Welcome to Bord, a weekly newsletter devoted to the stories and personalities behind Copenhagen's food scene. In this issue, we explore the staffing shortage and what it reveals about the city’s dependency on foreign talent. Bord is still entirely free (though you’re welcome to go ahead and support us financially), but the clock is ticking and soon, some stories will be behind a paywall. So if you like what you read, please consider subscribing.
The reason there are so many foreign kitchen workers in Copenhagen is because Rene Redzepi created a theory about cuisine that was unique, transportable, and could be adapted to any terroir (I note his successful popups in Japan, Mexico & Australia.). It is the same reason why in the past, young chefs wanted to do their stages in France and then Spain. Learning how to cook in those styles had value when you return home. The testament to Rene's true importance lies in his creating this dynamic. I note that there are other 50 Best winners who did not create this dynamic in their countries. Only a handful of chefs were/are able to do this and they are truly the leaders in the field. That so many chefs stayed is merely a function of statistics of how many expats are likely to stay somewhere appealing to live after working there for a period of time.
“The sacrifices you have to make at a professional and personal level, for a very small group of people. What is the value of that? What are we doing it for?”
So powerful. So true.