Nadine Levy Redzepi Shares Her Top Tricks for Cooking at Home

When you cook for the best chef in the world, you have to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Nadine Levy Redzepi's new cookbook, Downtime, will make even the wariest home cook see the small, achievable joys of the kitchen. So it only made sense to dive deeper and learn more about Nadine's tips and tricks to for embracing cooking at home, and exactly which pantry staples you should always have on hand.

Too hungry? Start by making her "seal the deal" pasta, then read on. 

get the app.

Watch on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Roku, or Fire TV.

Learn More

What are your favorite recipes (if any) in Downtime to make-ahead and freeze?
I love making the simmer dishes; I like that there is something going on the stove from early on. I usually make it that day because I feel like eating it then. There is always extra, so I freeze the leftovers for a busy day.

If you could help someone set up the perfect pantry, what would be the top 5 pantry staples they should invest in?
Dried beans
Tinned tomatoes 

After a food-filled day at the restaurant, what do you and Renee like to have for dinner?
Leafy greens are always a nice thing to eat when you feel full and like you don’t really have much of an appetite. I love spinach quickly cooked in water and a good amount of butter. I will put half of my spinach in boiling water and cook it for about 10 sec, put into a serving bowl, mix it up with the other half uncooked spinach— the heat from the cooked spinach is enough to soften the uncooked spinach and leave just a little texture. Then I drizzle with nice olive oil, add fresh lemon juice and season with salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper and eat it while it is super-hot. This always makes me feel so good!

Do you ever draw inspiration for cooking at home from Noma? Or do you like to find inspiration elsewhere for home cooking?
I draw a lot of inspiration from Noma, probably more than I am even aware of. I like to draw inspiration from all of our traveling, Noma pop-ups and any meals we eat at wonderful restaurants.

What advice would you give people who often find themselves lacking time for home-cooked meals? 
I see how it's difficult to make time for cooking and how it is one of the things that might not be on the top of the list of things to do. But I think a lot of people could make time to cook; it often only takes 30 minutes. I find most people can make time to work out, drink coffee, meet a friend for a drink and so on. It’s about making time for it. It’s great to cook with other people, even if it’s just boiling some grains, tearing up a lot of nice herbs and mixing with the grains once they are cooked. While the grains cook you can fry up a nice piece of fish or steak, and you will have cooked a delicious meal in 30 minutes while being social.


What is it like cooking for great chefs out of a home kitchen?
It is very satisfying. I think that chefs, just like everyone else, enjoy a good home-cooked meal. If you are cooking for a chef, it’s always a good idea to make something that you would like to eat instead of thinking too much about what will impress your guests.

How do you hope your cookbook is used?
I hope that it will inspire more home cooking, especially cooking together when you have people over. Mostly I hope that it will just make cooking seem like a more fun and achievable everyday thing.

Are there food trends you're excited about incorporating into your cooking?
I don’t know so much about trends, but having spent some time in Mexico I like playing around with Mexican flavors at the moment. I love the way food can transport you back to a place.

What tips and tricks would you share with a burgeoning cook to help them create complex flavors in a limited time? Do you feel that store-bought staples (like tomatoes sauce) have a place in the pantry? Or would you always recommend starting from scratch? 
I think that there are no wrong ways in a home kitchen, as long as it's making you happy. It’s your kitchen you can do whatever you want; playing around and failing always teaches you something or inspires a future thing.
I always have really good canned tomatoes on hand. I wouldn’t keep a finished tomato sauce because I would probably spend so much time seasoning it to my liking, so I might as well start with quality canned tomatoes. I slice a good amount of garlic and brown it in a little olive oil, add the tomatoes and slow simmer for 15 min. Then stir in about half a deciliter of olive oil and about 50 grams of freshly grated parmesan cheese. If you have some nice sausages, cut them up into small pieces and put them in the sauce. The sauce will cook the sausage and impart rich flavor. It will taste like meatballs in tomato sauce.  

Read more about Genius Kitchen's cookbook club here.

Photos by Ditte Isager


About Nadine Levy Redzepi

Nadine Levy Redzepi is an enthusiastic home cook, a mother of three, and has spent most of her adult life working with her husband, René Redzepi, at the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. Downtime: Deliciousness At Home is her first cookbook.