Fine dining establishments are crumbling under pressure to pay workers a living wage, meet sustainable practices, and maintain their innovative, trend-setting status. Now, some are turning to broader experiences to compliment their extravagant dishes and stay afloat in an uncertain market.
In January, the Copenhagen restaurant Noma announced its plan to close its doors in 2024. Widely considered one of the world’s best restaurants, the establishment will pivot to become a food lab instead, where it will develop new dishes and products for its ecommerce program, called Noma Projects. The dining room will host popups periodically for special events.
According to Noma’s creator and chef René Redzepi, the restaurant no longer felt it sustainable to upkeep its ongoing luxury dining experience: “financially and emotionally, as an employer and as a human being, it just doesn’t work,” he told The New York Times.
Is fine dining going out of style? One feature by Genevieve Yam for Bon Appétit argues that it is. A former cook and long-time professional in the business, Yam unpacks the pressure she felt working under top-chefs and serving incredibly intricate dishes for little pay. Yam references fictionalized pop-culture shows, such as The Bear and The Menu, that draw on the high-stress environment in the kitchens.