cover image Noma: Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine

Noma: Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine

Rene Redzepi, Phaidon, $49.95 (365p) ISBN 978-0-7148-5903-3

Those unable to secure a seat at the World's Best Restaurant 2010, the 12-table Noma near Copenhagen, will have to settle for this massive study of the restaurant and its chef, 32-year-old Rene Redzepi. Even a casual flip will reveal why Redzepi's imaginative combinations and fiercely local approach to sourcing vaulted him over stalwarts like El Bulli: sous vide reindeer shoulder served with celery root rolled in hay ashes and a wild herb gel, a whimsical meringue-based snowman atop buckthorn mousse and carrot sorbet, and a carrot cake-coated ligonberry sorbet served with hay cream are but a few of his spectacularly innovative dishes. While few home cooks will have the equipment, ingredients, or patience to attempt Musk Ox and Fresh Young Garlic or Milk Skin and Caramelized Garlic, fans of molecular gastronomy will have a field day with this ode to meticulous construction and presentation. In the end, whether Redzepi's almost ridiculously complicated dishes reveal a pretentious chef or a passionate one making the most of his ingredients doesn't matter. This is an envelope-pushing exercise that deserves respect. 200 color photos. (Oct.)