Inside Noma's kitchen: How the world's best restaurant's food is created

The world's best restaurant is working on earning that title for a fifth time. Noma, in Copenhagen, Denmark, recently won the award yet again.

CBS News' Holly Williams visited Noma and saw its kitchen in action -- as well as viewed the gastronomic whiz behind the Scandinavian sensation at work.

If the words "Danish cuisine" only conjure up a famous breakfast pastry in your head -- then think again.

Europe's new culinary capital isn't Paris, or Rome, but Copenhagen. And the hottest table in Denmark's capital is Noma -- voted the best restaurant in the world last month for the fourth time.

Diners book several months in advance, and pay $300 a head for a tasting menu that includes dishes like fried reindeer moss, radish served in soil, and live ants with yoghurt.

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Ants in Yoghurt
Carl Reinholdtzon Belfrage
At only 36, Chef Rene Redzepi has revolutionized Nordic food. His cooking is not for the unadventurous. But he limits himself strictly to whats in season in the harsh Scandinavian climate.

"What we're trying to do here is find the flavor of the region. The biggest task I tell my guests is that we have to cook the flavor of the day we're in," Redzepi said.

In his experimental kitchen he showed us some of his newest creations.

Redzepi augments his pantry by foraging in the wild, and he finds rich flavors, even at the end of a frozen northern winter. Redzepi has helped spark a new foraging movement, but he cautions that people should not try this at home.

Redzepi said, "There's stuffed mushrooms, some plants, they can actually kill you."

Noma's success, meanwhile, has inspired a new school of Scandinavian cooking. And food blogger Mira Arkin told us it's turned Copenhagen into a dining mecca.


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Radish in Soil
Jose Moran & Elise Porter of Spanish Hipster

"We have all the gastro tourism, and people traveling here from all over the world, just to visit our restaurants," Arkin said.

American chef Matt Orlando moved to Copenhagen from San Diego four years ago to work at Noma, and has now opened his own restaurant -- Amass. He told CBS News chefs are flocking to Copenhagen from all over the world.

"We have so many Americans applying to work here," Orlando said.

And Orlando is putting the Noma philosophy to work, growing herbs that thrive in the frost and snow.

Redzepi said his success has come as a big surprise. He started cooking as a teenager after one of his teachers promised a prize for the student who cooked the best dish. The world's top chef began his career with a roast chicken.

But he didn't win. "I came (in) second," Redzepi said. "There was a guy ... he was a trained butcher and he made a ham salad that was the best."

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Fried Reindeer Moss
Jose Moran & Elise Porter of Spanish Hipster
Williams asked, "Is there a kind of renewed Danish pride in your food because of what you've started here?"

"It's very new, very fresh," Redzepi said. "We're infants, we haven't learned to walk yet. We're still waiting for our crazy teenage years where we're going to go wild and be mad."

Many would say Redzepi has already gone wild in the kitchen and transformed the world of high-end cuisine in his wake.

Photos featured in the "CTM" segment courtesy of:

Fried reindeer moss and radish in soil - Jose Moran & Elise Porter of Spanish Hipster

Ants in yoghurt - Carl Reinholdtzon Belfrage


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