Rene Redzepi announces new Noma partners including dishwasher Ali Sonko

The  Staff Canteen

Noma, which held two stars in the Nordic Michelin Guide, has served up its last dish at its original site in Copenhagen, and is moving on to a new chapter as chef owner Rene Redzepi changes the location and announces new partners.

René named restaurant manager James Spreadbury, service director Lan Richter, and dishwasher Ali Sonko as his new partners.

“Ali is Noma's soul”, René said in an interview with Berlingske. “I don’t think people understand how much it means to have someone in the house such as Ali, who is always happy and smiling, no matter how it goes.”

Ali who had the honour of taking down the Noma sign, has been a part of Noma from the start in 2003. Posting a picture of Ali and the other new co-owners to Instagram, René added: "This is only the beginning, as we plan to surprise several more of our staff with a piece of the walls that they have chosen to work so hard within." 

Ali takes down the sign

A post shared by Rene Redzepi (@reneredzepinoma) on

Ali, who has lived in Denmark for 34 years, first caught media attention in 2010, when he was unable, due to visa issues, to go to London with the team to pick up their first Best Restaurant award.
The team all wore T-shirts with the dishwasher's face on it and two years later - the visa issues sorted out - Ali gave the acceptance speech as Noma was once again named the World's Best Restuarant.
At the time he told Danish website BT: "I cannot describe how happy I am to work here," he said. "These are the best people to work with, and I'm good friends with everyone. They exhibit enormous respect for me, and no matter what I say or ask about, they are there for me. And that's enough for me to say that it's the best job I've ever had."

Noma 2.0 will reopen at a site in Copenhagen’s Christiania neighbourhood, full of graffiti and the centre of urban culture. Noma 2.0 will not just be another restaurant. René intends to build it into an urban farm, where he will be producing his own ingredients surrounded by the city’s concrete.

He told The New York Times, “It makes sense to have your own farm, as a restaurant of this caliber.”

A post shared by Rene Redzepi (@reneredzepinoma) on

Rene and his team will still be cooking while they wait for the new site to take shape, telling his many social media followers:  “We’re going to Mexico.” Noma will set up shop for seven weeks in Tulum, Mexico from April 12 to May 28. The menu is inspired by Rene’s own travels in Mexico and by Noma’s former sous chef Rosio Sanchez’s guidance.

>>> Related: René Redzepi, Noma, Copenhagen

“It will be wild like the Mexican landscape as we share our interpretation of the tastes from one of the most beautiful countries we’ve come to know”, wrote Rene on Noma’s website.

This is not the first time we have seen a Noma pop up, in Sydney it opened for ten weeks and it only took 90 seconds for all the reservations to book up entirely, leaving 27,000 people on the waitlist. Before that, it served 2800 people for a period of five weeks in Noma Tokyo and left 62,000 on the waitlist.

We can only imagine the queue when Noma 2.0 finally opens its doors which is set to be December. 

By Thao Ly Nguyen

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st March 2017

Rene Redzepi announces new Noma partners including dishwasher Ali Sonko