There are the cookbooks you use every day, and then there are the ones that may not spend much time on your kitchen counter, yet can profoundly inspire the way you view food and the world around you. A member of the latter tribe, René Redzepi’s new A Work in Progress is in fact a collection of three books: a stunningly beautiful collection of recipes, a pocket-size book of behind-the-scenes snapshots, and an intimate journal written by Redzepi over the course of a year. It would be enough for the journal to offer a glimpse into the process of one of the world’s most important chefs. But its themes — creativity, collaboration, success, failure — transcend the restaurant world. Redzepi’s insights are, I think, useful for the home cook as much as the Noma groupie.
I recently sat down with René Redzepi in Los Angeles on the last day of his American book tour. He was eager to get back home to Denmark and his daughters, ages 2 and 5, yet was gracious enough to spend some time talking about home cooking, foraging, and what it means to nourish family and friends.