bite, every sip, every laugh...
Anyway, I have learnt if i-bankers think they have it tough, chefs work far longer hours doing far more demanding (physically) demanding, get yelled at more and get paid far less too. But they still do it, for the love of the job. Of course there are also days when they hate their jobs, but it takes passion to do their job they do. I am in awe of them for this level of commitment and jealous of them for having found their passion. But they have inspired me - there are jobs out there which are fulfilling, I just need to find the one that's right for me.
Man, I really want to go back to Noma now...
p.s. speaking of being in the moment, here's a great article about living in the moment