Noma and back

Jessica, a young chef de partie from the Marche working in Copenhagen for almost 3 years now, tells her story

19-10-2016
Born in Macerata, Marche, Jessica Natali is chef

Born in Macerata, Marche, Jessica Natali is chef de partie at Noma in Copenhagen, the restaurant where she arrived as an intern in the winter of 2012/13

I was 19, I had just graduated from catering school in Loreto, in the Marche region. I had written an essay on Noma, the restaurant voted as number one in the world for four years in a row. I had a goal: complete a 3-month internship in an establishment whose dishes I knew by heart. Or at least that’s what I thought.

The journey started 3 years ago. From the first day I set foot there, I fell in love. The energy in the kitchen was special and you got involved immediately. Not to mention my admiration for Rene Redzepi, the mind behind a new gastronomic movement called New Nordic Cuisine

I didn’t have any references from the restaurant’s staff. The only way I could get noticed, of course, was running and working as hard as possible. I tried to show interest in everything that was happening there, asking for the help of the staff even when all the interns were granted a little rest. Almost towards the end of the internship I was asked to stay. I couldn’t believe it, and accepted.

With Rene Redzepi (second to the right) and two clients. Jessica’s dream? "Open a restaurant in which I can express my love for Italian cuisine and northern ingredients"

With Rene Redzepi (second to the right) and two clients. Jessica’s dream? "Open a restaurant in which I can express my love for Italian cuisine and northern ingredients"

Hard work, that is. But in exchange it gave me plenty of satisfaction and lessons. After all, I don’t lack in curiosity and this has helped me very much. At Noma they make no distinction: there are people coming from around twenty different countries. Most of them are men. In three years, there have been very few women joining the staff.

After all this time, I’m not tired yet. There’s always something new you can learn. And then I also had the chance to travel to Japan and Australia with the restaurant [Noma moved temporarily to the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo for 3 weeks, in January 2015 and to Sydney for two and a half months, between January and April 2016. The next move, to Tulum in Mexico, possibly in February 2017].

[[im3]]This allowed me to fulfil some dreams and discover new attitudes that have certainly opened my culinary horizons. Noma has inspired many young people from all around the world and this also applies to me: creating a dish is an obstacle I’ve overcome. Now my dream is to open a restaurant of my own, in which I can fully express my love for Italian cuisine and northern ingredients. The goal: making my clients happy.

See also
Noma, imperfect perfection by Paolo Marchi
Three months at the court of Redzepi by Matteo Aloe

Jessica in a pre-Noma version: age 18 at catering

Jessica in a pre-Noma version: age 18 at catering school in Loreto