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vegetation: planting thoughts: Rene Redzepi Wants to Make Chefs Smarter

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Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge The kitchen at Noma - ALICIAZS/FLICKR

Are you a chef or a farmer? Can you fly to Copenhagen in late August? If so, and you act quickly, you can join René Redzepi's club. On the 27th and 28th of that month, the celebrated Noma chef will host vegetation: planting thoughts, an exclusive symposium dedicated to exploring the changing role of the chef in society. The meetings will take place in a rickety house built along the upper branches of several grouped fir trees. Participants will tell ghost stories, bestow grand-sounding titles on one another, spy on adults walking below, and occasionally flip through a stack of tattered nudie mags. Just kidding.

In truth, Redzepi and the symposium's other organizers believe chefs increasingly occupy "a position of influence." As a result, they need to get smarter and educate themselves about ecology, food history, and food production methods. For 1,500 kroner (approximately $289), participants will actually enjoy a few communal meals (lichen pesto? muskox tartare?), ogle top-flight Nordic produce, and chew the fat with some of the world's most thoughtful food folk, including the likes of Harold McGee, David Chang, The Millenium Institute's Hans Herren, Michel Bras, and Kamal Mouzawak, the Lebanese farmer's market pioneer.

Attendance will be limited in order to facilitate maximum interaction between those present, but we have a feeling the big names will heavily flavor the proceedings -- like smashed cloves of raw garlic tumbling into a simmering pasta sauce. The hope is you'll head home bubbling over with ideas, brighter and a little more savvy than when you left. For more information, contact Ali Kurshat Altinsoy at aka@noma.dk. And if you're looking for a little amusement between now and then, pop over to Rene Redzepi's TwitVid feed.

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