For the world’s greatest chefs, their disciples and acolytes alike, food is not simply the stuff of life. It is a passion, a calling that consumes them, defines their existence—at once a craft and an art form—as it has been for 37-year-old René Redzepi, and his extraordinary restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. Voted four times as the best restaurant in the world, most recently last year, it is now en route to becoming an empire, staffed by more than a hundred people, a state-of-the-art food laboratory next door, and now a new global organization he founded, MAD, devoted to spreading the religion of food and its meaning in Scandinavia and abroad. His family driven from their native Macedonia by the Yugoslav wars, Redzepi was born in Copenhagen, and trained there in some of Europe’s great kitchens. In 2004, he opened Noma in...

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