Like any chef worth their salt, Christian Puglisi cares passionately about the ingredients he crafts into the Michelin star dishes he serves his customers at Relæ, in Copenhagen.
The words obsessive and chef have go together almost as well as fish and chips. But Christian’s unbridled desire for achieving perfection and then taking things to the next level, must come close to being unrivalled.
Appearing at number 46 on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and winning the Sustainable Restaurant Award, beating off competition from the likes of former winners Azurmendi, Narisawa and other notables like DOM in Brazil, was an outstanding way to mark the fifth year since Relæ first opened its doors in Copenhagen.
For some, these achievements might have been a cue to kick back, light up a cigar and rest on their laurels. Not for Christian and his team. Rather, it was the inspiration to look at what more they could do; like an elite mountaineer looking for the next peak to conquer.
Not content with being the only Michelin starred certified organic restaurant, they’ve gone all out and started their own organic farm, just 45 minutes out of town. The very first vegetables from Relæ’s lovingly tilled land have already started appearing on customers’ plates, which themselves are crafted by a potter just yards from the restaurant. And it won’t be long before diners can enjoy veal, beef, pork and chicken too, all reared to the highest possible welfare standards on the same farm.
It’s this attention to every last detail that puts Relæ head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to doing things the right way. Name another restaurant that has designed its own chefs’ aprons – hand sewn in Denmark – and insisted they be made from high tech fabrics which are dirt and water repellent so they require less washing. And how many restaurants do you think save the leftover filtered water from diners’ tables for the staff to drink, as well as have their wine, all of which is organic or biodynamic, delivered by bike? To list all of their imaginative, innovative, thoughtful and thought provoking ideas would entail a blog of biblical proportions
There’s simply no end to the smart thinking at Relæ, which always has a dual goal; serving customers the best food, while having the lowest possible impact. So the chickens they source (organic of course) feed on the used coffee grounds from Relæ, which have already been used as compost for growing mushrooms. The naturally leavened, organic sourdough bread is no longer baked in the restaurant. That’s because they’ve opened their own bakery just 2km up the road, and guess what, the loaves are delivered by bike. But of course!
In a blog for Food Made Good earlier this year, Christian outlined his vision for just how much he thinks restaurants can do to change the world for the better: “Not by playing heroes but by opening the window of opportunity a tiny bit more and making our guests and the industry alike look into what we believe is a giant warehouse of inspirations and possibilities of how to change habits and look up and take part in what we all have to do: Work together for a future of healthy, and self-sustaining life through smart and quality-driven actions.”
That’s a powerful cocktail. And when it comes from a man doing the most amazing things with the very best ingredients, it truly should be an inspiration to all. Only the most responsibly sourced seafood, including incredible oysters and scallops appear on the never published menu, as well as mouth-watering dishes like pickled mackerel, cauliflower and lemon puree and sous-vide chicken with heart, bottarga and sweetcorn.
This, friends, is truly the most sustainable restaurant in the world, and if your pulse is racing and mouth drooling, then you’re in luck. We’ve partnered with delicious magazine on a fantastic competition giving you an incredible chance to win dinner at Relæ and a two night stay at the Babette Guldsmeden Hotel in Copenhagen. Click here to enter.