Genuine Hospitality Group: 5 Things This Miami Chef Learned in 6 Months at Noma

Plus, a stunning realization about his own fried chicken recipe

Chef Akino West and Jamila West


Early this year, René Redzepi announced that his Noma would be closing its doors at the end of 2024, citing the unsustainability of the fine dining model as his primary motivation. An ensuing onslaught saw a host of previous staffers and interns accusing Redzepi and his restaurant — widely recognized as the best in the world — of creating too grueling a work environment, with one former intern claiming she was forbidden from laughing while working and many highlighting the restaurant’s reliance on unpaid labor as an example of what’s so broken in the world of Michelin-caliber establishments.

But Chef Akino West, a recent Emerging Chef James Beard Award nominee and co-owner of Rosie’s: The Backyard with his wife Jamila West, remembers things a bit differently.

“Some people are like, ‘I sat there for hours picking thyme,’” he says. “Like, yes! I sat there too, for hours, picking thyme. But you know, I learned how to pick thyme perfectly.”

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