Sonko, who has worked as a dishwasher at Noma for more than a decade, was named as a partner along with two others at the Copenhagen restaurant by chef and co-founder Rene Redzepi last week. The men collectively received 10% of the holding company that handles Noma’s business, the Washington Post reported.
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New partners: As we close the doors to the old noma, we also push towards the next rendition. We are almost positive we will open the doors to our new space at the end of this year. But, most importantly, we are here to tell you that noma in its new edition will have a handful of new partners. It gives me incredible joy to let the world know that our restaurant managers Lau and James, and our dishwasher, Ali, have become partners in noma. This is only the beginning, as we plan to surprise several more of our staff with a piece of the walls that they have chosen to work so hard within. This move is one of the happiest moments of my time at noma – best wishes René Redzepi
Sonko’s promotion was heralded as a symbol of immigrant success during a time when Denmark, along with other countries in Europe, have been seen as unwelcoming toward refugees and immigrants.
Sonko’s story also highlighted how dishwashers at Noma are treated with a respect not afforded to ones in the U.S. Redzepi told the Washington Post that Sonko is “one of the top-paid people in the entire kitchen,” and commands “as much respect as the best head chef or sous chef.”