In my dreams I am Kate Moss’s best friend. In reality I just look up to her in all of her fashion glory. Kate Moss was the one who gave fashion a new cool off the runway, and, I guess, who I can nod to for making me cool. She was cool to the point where it was no longer the rockstars who were dictating style but young supermodel Kate Moss, and not just what Gaultier or YSL dressed her up in. Today is Christmas, so if you will allow me, in my dream where I am Kate Moss’s best friend, she lets me borrow from her (I expect) fully velvet-lined and diamond encrusted walk-in closet the shortest of dresses and the tallest of heels (done tastefully of course) and, slid over my shoulder, a leather jacket by Kate herself, and with my hair unbrushed and played with casually, she says, “Babe, you look really good.” And that would be that. Dream fulfilled.
But if you were to pluck me from my dream like state of raiding Kate’s closest, I would be faced with some of the big disagreements I have with some of Kate’s philosophy on life. Like many fashion icons, she has big and controversial ideas. We all have big controversial ideas, but really only those who are as famous as Kate Moss can get away with saying them. (Damn my young age and not tall enough lacking super model body.) Kate once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Now, if I were her best friend I would nod and snivellingly agree with her because she is Kate Moss and that is a super model’s sense of humor and all. But here, sitting in my Chicago city apartment, supermodel less, I can say (or yell out the window) that I couldn’t disagree more.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” — Kate Moss, who obviously never dined at Noma
Being from Chicago, the home of one of the world’s best restaurants, Alinea by Chef Grant Achatz, I have come to really like food. Five years ago, the same year I first went to Paris, and expectedly the same stretch I discovered my love for really and truly great cuisine, I learned about Nordic restaurant Noma by Chef René Redzepi. Now, there is some difference between good food and food that with every crunch of your teeth makes you think about the world differently. Some small morsels from Achatz’s kitchen make me think that shrimp eyes are my new favorite food and other times make me want to go into science (a field, if you really got to know me, you would know why I wouldn’t go into it) to try my hand at the molecular gastronomy wonders that make it possible to eat a bite of potato that is all at once both hot and cold in a wonderful explosion that bursts your mouth open in absolute “holy shit” gaping amazement.
No, I have sadly not been able to travel to Denmark to visit Chef René but when I do, I will blog about it, don’t worry. You will be able to read my metaphorical analogies describing the indescribably strangely great confections that parade out of Noma’s food lab of a kitchen. But in Chicago, at the Gene Siskel Theater, I just saw the documentary “Noma My Perfect Storm” as directed by Pierre Deschamps.
René seemed to me like a mix of a great father (towards his chefs who work under him) and the great visionaries of fashion. No, he is not fashionable. Yet he has a certain severity, a tenacious pursuit of perfection that echoes the beat that drives successful people in the fashion world. And on top of that René, with Noma, made Copenhagen the prime “foodie” destination. Noma changed the way the Nordic region of the world was seen. René says, “Scandinavian-Danish cuisine was something quite rustic, mostly known for pastries and smorgasbord cuisine, which in itself has become a joke.” René’s food — no joke — like that of Achatz here in Chicago, is changing the world. Experimental adventurous cuisine, like cutting edge fashion, wants to change the way you listen to music, read a book, live in the world. René, like Kate Moss, is creating cool.