Text, Photos, & Video:
Julie Schwietert Collazo
Despite the fact that he’s currently considered the best chef in the world, Rene Redzepi of Copenhagen’s NOMA is not the person who came immediately to my mind for a star chef appearance at the “end of the world” celebration in Merida, Mexico on December 20-21.
Then again, nobody asked me.
But since he was in Mexico, my favorite place, and since he is who he is (and, not unimportantly, since I did have an invitation), my curiosity and I boarded a plane to Cancun and then took a 3 hour drive to Merida to see what Redzepi would prepare to honor Mayan ingredients and commemorate the end of the 13th baktun.
Lots went wrong along the way.
For one thing, I didn’t get to taste even a morsel of Redzepi’s creations. And then, adding insult to injury, Redzepi spent more than half of a brief press conference talking about the amazing meal most of us in the room hadn’t gotten to eat.
Still, getting a peek into the chef’s mind and learning what he loves about Mexico– the country, its ingredients, its cooking techniques, its people– was worth the trip. Here’s what he had to say about all of those subjects: