Noma, One of the World’s Top-Rated Restaurants, Is Closing Its Doors | Kanebridge News
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Noma, One of the World’s Top-Rated Restaurants, Is Closing Its Doors

Owner of the Danish restaurant said it would shut its doors to regular service in winter of 2024 but would later reopen as a test kitchen

Tue, Jan 10, 2023 9:38amGrey Clock 2 min

Noma, the Danish restaurant considered one of the best in the world, said Monday that it would close its doors next year and reopen as a test kitchen.

“To continue being noma, we must change,” Noma’s owner René Redzepi said on the restaurant’s website, without elaborating why the restaurant was closing to regular service in the winter of 2024.

Restaurants have struggled during the pandemic to cope with mounting food costs and diners staying home. Fine-dining establishments in particular have had trouble hawking expensive menus to patrons. At Noma, a meal currently costs at least $500 a person.

Mr. Redzepi said that starting in 2025, Noma would become a test kitchen and would sell products online. He said Noma would also have pop-ups around the world.

“Serving guests will always be a part of who we are, but being a restaurant will no longer define us,” he said.

He said on Instagram Monday that he and his team had planned the move for the last two years.

“It’s scary and weird but I also know it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “As soon as the pandemic hit I had this feeling in me that it was time for something different.”

He said he was on a plane bound for Kyoto, Japan, where Noma was set to open a pop-up restaurant for two months.

A representative for the restaurant said Mr. Redzepi wasn’t available for comment.

Mr. Redzepi opened Noma in Copenhagen in 2003 and eventually became the crown jewel in a booming food scene. He introduced Nordic food to new audiences and foraged through Danish shorelines and forests for ingredients like herbs and roots. As word spread about Noma’s experimental dishes, it became almost impossible to get a reservation.

After Noma was first named the world’s best restaurant in 2010 on Restaurant magazine’s influential list, it received about 100,000 reservation requests a month for its 40-seat dining space. It was named the world’s best restaurant again four more times. The restaurant has three Michelin stars.

Noma led Copenhagen’s reinvention as a fine-dining destination, drawing talented chefs and real-estate developers to Denmark’s capital. It also attracts diners who make pilgrimages from all around the world to try its multi-course menus. Noma has served dishes including pork neck with bulrushes and violets and king crab with leeks rolled in ashes.

Noma used to be based in an old warehouse on Copenhagen’s docks before closing in 2016 and reopening at a new location two years later.

Mr. Redzepi said in a 2015 blog post that he had been a bully and a terrible boss at times because he was under pressure. He said he would yell at employees over messing up dishes for journalists or overcooking fish. He said as a result that he had changed Noma’s culture to boost staff morale.


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China’s EV Juggernaut Is a Warning for the West

Competitive pressure and creativity have made Chinese-designed and -built electric cars formidable competitors

Thu, Jun 8, 2023 4 min

China rocked the auto world twice this year. First, its electric vehicles stunned Western rivals at the Shanghai auto show with their quality, features and price. Then came reports that in the first quarter of 2023 it dethroned Japan as the world’s largest auto exporter.

How is China in contention to lead the world’s most lucrative and prestigious consumer goods market, one long dominated by American, European, Japanese and South Korean nameplates? The answer is a unique combination of industrial policy, protectionism and homegrown competitive dynamism. Western policy makers and business leaders are better prepared for the first two than the third.

Start with industrial policy—the use of government resources to help favoured sectors. China has practiced industrial policy for decades. While it’s finding increased favour even in the U.S., the concept remains controversial. Governments have a poor record of identifying winning technologies and often end up subsidising inferior and wasteful capacity, including in China.

But in the case of EVs, Chinese industrial policy had a couple of things going for it. First, governments around the world saw climate change as an enduring threat that would require decade-long interventions to transition away from fossil fuels. China bet correctly that in transportation, the transition would favour electric vehicles.

In 2009, China started handing out generous subsidies to buyers of EVs. Public procurement of taxis and buses was targeted to electric vehicles, rechargers were subsidised, and provincial governments stumped up capital for lithium mining and refining for EV batteries. In 2020 NIO, at the time an aspiring challenger to Tesla, avoided bankruptcy thanks to a government-led bailout.

While industrial policy guaranteed a demand for EVs, protectionism ensured those EVs would be made in China, by Chinese companies. To qualify for subsidies, cars had to be domestically made, although foreign brands did qualify. They also had to have batteries made by Chinese companies, giving Chinese national champions like Contemporary Amperex Technology and BYD an advantage over then-market leaders from Japan and South Korea.

To sell in China, foreign automakers had to abide by conditions intended to upgrade the local industry’s skills. State-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group developed the manufacturing know-how necessary to become a player in EVs thanks to joint ventures with Toyota and Honda, said Gregor Sebastian, an analyst at Germany’s Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Despite all that government support, sales of EVs remained weak until 2019, when China let Tesla open a wholly owned factory in Shanghai. “It took this catalyst…to boost interest and increase the level of competitiveness of the local Chinese makers,” said Tu Le, managing director of Sino Auto Insights, a research service specialising in the Chinese auto industry.

Back in 2011 Pony Ma, the founder of Tencent, explained what set Chinese capitalism apart from its American counterpart. “In America, when you bring an idea to market you usually have several months before competition pops up, allowing you to capture significant market share,” he said, according to Fast Company, a technology magazine. “In China, you can have hundreds of competitors within the first hours of going live. Ideas are not important in China—execution is.”

Thanks to that competition and focus on execution, the EV industry went from a niche industrial-policy project to a sprawling ecosystem of predominantly private companies. Much of this happened below the Western radar while China was cut off from the world because of Covid-19 restrictions.

When Western auto executives flew in for April’s Shanghai auto show, “they saw a sea of green plates, a sea of Chinese brands,” said Le, referring to the green license plates assigned to clean-energy vehicles in China. “They hear the sounds of the door closing, sit inside and look at the quality of the materials, the fabric or the plastic on the console, that’s the other holy s— moment—they’ve caught up to us.”

Manufacturers of gasoline cars are product-oriented, whereas EV manufacturers, like tech companies, are user-oriented, Le said. Chinese EVs feature at least two, often three, display screens, one suitable for watching movies from the back seat, multiple lidars (laser-based sensors) for driver assistance, and even a microphone for karaoke (quickly copied by Tesla). Meanwhile, Chinese suppliers such as CATL have gone from laggard to leader.

Chinese dominance of EVs isn’t preordained. The low barriers to entry exploited by Chinese brands also open the door to future non-Chinese competitors. Nor does China’s success in EVs necessarily translate to other sectors where industrial policy matters less and creativity, privacy and deeply woven technological capability—such as software, cloud computing and semiconductors—matter more.

Still, the threat to Western auto market share posed by Chinese EVs is one for which Western policy makers have no obvious answer. “You can shut off your own market and to a certain extent that will shield production for your domestic needs,” said Sebastian. “The question really is, what are you going to do for the global south, countries that are still very happily trading with China?”

Western companies themselves are likely to respond by deepening their presence in China—not to sell cars, but for proximity to the most sophisticated customers and suppliers. Jörg Wuttke, the past president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, calls China a “fitness centre.” Even as conditions there become steadily more difficult, Western multinationals “have to be there. It keeps you fit.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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