The Internet Is Blaming The Menu For Noma's Sudden Closure

The bad news? The world-renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark — no doubt an inspiration for Mark Mylod's psychological thriller, "The Menu" — is closing its doors in less than two years. The good news? You still have until the end of 2024 to get reservations (good luck!) and plan a Danish gastronomic vacation to experience dining at the iconic restaurant, which has been named the Best Restaurant in the World several times.

But even if you were in Denmark, a trip to Noma is far from affordable. As of January 2023, according to The Food XP, a meal, which includes the privilege of saying you've dined there, costs an average of DKK 2,900 per person ($400 to $500), while wine is DKK 1,800 ($260).

The premise of "The Menu," set at the fictional Hawthorne restaurant on a secluded island, has exposed the "insanity of our food world," says celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern. Others have also suggested that the film, now streaming on HBO Max, may have caused Noma's closing by mimicking its demanding chef, pioneering cuisine (a succession of tiny, finely executed courses served on minuscule plates), and poor employee treatment (per The New York Times).

Is Noma like Hawthorne?

Following news of Noma's closing, one person tweeted, "Am I the only one who thinks it's low-key sus that Noma announced shutting shop this soon after the menu came out?" Another person wrote, "On the heels of The Menu coming out this is almost satirical."

Since its opening in 2003, Noma has earned three Michelin stars — the last one in 2021 — and is known for its excellent service. Are glory and profits related to having an establishment of Noma's caliber worth the sacrifice, pressure, hours, and cost? Not any longer, apparently, for Noma's chef and owner René Redzepi. "To continue being Noma, we must change ... In this next phase, we will continue to travel and search for new ways to share our work," Redzepi said on Noma's website.

The influential chef also told The New York Times, "Financially and emotionally, as an employer and as a human being, it just doesn't work." Redzepi alluded to the stress involved in making food at such a high standard.

If you can't stand the heat...

The internet has voiced theories about how "The Menu" — and its fictional chef Julian Slowik, who takes his culinary dedication too far — is linked to Noma's closing. Whatever the reason, owner René Redzepi plans to turn the restaurant into a food lab, according to Forbes.

People were quick to point out similarities between Redzepi and Slowik, played by actor Ralph Fiennes. Employees at Redzepi's restaurant reportedly pick herbs for little or no pay because of the chef's pedigree (via The New York Times). Those workers aren't dissimilar from the cultish kitchen staff in "The Menu," obedient to their own detriment. "I firmly believe Rene Redzepi saw 'The Menu' and realized that's what [people] thought of Noma and was like 'we're done' and that's why Noma is closing," one person wrote (per Twitter). Another person tweeted, "You can't tell me Noma closing isn't a direct response to 'The Menu.'"

Redzepi's creative take on Nordic cuisine, such as meals based on flora and fauna of the seasons, is parodied by Fiennes' character. The pretentious diners who pay exorbitant rates to be flown to Slowik's island are not far removed from fans of Noma, who will spend obscene amounts of money to dine there.

Redzepi has no plans to leave the kitchen, though. His role will change, allowing him to work with his team to develop new recipes and products for Noma's online company (per Forbes).