Pickles from René Redzepi's Twitter feed
Pickles from René Redzepi's Twitter feed

What’s cooking in Noma’s science bunker?

Roman-style fish sauces, Nordic miso, blackcurrant leaf kombucha, cherry vinegar, and more

What do you call a kitchen run by a food scientist and fitted out with centrifuge? Most would dub it a lab. Yet at Noma – where the heavy metal goes up to eleven and the staff can all look forward to a trip to Japan next year – their new research and development facility housed in a few shipping containers beside the Copenhagen restaurant is being light-hearted referred to as the Noma Science Bunker. We're not sure how formal the term is; as its research manager, former UC Davis PhD candidate Arielle Johnson, tells Eater.com, she name its Wi-Fi network ‘Noma Science Bunker’ and “it stuck.”

Nomenclature aside, this relatively small laboratory could deliver some major taste sensations to Redzepi's diners. Eater reports that, among the dishes and ingredients being developed by Johnson and co are a version of garum, an ancient fermented fish sauce enjoyed in Greek and Roman times; blackcurrant and elderflower kombucha, or fermented Chinese tea; a version of miso, developed with egg yolks, peas and pumpkins; as well as slightly more conventional concoctions, such as cherry vinegar.

 

Noma, Copenhagen
Noma, Copenhagen

Johnson says that the bunker has only been up and running for a few weeks, and isn’t supplying a huge amount to Noma’s diners at the moment. However, anyone booked in soon might want to look out for one of Johnson’s more ambitious dishes; according to her LinkedIn profile, she co-authored a paper back in 2012 entitled: “Konjac Dondurma: Designing a Sustainable and Stretchable “Fox Testicle” Ice Cream.” Good luck with that one, foragers.

For more on this, plus some great photographs, go to Eater’s article. To learn more about Noma, pick up a copy of our book.