The chef still made an appearance in an apologetic welcoming video.
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Noma restaurant
Credit: Thibault Savary / AFP via Getty Images

Last month, American Express offered a remarkable opportunity to its Global Dining Access program: Noma, the René Redzepi-helmed Copenhagen restaurant regarded as one of the best in the world, would be hosting a five-day pop-up in Brooklyn from May 16 to 20, and the mere 50 spots available each night were offered exclusively to these AmEx members.

The tasting menu at Noma has never been cheap, and this opportunity wasn't supposed to be an exception. Seats were sold at $700 each. But this week, word broke that Amex was refunding everyone who attended the meal. Yes, a night at Noma completely on the house… though diehard Redzepi fans may feel like they paid the ultimate price.

On Monday, American Express alerted guests that the renowned chef would not be present at the event after testing positive for Covid-19, according to New York Times contributor Florence Fabricant who attended the dinner.

The meal still took place: Amex said that the rest of the traveling Noma team — including co-owner Peter Kreiner and chef Thomas Frebel — hadn't been in contact with Redzepi and were testing daily. Additionally, Redzepi offered what was described as "an apologetic" welcoming video for guests in his absence.

Still, a visit from the world-famous chef had been promised, and so American Express Platinum Presents apparently felt it was only right to refund attendee's $700 ticket price — seems like a pretty good trade-off, depending on how much you value seeing a famous chef in person.

As for the dinner itself, Fabricant described it as "a succession of dishes luxuriously appointed with caviar, black truffles, lobster and king crab, and pours of uncommon natural wines," and guests were "sent home with a gift bag containing a small bowl by the ceramist Katrine Binzer." All in all, not bad for a free meal.