Do you live in the city we cover? Manhattan and its five boroughs offer the most diverse group of people this side of the pond, and that includes cuisines. We are spoiled living in such a melting pot, that no matter where we go, chances are there is a bomb restaurant around the corner. But guess what? We do not have the best restaurant in the world according to Restaurant magazine. No, that honor goes to a place in Copenhagen called Noma, which is led by a rebel chef who creates dishes based on local ingredients and modern recipes. That rebel is the main focus of the documentary based on this mythic place, and believe me the story is as good as its food.
“Noma: My Perfect Storm” follows René Redzep and his crew through the journey from being a joke to being considered the golden standard. Their trials and tribulations are captured with such love by the caressing lense of first time director Pierre Deschamps. In his hands we are guided through a vibrant mix of color and taste, touch and design, and love and life, which culminates in a plate that is as delicious as this story that will grab your attention. Then you will join them in all the successes and the truly heartbreaking moments when things don’t go their way. The director has such adoration that every cut is made to maximize the persona of both the chef and the restaurant and there’s a reason for it. It deserves it.
René is a perfect protagonist. A man that worked his way up from being a hated immigrant to being a respected culinary presence. Known worldwide for his attitude and devil may care attitude, René goes against everything to make this restaurant the peak of the mountain. From being an overnight success to almost being destroyed by a virus in their food, this is a documentary that almost feels like a feature film. He is that great to listen to, and his ensemble is just as interesting. They are quiet, but present, calm but eager, and each one pushes each other to be the best they can be. It’s so refreshing to see. And the arch! It was like somebody wrote his story to live it.
As a film this is a success, while sometimes the director gets lost in his own adoration, it never lasts that long. We are treated to the closest we will feel at being in the kitchen with these cooks. Many documentaries try to make you feel this way, but this one is one of the few that gets it right. We do not only feel like we are there, we can smell it, we can let our taste buds be the judge, we can feel our hands touching it. The level of detail that goes to each cooking sequence only tells me the director himself would have loved to be a chef once. Listen, after seeing this movie, I question my path too, wondering if I could start culinary school and all.
This is a story about a rebellion led by a man that didn’t give a shit about what anybody thought, and went to serve incredible meals without succumbing to the pretensions of the business. It is not only a fresh perspective, it’s one that motivates those renegades out there thinking the world doesn’t have a place for them.
Out of 4 stars:
Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to Noma? What’s the last documentary you saw? Discuss below!