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Noma apologises for blacklisting threat

Unpaid interns were told they would be blacklisted if they left their internship early without permission or blogged about their time at the world-renowned restaurant


Noma's kitchens make use of unpaid interns but they have to follow a strict set of rules (Photo: flickr / Nick Webb)

October 30, 2013
13:03

by PS


Michelin-starred restaurant Noma has apologised for threatening to place unpaid interns on a blacklist if they broke a code of conduct.

In a three-page ‘Stagier Introductory Note’ to interns – which Jyllands-Posten newspaper published today – Noma warned against violating a ban on blogging or publishing information about the interns' experiences at the world-renowned restaurant.

“If you fail to comply with this rule, you will be expelled immediately and your name will be added to a blacklist, which will be shared with others [sic] restaurants around the world with whom we share a good relationship,“ stated the letter. It was given to Jyllands-Posten by an anonymous former intern.

READ MORE: Noma no longer the best

Global blacklist
Noma also warned that interns would be added to the blacklist if they ended their internship early without consent or by simply not showing up.

Labour market researcher Henning Jørgensen form the University of Aalborg said that it was unethical and problematic to threaten to globally blacklist interns who broke rules.

“It’s very bad and reminds me of the methods that were used in the early days of capitalism that have since been branded as illegitimate,” Jørgensen told Jyllands-Posten, calling for political action.

A mistake
Noma's managing director, Peter Kreiner, has now apologised for the contents of the letter, telling DR Nyheder that it “was a clear mistake”.

“There is no doubt that the word ‘blacklist’ is far from the standards we set at Noma and Danish norms,” Kreiner said.

READ MORE: Two Copenhagen restaurants get two Michelin stars

He explained that the letter was inspired by letters sent by other restaurants and that the blacklisting threat was copied from one of these letters. Kreiner denied that the blacklist actually existed but has decided to issue a new introductory letter without the blacklisting threat.

“I’m really sad that the story had to be published in the media before we changed it,” Kreiner said.

Read Noma's letter here