Inside the Creation of Noma’s New Vegan Burger

David Zilber, director of fermentation at Noma in Copenhagen, shares his creative process for developing the restaurant’s new burger.

Sarah Ridgeway
Published in
6 min readMay 29, 2020
David Zilber. Photo: Asmund Sollihøgda

David Zilber is restaurant Noma’s Director of Fermentation and the co-author of The New York Times best-selling book The Noma Guide to Fermentation. One of his latest creations is a vegan burger that’s brightening up a dreary pandemic for eaters at Noma’s temporary, outdoor wine bar concept in Copenhagen.

I spoke with David about Noma’s recent reopening, and his hand in creating of what many are describing as the best veggie burger they’ve ever eaten. David’s curiosity is truly infectious and inspiring. In addition to the burger, we discussed his ideas and philosophy around vegetables, climate change, and eating for a better world.

As he was creating the plant-based burger he set a high bar for himself, pondering the question, ‘How good can we make vegan taste in between two pieces of bread?’

Different food for a different time

When the pandemic hit Copenhagen, Restaurant Noma was closed within a week. Though the restaurant is known for its ability to innovate and blaze uncharted territory, even Noma felt the pandemic’s uncertainty. They found themselves pushing the boundaries — literally. They decided to take the restaurant outside its walls.

Chef and co-owner René Redzepi suggested putting together a kind of food stand and developing some burger recipes for it. When the team settled on the concept, René shared their plan on social media:

Copenhagen is about to reopen its restaurants. And so will Noma. However before we reopen Noma as we know it. We will transform into a no reservation, drop in only, wine and burger bar. We feel in the first phase of the reopening that we want to be open for all. We need to heal, So let’s have a glass and a burger, you’re all invited.

Ideas bubble in the fermentation lab



Sarah Ridgeway

I’m a content designer who loves to tinker in the kitchen. My pronouns are she/her.