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Ex-Noma Chef Christian Puglisi Is Taking the Kitchen Garden to Epic Proportions

"Some chefs do 30 leeks and they’re done. We have 20,000 leeks.”

Christian Puglisi P.A. Jorgensen

Anyone vaguely aware of the food world knows of Noma chef René Redzepi’s influence. The name Christian Puglisi is probably much less familiar. Yet the Noma alum is gaining admirers on both sides of the Atlantic by building more than just restaurants—he has created a culinary ecosystem in Copenhagen, with an organic farm as the centerpiece. “This is not a pretty garden. Some chefs do 30 leeks and they’re done. We have 20,000 leeks,” says Puglisi, adding that he’s “trying to give people an insight on what’s going on where the food comes from.”

About 45 minutes outside the city, Puglisi has been cultivating around 120 acres of land since 2016. The chef, who already has multiple restaurants to his name from an all-day cafe and bakery to a Michelin-starred destination restaurant, wanted to approach food in a whole new way. “Instead of spreading out more, I want to try and go deeper,” Puglisi says. “I want to have more knowledge about what we do. I want to work more with the produce that we source. To just do a collaboration, it sounds great, but then a farmer is just doing what he always does, and it’s not enriching me in that sense that I learn from mistakes. How do we do really learn then? We grow it ourselves.”

Because Puglisi owns a diverse group of restaurants, he’s able to more effectively use everything he grows. Milk from his cows goes to making the cheese for pizzeria Baest, fine cuts of animals are destined for the Michelin-starred Relae, and vegetables are harvested daily for the family-style dishes at Manfreds. Puglisi’s holistic approach has his peers looking on in awe. As James Beard Award–winning chef Justin Yu of Theodore Rex in Houston told Robb Report recently, “Man, if one day I could be Christian Puglisi.” 

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