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Video: Roland Rittman at MAD3

Today we turn to the MAD presentation of Roland Rittman, the Swedish forager who transformed Restaurant Noma. As René Redzepi explained at the symposium, some years ago, the restaurant had found itself with a depleted pantry in the middle of a merciless winter. Noma’s goal is to cook from the landscape, and it seemed, for the first time, that there was nothing left to draw from. 

Then appeared Rittman, looking just like Father Christmas (the staff at the restaurant refers to him as Santa Claus to this day), with a van filled with so many goodies, it seemed like a mirage.

Today, Rittman provides restaurants throughout the region with an array of herbs, mushrooms, berries, and flowers. There’s not a time when Rittman’s van pulls up and isn’t swarmed by a bunch of cooks eager to see what he has in store. 

At MAD3, Rittman spoke of his passion for the earth and for “the most ancient of sacraments,” eating. He called for those who love the table to fight for a better food system. He said that “Chefs [especially] have an opportunity to tell stories about food, its origin, history and the environment — don’t miss that chance, because people need it.”

"When guests are paying the bill, ask them to go home and help the planet," he added.

The concluding portion of his presentation explained the title of the speech, “Go Wild!” Rittman quoted Rousseau and explained how important it is for people to reconnect with nature in a world that is becoming more and more urban.

In the final moments of his speech, he kneeled before the audience and delivered the following words: 

Our gastronomic, culinary, cultural and revolutionary movement needs a rite of passage, an initiation ceremony, some ritual event that marks a person’s transition from one status to another.

Go to the beach or to the woods or to some part of nature, that you have made your own. Kneel on the ground. Humbly bend your head. Take a bite from a rooted plant. Graze as the animal you are – and contemplate, with universal empathy – our critical impact on this wild symphony of existence.

Thank the Sun for giving us energy, green plants, animals and life! Infuse your identity with The Earth.

You can watch his presentation above and also view the full text of the speech at Rittman’s website.