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René Redzepi Plans to Close Noma and Reopen It as an Urban Farm

COPENHAGEN — “Welcome to the new Noma,” the chef René Redzepi said on a bright summer day. “This is it.”
Mr. Redzepi, 37, the godfather of the New Nordic movement and the chef at Noma, arguably the world’s most influential restaurant at the moment, was standing outside what looked like an auditorium-size crack den. Used spray-paint cans lay in heaps amid the weeds of an abandoned lot. Street art covered the walls of an empty warehouse; inside, teenagers rumbled around on skateboards.
World-class culinary destination? The site, right outside the ragged border of this city’s freewheeling Christiania neighborhood, seemed more like the Four Seasons after an apocalypse.
But Mr. Redzepi envisioned something else as he climbed a staircase to a tar-papered roof and gazed out at a lake on the edge of the property. In what qualifies as a wildly risky roll of the dice, he plans to close Noma after a final service on New Year’s Eve in 2016. He hopes to reopen for business in 2017 with a new menu and a new mission.
As a crucial part of that, he wants to transform this decrepit patch of land into a state-of-the-art urban farm, with Noma at its center.

“It makes sense to do it here,” he said, despite visual evidence to the contrary. “It makes sense to have your own farm, as a restaurant of this caliber.” His plans are nothing if not ambitious. He will put a greenhouse on the roof. He will dig out the dank old asphalt lot and truck in fresh soil. He wants part of the farm to float.
“We’ll build a raft, and we’ll put a huge field on the raft,” he said. “We need a full-time farmer with a team.”

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