Noma Is Accepting Nominations for 'Pandemic Heroes' to Offer Them a Free Meal

One of the world's best restaurants is offering the chance for you to nominate someone who's made a difference in your community in the past year.

During a normal year, Noma, the eternally acclaimed restaurant in Copenhagen, would be a couple of months into its Seafood Season, serving more than a dozen courses of exquisitely prepared Scandinavian seafood. But we don't have to tell anyone that this year isn't in any way normal, and instead of carefully plating Faroese sea urchin or squid with sea buckthorn, Noma is waiting for the Danish government to decide when restaurants will be allowed to re-re-open.

A spokesperson for Noma said that they don't anticipate being allowed to serve customers again until early June, but they also don't want to move forward without looking back first. The first day that Noma is given the OK to reopen, it will be filling the restaurant (or filling as much of the restaurant as they're allowed to) with Danish residents who have gone above and beyond to help others during the past year-plus. "We decided that we want to do something for those who we are calling the 'pandemic heroes,'" Arve Podsada Krognes said.

Noma interior and lobster photo
Ditte Isager

But it also wants to honor some international heroes as well, and it plans to welcome as many as 100 of them with complimentary multi-course dinners and beverage pairings. "Basically, we'd like people around the world to nominate a special individual who made a difference in their community—big or small—for someone in the past year or so," Krognes continued. "It could be as simple as carrying groceries for the community, or as complex as being a nurse in a COVID ward. We want to cook for them. We want people to have something to look forward to."

If you know someone who fits the bill, Noma is accepting applications through its website from now through Thursday, April 1. You'll be asked to answer a few questions about who you're nominating and how they've impacted you, their family, or their larger community during these still-unprecedented times. You'll provide contact details for yourself and your nominee, upload a photo, and then wait to see if your Pandemic Hero is selected to have a meal at Noma (when international travel to Denmark is a thing again, of course).

The restaurant says that it will notify the winners by Friday, April 23 at the latest, and they will need to plan their visit sometime before December 2022. And, although Noma is enthusiastic about rewarding these selfless helpers and hardworking healthcare professionals among us, the winners will still have to cover their own travel, accommodation, and transportation costs.

Regardless, it's a generous thing that they're doing, though you might want to let your own personal hero know that you've nominated them—and not just because each winner will be allowed to bring a guest.

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