Ali Sonko started the day as a dishwasher at Copenhagen's Noma restaurant, and ended it as co-owner.
Sonko, a 62-year-old father of 12 who moved to Denmark from Gambia 34 years ago, has been with Noma — named the best in the world four times by Restaurant magazine — since it opened in 2003. Noma is moving to a new location and opening as an urban farm, and during a party to celebrate the occasion, chef René Redzepi announced Sonko's new role. He was rewarded for his hard work and dedication, and Redzepi said it was "one of the happiest moments of my time at Noma" when he told Sonko the news.
It came as a major shock. "I cannot describe how happy I am to work here," Sonko told the Danish website BT. "These are the best people to work with and I am good friends with everyone. They show enormous respect towards me and no matter what I say or ask them, they are there for me." Redzepi also made two other employees partners in the business — the restaurant's service director and its manager.