“I’ve always been very fond of cooking. When I was pregnant with our first daughter — who’s nine now — I started writing down my favorite recipes. I wanted to start this family cookbook,” recalls Nadine Levy Redzepi, the wife of acclaimed Noma chef René Redzepi. “Rene’s been joking, like, ‘Haha, one day it’s going to be a real book.'”
The resulting collection of those recipes is “Downtime,” a cookbook for the home chef focused on simplicity and accessibility. In other words, the recipes are for recognizable comfort food which won’t require a culinary degree, or hours of free time, to make.
“I work, and I pick up the kids, go shopping. I’d like to have lots of time to cook, but I want to eat well on an everyday basis. I wanted everything to be very honest and very real. I just took what we actually do eat at home,” adds Redzepi. (The couple now has three children.) Although straightforward in tone, the dishes are infused with the Noma “approach to cooking,” in which quality ingredients are central.
The book has three bound ribbon bookmarks, one for each of the three sections: starters, mains and desserts. The book also features personal anecdotes introducing each recipe as well as essays penned by both herself and her chef husband. She notes that “about 10” of the recipes have been passed down through her family, including one for Portuguese pork chops and another for rotini with spicy chicken liver sauce; the latter was taught to her mother while the family lived in Portugal.
While the couple is busy — the new Noma is under construction and scheduled to reopen in Copenhagen in February 2018 — downtime remains a daily priority. Each morning they work out in their yard with a group of friends before sitting down for a communal breakfast at home.
“Every morning is like a big success — you’ve already done something after you got out of bed,” she says of the routine. “It’s something we prioritize because it gives so much.”