Recently, Redscout sat down with Claus Meyer, world-renowned culinary entrepreneur and founding father of the New Nordic Cuisine Movement. Claus most famously opened the groundbreaking restaurant Noma with chef René Redzepi as a working laboratory and kitchen with the aim to explore the potential of new cuisine based 100% on ingredients from the Nordic region. Noma was voted best restaurant in the world four times. The star chef and entrepreneur is now advancing in the New York culinary scene with Grand Central Terminal’s Great Northern Food Hall and Agern, not to mention a spectacular nonprofit food school in Brooklyn’s Brownsville community, which represents North America’s highest concentration of public housing.
Redscout had the opportunity to sit down with Claus to discuss emerging trends in food culture.
Redscout: You once described the New York food scene as “the most vibrant, exciting, delicious and dynamic one in the world.” What makes it worthy of such high praise?
Claus: I think there’s a lot of talent here, and you need to be extremely competent to survive because the competition is so fierce. Otherwise you’re out of business. In New York, you have a lot of hungry people who can get almost anything, at any time. So to be in business and hang in there, you need to be amazing. And with all kinds of communities living here, New York is by nature an extremely diverse food culture. Also, a pretty authentic one.
Redscout: What do you think might be the next movement or food culture to hit New York?
Claus: All the vegetable, vegan stuff of course. People are eating less meat and more vegetables because they are more resource conscious and care about what’s good for them. So, we will definitely see more food from the plant kingdom.
Redscout: Are there any cuisines that you’ve admired on your travels, but have yet to see arrive or become entrenched in the New York food scene?
Claus: I wonder why Moroccan food isn't more present? It’s a country with a very strong food tradition. I see more and more Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants, but not a strong Moroccan presence yet. Singapore is also only vaguely represented outside of Singapore. Maybe because it's so particular, but I don't mind that you have to go to Singapore to eat Singaporean food. Not every city has to have everything at all times. That’s actually a strange idea, if you think about it.
Redscout: Are there any emerging attitudes or behaviors that concern you?
Claus: I have to worry about the whole delivery trend. It is taking up an increasing amount of the market. People are ordering in instead of going out. The combination of that and people drinking less alcohol, and wages rising, and rent increasing. I think it's a scary cocktail for most.
Redscout: Do you ever order in? We’re curious to know what your Seamless account looks like.
Claus: No. I don't order in at all. I hate ordering in. I don't trust that the food will be as good. Food loses twenty percent of its quality on the way from the restaurant to your house. Knowing how easy it is to cook a meal at home for yourself, I’d rather do that. It's not that delivery is my big fight in life. It’s just that if I can avoid it, I do.
Stay tuned for Part Two, where Claus offers his unique perspective on the New York culinary scene.