A Southwest Detroit chef will join the team at one of the world’s most highly-regarded restaurants for a culinary residency. Metro Times first-reports that George Azar, who helms the popular semi-permanent pop-up Flowers of Vietnam inside Vernor Coney Island, has been invited to join Copenhagen’s Noma pop-up in Mexico next spring.
The 2016 Reader’s Choice Chef of the Year has experience in high-pressure dining rooms such as Chicago’s acclaimed restaurant Alinea. “I can't believe I'm doing this again ... it's very brutal,” Azar tells Serena Maria Daniels.
Reached by Eater, Azar says he was got connected with Noma’s team through a mutual friend and was able to apply for the residency directly. While it won’t be a paid internship, Azar is looking forward to two full months of learning from the Noma team. The opportunity will also serve to fill in some down time while Flowers goes on hiatus. The Southwest Detroit restaurant is expected to undergo long-delayed renovations, beginning in March (possibly sooner) and with the eatery reopening as a full-fledged dining destination in July.
Helmed by foraging savant René Redzepi, Noma has been named the best restaurant in the world multiple times over. However, Redzepi plans to close the original location at the end of February (it will return with an urban farm).
The sold-out, six-week Tulum, Mexico pop-up runs from April 12 through May 28, 2017. While some have criticized the hefty $600 a head cost as prohibitively expensive, the Redzepi’s team has offered to feed local culinary students for free and is providing scholarships for Noma internships. The Copenhagen restaurant has previously hosted pop-ups in Tokyo and Sydney.
Update, 12/14, 6:56 p.m.: This article has been updated with more information from George Azar.