Should Fine Dining Exist?

The Sporkful

Mar 6 2023 • 30 mins

The Copenhagen restaurant Noma has consistently topped lists of best restaurants in the world. People fly in from all over the globe to pay $500 per person for the hyperlocal tasting menus dreamed up by chef/owner Rene Redzepi. But a couple months ago, Redzepi announced the restaurant will close next year because it had become unsustainable, “financially and emotionally.” The announcement came as many high end chefs have spoken out about how hard the business has become, and others have shined a light on the industry’s use of unpaid interns. So is it possible to run a high end restaurant that turns a profit and treats people fairly? And is there a point in trying – or should these places just disappear? Adam Platt, former restaurant critic for New York Magazine, and Vivian Howard, owner of the restaurant Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, weigh in on the challenges for fine dining and the labor practices in high-end kitchens.

The Sporkful production team includes Dan Pashman, Emma Morgenstern, Andres O'Hara, Tracey Samuelson, and Jared O'Connell.

Transcript available at