Paul Cunninghams fabulous restaurant in Tivoli will close on september 24th, as chef Cunningham wishes to do something else, than he has been doing for nine years. It will probably mean, that he wants to open a different kind of restaurant after taking a break.
With Cunninghams departure Tivoli Gardens will lose a michelinstar and the man who helped changed the image of Tivoli, from – with few exceptions – being a gastronomic tourist trap to a highly profiled gastronomic garden.
When I was a young cooks apprentice i 1979, the expression “Tivoli-cook” was a swearword. Tivoli was a place you went to work if you wanted hard work and a high salary, as the restaurant prices were much higher than in the rest of Copenhagen.
Alas the foodies ate before visiting Tivoili or after, or they – like myself – left Tivoli to dine outside and then returned afterwards.
Tivolis new management (since 1996) was aware of this and hungry to change things. That’s why they invited Paul Cunningham inside, back in 2003, when very few people envisioned a modern gourmet restaurant in the amusement park.
This was a game changer and when Paul gained a Michelin star in 2004, serious chefs started to consider looking in the direction of Tivoli. Four years later chef Thomas Herman arrived and opened Nimb Herman, which earned Tivoli another star.
In the Nimb building there was also opened a modern brasserie, which further heightened the gardens gastronomic level. Since then there has been two additions in Nimb, the Bar & Grill and the Terrace, which both have won positive reviews.
Other restaurants in Tivoli Gardens has also raised the bar and it is safe to say, that without Paul Cunningham entering Tivoli in 2003 – this would maybe not have happened.
Of course, there might have been another top chef interested in doing what Paul did and he might have succeeded. But there is no doubt, that Cunninghams influence has been monumental and that Tivoli is losing a valuable asset when he leaves.
One thing is for sure; I will have to find a new favourite restaurant..