Danish photographer and filmmaker Simon Ladefoged captures a never-before-documented dimension of Noma, revealing what the chefs at the award-winning eatery cook for their own pre-service meal. Famed for artful Nordic dishes involving delicate, laborious work such as preening deep-fried moss and drying wafers of scallop, Copenhagen's gastronomic mecca re-energizes its chefs with the daily ritual of a boisterous communal staff lunch, held at 5pm before the evening’s guests start pouring in. Granted exclusive access to the Noma kitchens, Ladefoged produced an aesthetic portrait of the 37-strong team, culled from 22 countries, carefully preparing what founder René Redzepi calls their “family meal.”
“While filming I was amazed by two things—the number of chefs in the kitchen and the amount of energy they put into their staff lunch,” says the director. “Other restaurants will just grab something for lunch, but this is a really big thing at Noma, which shows a lot about the people who work there, the mentality and the way it’s run.” The family meal varies wildly depending on the nationality of the chef preparing it, ranging from burgers with home-made buns to traditional Israeli dishes or a Danish classic: frikadeller (AKA meatballs).