Claus Meyer often described as ‘Heliotrope’ due to his way of seeing the world. Chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur and culinary activist always wishes to look in the direction of light and have faith in it to transmute every dark.
He is the co-founder for Noma, awarded four times for being the best restaurant in the world by Michelin Stars Copenhagen. Ever since it opened in the year 2003 along with René Redzepi, Meyer has been an influence to the world of culinary especially in the region of Northern Europe.
At the Tasting India Symposium in Delhi, where Meyer was the special guest spoke about how Noma represented the food from Northern Europe in the highest degree, also taking in account the limitations of produces from the region. He told that how he along with Redzepi who at that time was a sous-chef of 25 years of age the duo entered into partnership and that’s how Noma came into existence. After its inauguration with a period of 2 years it earned its first Michelin star, after that it earned much other recognition for its various innovations and the use of limited local produces procured from forests and from the coasts.
The want to bring about a change was in Meyer’s mind ever since he was 20 years of age. He worked for a French chef cum baker, Guy Sverzut in France that is when he admits that he for the very first time that he experienced eating some great varieties of French cheese and some freshly baked baguette.
Meyer furthermore admits that it was food that made him cry with pleasure as all these food discoveries were new and the food from Denmark mostly consisted of processed, frozen, canned to be just microwave at times to be on the plate, he mentions it a time of culinary darkness in Denmark’s food history. Jokingly Meyer also puts in that maybe it is Protestant inclinations that Denmark considers sensuality, pleasure and deliciousness as great sins. But that he realises that anyone can fall in love food that is delicious, after all its biological.
Truly a self taught Meyer first learnt cooking and entered in restaurants later bringing French food to Copenhagen and then later realizing that the path he was following was not his sole dream. He even brought in food enterprises to manufacture good quality vinegars and breads. He hosted many popular food shows and later he thought of bringing higher consciousness and a different approach- that would be that good food can make our world a better place.
He always likes to put in that food cooked with inferior quality ingredients and without any sentiments will never taste good leaving a bad impact on the community in general. As Meyer’s in his childhood never had food that was so care giving. To come at this conclusion it took him 15 years, but realizes that in the world children will no longer be deprived of meals prepared with love and affection. That’s how Meyer’s chase towards improving north Europe food started creativity towards food of North Europe. With this mission he started a movement thereby making efforts to make people realize that how they could create some of the best cheese, chocolates, breads.
In Denmark’s society it was not easy to bring about the change and to improve the culture associated with food. The heliotropic attitude of Meyer led him to take steps and ask a leading dairy manufacturer to produce maybe one real good quality of Danish cheese without making any alterations to his business model as the ones put on the counter were not at all appreciable. The concerned person was thus persuaded and produces fantastic Danish cheese.
In the end Meyer mentions that it is his duty to guide food manufacturers and artisans in the right direction but following the guidelines is their choice.
For this culinary philosopher and entrepreneur this was not the end, in the year 2010 he launched Melting Point Foundation, which operates with unprivileged prisoners from Denmark, the poor gentry of Bolivia by providing them culinary expertise and skills for the betterment of their lives and helps in eliminating poverty.
Claus Meyer is truly self inspired and wherever he goes his activism accompanies him. On his first trip to India he strolled the narrow streets of Old Delhi, he was quite happy to see the spirit of entrepreneurship spirit in the people by way of having maybe very small food joints and some of which are a century old!
An Indian inspired dish which he ate prepared by Indian friends in Singapore was roti prata, which was made by a mix of spinach and goat cheese, a dash of chilli and wraped in a flaky roti. One of his favourite is canelé, a pastry from the Bordeaux region of France.
Meyer’s culinary expansion has even taken him to New York where he inaugurated Agern at the Grand Central Station.
Meyer loves to play soccer and tennis, but in his growing years he watched a lot of boxing and especially ones featuring Muhammad Ali as he felt that he was romantic and brave. His father too liked Muhammad Ali. But not sharing a very good relation with his father Meyer he too like Muhammad Ali is trying to be brave and courageous to win his father’s approval.
Undoubtedly Meyer is brave and courageous but also has a romantic side to him by perusing a dream and a desire to bring a change in the world through food.