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Rene Redzepi’s Head Chef de Cuisine is a Worrywart, And Also Kind of Awesome

And if there’s an in-service problem at Noma, you can tell that Daniel Giusti is on it.

A new profile of Rene Redzepi’s right-hand man gives yet another peek into the world’s best restaurant — and boy, is it high-stress. But Giusti, who managed his first restaurant at 24 years old and now works as Noma’s chef de cuisine at a mere 29 years old, is clearly kind of used to it. Oh, and he takes notes on everyone of those diners at Noma:

Giusti is an information junkie. For each service, he prints out a primitive outline of the dining room, on which he writes anything and everything he hears about a diner’s experience. There’s a stack of these papers sitting upstairs on his desk at Noma, waiting to be typed into the computer. The notes help Giusti not only improve future meals but also anticipate any negative reviews that might pop up on someone’s blog or, worse, on TripAdvisor.com.

If there’s one thing Giusti hates, it’s negative reviews. He actively seeks out all online commentary about Noma and frequently obsesses over criticism, no matter how small or stupid. He takes each one as a sign of failure. Giusti is a natural worrier.

“I’ve told him to relax. I mean, it’s not life or death. He treats it like it’s life or death,” says Redzepi before a Saturday night service in April. “I gotta say, I’d rather have somebody that obsesses than somebody that doesn’t. I obsess, too, but not to the point where it controls my life.”

If Redzepi is telling you to calm the fuck down, you should probably listen. Nevertheless, Giusti’s humbling story of rising to the top is worth the read. (Oh, and he’s kind of cute. Carry on.)

[Washington Post]

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