Since announcing plans for a pop-up restaurant in Mexico—a $600-per-head version of his world renowned restaurant, Noma—chef René Redzepi has been catching some heat.
As Eater notes, in a country where the average wage hovers around $15 a day, one meal at the Noma pop-up will shake out to roughly one month's salary in Mexico. But if you happen to be a culinary student who can make it to Tulum, where the restaurant will soon be open for six weeks, Redzepi and his crew will feed you free of charge.
According to a blog post from Redzepi and Noma’s pastry chef Rosio Sanchez, culinary students will be the only guests allowed to eat lunch at the pop-up. For the first month of the residency, Redzepi and his staff will only be serving dinner, but during the last two weeks the chef will open his temporary kitchen in the afternoon for aspiring cooks to come feast.
"All of the seats are reserved for Mexican culinary students,” Redzepi explains in the post. “You are invited to come and have the full experience with us, free of charge. We want to cook for you and show you how we have been inspired by your incredible food culture.”
Along with the free lunches, Redzepi and Sanchez will be offering scholarships to Mexican culinary students so they can travel to Denmark, study English, and intern at Noma. The program takes care of travel expenses, provides language course, and offers a per diem.
"This is something that we are really excited to be offering again,” the blog post reads. We first tested this idea a few years back with great success and ever since we have been waiting for the right moment to have a project where we can continue fostering our relationship to Mexico, and help give opportunity to young talents."
As long as Mexico's next wave of star chefs are able to eat for free and further their craft, we'll give Redzepi a pass on the $600 meals. Let's just hope his new interns don't charge as much when they return home.