Creative Foods

Unveiling the Magical Experience of the Alchemist

Descend into a surreal experience with Alchemist, the two Michelin-starred restaurant located in Copenhagen. Upon entering the stately bronze doors of the former theatre set-building workshop, guests are transported to a luxurious lounge with a window to the kitchen laboratory filled with mysterious ingredients. They are then guided to the domed space where imaginative food from food waste and drinks from rabbit’s ears complete the menu. Gain a new perspective of food as you witness plastic bags floating above you like jellyfish, and savor 40 odd mouthfuls of this inventive fare. Experience culinary creativity with professional flair at Alchemist.

A buttery lobster claw with a lingering palate experience. An arrangement of herbs shaped like Hans Christian Andersen that dissolve when the soup is poured over them. A perfectly round snowball with a mild tomato flavor when bitten into. A silicone spoon in the shape of a tongue filled with tantalizing gooseberry and pumpkin seed flavors which must be licked to be tasted. A luxurious blend of raw Faroese sea urchin and foie gras creating a texture like silk. Professional tones.

At Gastromé, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant renowned for its appearance in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, diners can enjoy an experience of a lifetime when their meal is served with a drink containing bioluminescence extracted from jellyfish, allowing it to glow in the dimmed lights.

Head chef Rasmus Munk has created a menu that goes beyond the traditional dining experience, aiming to push boundaries and change the way we think about food. However, these unforgettable experiences do come at a cost of 4600 DKK (£538) per head, excluding drinks. Tickets released three months ahead, sell out in seconds – evidence of the restaurant’s impeccable reputation.

He discussed how gastronomy can be used to effect change in the world, expressing his desire for people to be meaningfully impacted by the work his team does. To achieve this, there is a focus on the art of storytelling and presentation, from the inventive dishes served to the establishment’s carefully curated atmosphere. Examples of this include ‘Hunger’, a dish with thin silver ribs draped with sustainable rabbit meat, encouraging its guests to see past their privilege and consider the implications of starvation. Similarly, a blood-drop-shaped ice cream served with a QR code to a donor scheme highlights ethical issues surrounding organ donation, and a chicken foot presented in a cage with the exact proportions of a factory-farmed chicken’s cage mirrors this injustice. All of these initiatives contribute to the overarching vision of changing the world through gastronomy.

Consuming Faroese sea urchins is an act of sustainability and biodiversity; cultivating and cooking with nettle butterflies is a result of recognizing their nutritional value. Since 2020, over 13,000 guests have scanned the organ donation QR code at the restaurant. This is more than just a show, as the restaurant is unaware of how many of these guests have signed up.

Rasmus’ journey began in Jutland as a chef, yet it was a volunteering project that sparked inspiration. During this time, he felt a sense of elation when making a Christmas dinner for disadvantaged children that made him realize “there’s more to food than cooking something that tastes great”. This insight was the catalyst for forming a concept of a refined dining experience, going beyond the traditional white tablecloths, waiters, diners, and chefs.

In 2015, renowned chef Holger Andersen set up his first Alchemist restaurant in Copenhagen, showcasing his distinctive style of cooking, which he refers to as ‘Holistic Cuisine’. Alongside traditional New Nordic flavors, he strove to bring in elements of art, science, and society, creating dishes such as an edible ashtray inspired by lung cancer. His approach quickly earned him the reputation of being a chef who executes ideas that go beyond the standard palette of expectations, and his commitment to quality extends to all aspects of the restaurant, from staff and suppliers to design.

Rasmus’ innovative business model has been noted by the fine dining industry- his team of chefs is employed under a 48-hour week, with weekends off and a four-day work week; they receive a pension plan and healthcare. Actors, dancers, 3D animators, performance artists, and even a composer are also on staff, creating a holistic atmosphere for diners. With the assistance of billionaire financier Lars Seier Christensen, Rasmus opened his current restaurant in 2019 in the former set-building workshop of the Royal Danish Theatre. It was, remarkably, awarded two Michelin stars seven months later- when Ferran Adrià, legendary Spanish chef, experienced a meal here, he declared it one of the most memorable in the last 10 years.

A precision focus and open-mindedness empower this thinking. In the main kitchen – where 24 chefs hand-scrape chicken feet, make plump small bao buns, and prepare the restaurant for the evening – the research team, headed by Diego Prado, is creating new ingredients and experimenting with future foodstuffs.

Diego reported that the building blocks for the test kitchen were created to come up with unique, interesting dishes. This includes discovering new ingredients, testing innovative approaches, and finding ways to make it happen for the kitchen. Recently, the research included turning silkworm silk into an edible protein to form meringue, utilizing silkworm frass for tea production, using ants to create yogurt, and investigating butterflies’ seasonal flavors. Alongside Diego, Nabila Rodriguez Valerón has initiated a venture to reduce vegetable bitterness, drawing inspiration from the Japanese delicacy of kokumi.

Diego, a researcher at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), has been developing innovative products and foods that could potentially drive a healthy diet, particularly for kids by introducing vegetables into their diets.”It’s incredibly interesting to create different products and food with this tool,” said Diego. “Nobody really likes steamed broccoli, do they? I think it is a great way to make vegetable intake more inviting.”

Furthermore, Diego and his colleagues have been pushing boundaries when considering what one can eat. This is done through partnerships with other researchers at DTU, where sustainable food from seaweed and fungi is developed, and the breakdown of different materials for something new.

But this collaborative work does not stop at the restaurant. Diego has been working in tandem with a researcher at the MIT Media Lab on space food. Experiments are being conducted with moon soil, and the fermentation of miso has been sent into space as a way to feed future space exploration.

Emilie Vagner, anthropologist and project manager on the user experience team at Mary Elizabeth’s, highlighted the unique, holistic nature of Rasmus’ approach to food, noting that it not only considers taste but also the environment. She stated that there are numerous positive repercussions of this method, including decreased medicine, shorter hospital stays, and an overall sense of well-being. Rasmus expressed his ambition to move beyond the plate, to explore ways to make a more measurable and global impact in the future. “It’s about developing our influence far beyond the plate. That’s the direction we’re moving in,” he said.

PR Barn Team

Through PR Barn, we provide the latest tips, tricks, and updates on what’s happening in the creative industry on a large scale. This allows you to stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your clients are always at the forefront of the latest trends and technologies.
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