Innovative: Rene Redzepi, of Noma in Copenhagen. Photo: Kirsten Lawson
Rene Redzepi is no ordinary chef. Which is no doubt why Noma in Copenhagen was ranked best in the world for three consecutive years and still remains at No.2 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Although he is uncomfortable with the notion that he has inspired Australian chefs - ''especially considering that there are so many chefs there, Down Under, who I look up to,'' he says - his influence has been strong. His return in October for Good Food Month will include three extraordinary events: a lunch with Peter Gilmore at the farm that grows much of the produce for Quay (October 26); the Great Australian Dinner with Neil Perry, Mark Best, Kylie Kwong, Martin Benn and David Chang, among others (October 27); and a presentation at the Sydney Opera House (October 28).
Redzepi's visit is part of a pre-launch tour for a new book. Or rather, a trilogy of books, packaged as A Work in Progress: Journal, Recipes and Snapshots, published by Phaidon Press. In the journal, Redzepi describes the intimate details of being at the top of the tree - the pressures, the pain, the challenges not only to his creativity and the sense of collaboration that is so much a part of the Noma ethos, but to him physically, also - constant travel, leaving his young family.
He remains buoyant, however, about ''the world of cooking''. ''It has become so much richer and more diverse. Today, it's not at all impossible to consider the next source of influence in cooking to come from Mexico or Peru or even as far off as Australia. Everywhere on the world map, chefs seem to be delving into finding their own cooking voices, rather than perhaps always relying on the magnificent classics from the old food empires.''
And yes, he does love Australia. He admires and is friends with chefs such as Ben Shewry, Gilmore, Perry and Best. He says he has often thought, ''Wow, I could really live here.'' Redzepi is fascinated by Australian native produce. And thanks to a trip to Western Australia last year, he has flown in Josh Whiteland, an indigenous Australian, to speak at the third annual MAD symposium - a gloriously madcap meeting of food thinkers from around the world - held yesterday and today in Copenhagen. Redzepi and another ''Australian'' friend, David Chang, were co-curators of the event.
To see Rene Redzepi in Sydney, see goodfoodmonth.com.