But happening it was. Tuesday morning the restaurant was flooded with camera crews and media. Snapping photos, microphone in hands doing interviews with the cooks and....the dishwasher. Just to catch you up on the story, Chef Rene and the five others that joined him on stage to accept the award wore tee shirts bearing a large image of our faithful dishwasher Ali on the front. He was supposed to join them at the awards, but couldn't secure a visa in time. This bold symbol that Rene and the others presented represented teamwork. That the accomplishments that were achieved Monday night had as much to do with him as they did with Ali. That every single person within and surrounding the establishment of Noma had played some small or larger part of it's enormous success. Pretty cool story.
The morning began with Tolston, one of the head chefs, literally running into the upstairs prep kitchen. He wore one of the biggest grins I've ever seen upon his face. And in his hand he held high, the glass trophy "World's Best Restaurant". The phones were ringing off the hook. Over 500 e-mail had been received in the past 24 hours. Noma will never want for a reservation again. It will be a full dining room for service from here to the end.
The day continued on as usual, although there was certainly a buzz in the air that had never been present before. Every now and then a cook or would turn to the other and just smile. There were also many spontaneous outbreaks of hugging. One second a cook would be plating a dish, the next he had lept into the arms of the cook beside him, smiles exceeding the limits of their faces, patting each other on the back.
Rene was due to arrive later in the evening from London. It was around 11pm or so when the sous chefs began to herd everyone outside. Every cook in the place and any customer left in the building poured out the front door of the restaurant to see Rene's taxi pulling up. The short man stepped from the car with his wife and friends to the most sincere and ear splitting applause I've ever heard. He could do nothing but smile, that same huge smile. The clapping and cheering went on for nearly five minutes. When it stopped he slowly looked around at everyone present. All his cooks, restaurant guests. Very quietly he said "Guys. Do you realize that the best chefs in the world, and the best critics in the world, think that WE are the best in the world?"
After cleaning, the night wore on with much champagne and congratulations. And more smiles...
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